New town. New women. Same Wolverine.
With Hugh Jackman's latest turn as Wolverine due in theaters at the end of July, Marvel and 20th Century Fox are starting to crank up the ballyhoo machine so everyone knows the movie is on its way. With the first trailer due soon, two posters and a handful of images have been released from "The Wolverine," and they play up what's fresh about Wolverine's first solo outing.
In "The Wolverine," everyone's favorite Glenn Danzig-lookalike mutant is in Japan, where he's protecting a beautiful but mysterious woman from local gangsters. Caught in a land and a culture that's new and unfamiliar to him, Wolverine not only must confront a band of dangerous samurai but a new nemesis determined to bring him down. The photos -- first revealed on EW.com -- certainly emphasize the "Stranger In A Strange Land" aspect of the narrative, as Wolverine visits a pachinko parlor, strides tall and sure through some official-looking setting, and runs through a Japanese garden, clearly prepared to deliver some rough justice.
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The pics also give is a look at three of the other principle characters in "The Wolverine." The pachinko still features Jackman with Tao Okamoto as Mariko, the woman Wolverine had come to safeguard, and she looks both elegant and delicate in a slim back kimono. Looking very different indeed is Rila Fukushima as warrior Yukio; with her dyed-red hair, punky fashion sense, and obvious skills with both a sword and a motorcycle, Yukio looks like the older and more dangerous sister of Gogo Yubari from "Kill Bill." And long blonde Svetlana Khodchenkova looks like a fanboy's dream gal as the Viper, wearing a snug green costume and sharing an up-close moment with Wolverine.
The posters offer a graphic interpretation of the same feel and message carried by the stills. One is a stylized image with no titles or credits featuring Wolverine at center, blades extended and clearly angry, as he's surrounded by darkness that, on closer inspection, turns out to be a band of ninja warriors with swords at the ready. And the second poster, more conventional in design, features a similarly "ready to rumble" Wolverine posed against the backdrop of a rain-swept Japanese city whose look evokes "Blade Runner," either by accident or design.
If these stills and posters only tell us so much, they do confirm that the movie should look great, and if Wolverine is in a new setting and facing new foes, he's still got the goods and isn't backing down from a fight. All good to know as we wait for the trailer, coming later this week, and the four-month build-up to the release of "The Wolverine" on July 26.