After the press was shown the first act of THE WOLVERINE as well as a fight sequence on the BULLET TRAIN, spoilers have leaked onto the internet.
If you intend to avoid spoilers, but wish to know if the reaction was positive… it has been very, very positive with reviewers commenting that the tone and content of the film is vastly superior to X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND.
Now for the spoilers:
The film begins in a Japanese POW camp during WORLD WAR II. Logan is a prisoner and manages to save a Japanese officer called YASHIDA from an atomic blast. Yashida is shocked by LOGANS ability to heal.
LOGAN lives as a hermit in the wilderness. He comes by an animal in pain which was left behind by a group of hunters. LOGAN reluctantly puts the animal out of its mystery before tracking the hunters to a bar.
LOGAN meet YUKIO who has been trying to find LOGAN for a number of years. She works for YASHIDA who wants to repay his debt to LOGAN. At first LOGAN does not want to go with her, but when she tells him that YASHIDA can help to ease his pain, he reluctantly goes with her.
The pair board a private jet and during the flight LOGAN is given a makeover.
There is limited information provided about the fight on the BULLET TRAIN.
The tone is very subdued and is described as being gritty and grim.
LOGAN barely talks in the film.
IGN managed to get a fantastic interview with James Mangold who shares a lot of information about film:
I think this is a unique thing in the sense that from when I came on, the process has been one of steadily moving it toward what I came on and presented. There are several advantages to this project. I think you get most of them, that it’s obviously connected to, through casting and just kind of lineage, to the other movies. But it’s also its own subset. It also exists in its own world. And that gave me a certain amount of freedom for Hugh and I to kind of do and say what we wanted. I think when I first came on the movie, the first thing — looking at the existing materials — that I was most interested in making a movie about and I felt could coexist with both the flagship plot movements of the Claremont/Miller saga and also the pieces I was inevitably gonna inherit from other films was this idea of the struggle of being immortal and the struggle of being forever and the struggle of knowing you could lose everyone you love. The first thing I wrote on the back of the script when Fox sent it to me was “Everyone I love will die.” That’s kind of what I wanted the movie to become about — this idea that’s always interested me. When I was a kid — until they made it already — I wanted to make a film about the Bicentennial Man, which was in a way about the same thing. I can’t say the movie ended up being about that — but the loneliness of a god, someone who lasts forever, must say goodbye to anyone they’ve ever loved because eternity is eternity after all. To add to that Logan’s own curse, in a way, that he either brings or signals the downfall of everyone who he seems to love.
The other thing that occurred to me, it was an assumption I made when I first came in and started talking to Hugh about the project — an assumption no one else had made — was that this movie took place after everything. It was an assumption I made just kind of looking at the comic and looking at the materials that existed. But it wasn’t one they had made already. For me, the idea was really useful, that he had lost everyone, that no one was left, really. A) I didn’t have the burden of trying to juggle balls of other X-Men that were still around — that it’s just all gone and that you were coming in to a place where he is suffering from the loss of his compatriots, suffering from the loss of mentors, suffering from the loss of loves, and with really no hope toward replacing any of them. That seemed like a really strong, thematic place to start, especially if we’re gonna take him to another place, another land.
What I’ve tried to do for the most part was when people speak Japanese, they speak Japanese. The Japanese, many of them, are bilingual, and I’m not playing Hugh as bilingual when he enters the film so that, as an audience member, you do ride through. But there are times when it’s wonderful. He’s a stranger in a strange land, and people are talking, you don’t hear what they’re saying. You don’t read subtitles either. You’re just as lost as he is, trying to figure out who’s saying what to whom — a Japanese audience member won’t be. But I enjoyed that it would play that way and that there would be a sense of “Oz” to it all, in the sense that he steps out the door of that plane and is in a land that he’s got to decode and labyrinth that he’s got to understand. It made the film more active, mentally, for him. Given that this is not a film with a gigantic, nefarious force trying to destroy the Earth or take over, the challenges that become different because the plot structure really runs counter to what most superhero tentpoles are. It’s more of a mystery noir picture. It’s less of a “Will he stop whatever-the-name-is from annihilating these three cities, football stadiums, countries, the Earth — throw it out of orbit,” any of that. The stakes are more personal. The stakes are much more grounded and about people you hopefully care about and not necessarily built on this “Will the world survive?” So it becomes really important to play on the mystery aspects — and language becomes part of it, a culture that you don’t understand from the beginning and are trying to carve out an understanding of.
One of the things that seemed like common sense to me was that when you have him on his own and you’re not doing an origin story — and he’s impervious to everything except some kind of elaborate forms of death that people can think up — the reality is that you’re robbing yourself, A) of some kind of simple stakes. But B) the movie, when you see it in total, asks a lot of questions about mortality and about what it is we’re after when we’re trying to lie forever, about love, about suicide, about calamity, about love lasting beyond the grave — a lot of questions that to me are interesting. Look, in the three existing X-Men movies, he’s part of a team. He’s kind of a part of a task force and, therefore, the form of the films and what you see of him plays out in relation to a round robin of all these characters and action going on in different places. And in the one solo Wolverine film, it’s an origin story and devoted so much of its energy to that and also to other mutants that it never really got a chance — I guess the answer is, I actually thought it was wide open. One of the reasons I took it was, despite the fact there’s been a lot of movies, it felt like there was this big softball down the center of what you have: the right actor, the right world, an audience that’s going to come see this thing, and yet you have a chance to do something that feels like what everyone including me has been wanting to see and hasn’t been done, which is a chance to focus on him, to not have to tell the story of how he became him, but just to tell a story about him and to allow him to explore his rage, to explore his methods of fighting and conflict, mystery-solving, love, relationships, all of it without the distraction of it having to be on the head of a pin because you have to cut to nine other things.
What I think is grand about this movie — and I think Fox deserves a lot of credit — is that it’s a picture in which they got together people they trust to make the film, some of whom worked with them before, and then they let us make the movie. We kept the film on budget, and we finished on time. I think, to their credit, we’ve been rewarded with tremendous autonomy making the movie. It’s been been a very even, honest process of just working on the film and making it. It’s one of those times also where the film that I pitched to them, the film Hugh wanted this to be, is the film we’re making. So there’s never the moment of everyone going, “Oh my God, we’re shocked and horrified by the picture you’ve made.” They’ve seen it, they like it. It’s what we told them it would be, and I think it’s what they feel like audiences are expecting to some degree. As processes go, it’s actually really smooth — and you actually get to work on the movie, instead of working on balancing stuff.
It’s great to finally see a director who doesn’t give one or two-word answers and actually provides some information.