BEFORE THE release of this year’s "The Wolverine," Hugh Jackman’s two previous big-screen turns as Logan weren't exactly stirring high demand for more films featuring the six-clawed, super-healing, practically immortal mutant.
"X-Men 3: The Last Stand" was doomed after a last-minute change in the director’s chair resulted in Bryan Singer’s trying to revive the Superman franchise with "Superman Returns" and Brett Ratner try to save an abandoned film.
"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was stuffed with too many other mutants -- from Sabertooth, to Gambit, to Deadpool — and tried too hard to establish a universe of characters that fans weren't yet invested in yet.
Those factors could explain why, when the trailer for "The Wolverine" was released, fans of the character were skeptical. And that was no fault of Jackman's, nor was his spot-on portrayal of Wolverine — despite the occasional fanboy gripe that, at 6-foot-2, he's too tall to play the character.
"The Wolverine" however, surprised many by being a great comic-book adaptation that stays true to source material.
Which is why the after-market for Fox’s “The Wolverine” (which grossed more than $414-million globally) should be strong. The film, which was released on Blu-ray and DVD this month, includes more than 40 minutes of extra footage not seen in the film (the extra footage turns out to be extended, instead of original, scenes).
After re-watching “Wolverine,” we are convinced: Here are five reasons Jackman should come back to the claws on the big screen:
1. Appreciation of the character:
Few actors seem as loyal to the fans that made him a star as Jackman is. He doesn't have to make any more Wolverine movies, especially with that tremendous range. Whether it's musicals or gritty dramas, he's a leading man that can carry the film. He's even been asked why he continues to return to the Marvel character when he clearly doesn't “need” the character now(which is somewhat insulting to fans of comic-book movies). But Jackman knows that Wolverine put on the international map. He also knew that fans of the character deserved a good Wolverine movie to reward them for their loyalty. "The Wolverine" accomplished that.
2. A wealth of source material for future films:
If Marvel Comics’ release of "The Adamantium Collection" proved anything, it's that there is plenty of good source material for more Wolverine films. The oversized collection includes the story by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that "The Wolverine" was loosely based on. Jackman always said he hoped to do a film about Logan's time in Japan, and he finally got his wish. There are a lot more Wolverine stories out there -- it's all about picking the right one.
3. The potential for darker films:
On the Blu-ray/DVD extras, director James Mangold mentions that "The Wolverine" is much darker than any previous X-Men film. He's right. "The Wolverine" feels like no other X-Men movie because it isn't an X-Men movie: It's not weighed down by the continuity of other films. It stands alone, establishing a new tone for Wolverine movies that, we hope, will be used again.
4. The X-Men movie universe is growing, and is back in the hands of Bryan Singer:
Yes, that dark, new Wolvie movie tone is fantastic and should be explored again, but with Singer now back on the X-Films, surely Jackman wants to be a part of what could be an untapped future of really good X-flicks. We get our first look with "X-Men: Days of Future Past." But will this be Jackman's last X-movie? If we want more Wolverine solo films, is it too much to ask that he be a part of the X-Men movie universe, too?
5. We have to see him in the suit:
An alternate ending is included on "The Wolverine" Blu-Ray/DVD that shows Jackman receiving a gift in a suitcase. The gift? His legendary yellow suit, including the mask. Give the suit’s designers their due. If there’s one superhero costume that we thought might not be soon seen on the big screen, it's Wolverine's legendary yellow tights. But from what we see in the suitcase, it works. The suit looks fantastic. Now Jackman and his team need to dig through some comic-book pages and find the perfect situation that allows fans to see Jackman in the suit on the big screen.