At the end of the 20th Century Fox presentation where they showed new footage from The Day the Earth Stood Still and Max Payne (more on that exciting footage coming soon), the studio who has produced the most Marvel comic book movies so far pulled a surprise on the packed audience by bringing out Hugh Jackman, who had just gotten off a plane from Australia where they had just finished filming X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Written by David Benioff and directed by Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), the movie had been cloaked in secrecy except for a few scattered pictures that have leaked out, and Jackman was really excited about debuting some of the first footage at Comic-Con, since they weren’t able to bring any of the “X-Men” movies there. He thanked everyone in the audience for helping make comic book movies so big in the past few years as well as going to see the three “X-Men” movies because it’s the fans who helped make Jackman’s career.
Jackman introduced Len Wein, the creator of Wolverine, who was in the audience, but that wasn’t enough for Jackman, as he jumped off the stage and ran over shake Wein’s hand and thank him for creating such a great character. Once he was back on stage, Jackman gave a really heart-felt speech to Wein saying, “I waited a long time to thank you personally and I wanted to shake your hand, mate. It’s one of the best comic book characters ever created and as an actor, it’s a challenge to play and I’ve just done it for the fourth time, and I still feel there’s more to find out and that’s down to you, from your great mind and heart creating a great character.”
Jackman promised that the movie is “big, action-packed and bad-ass” and that we’ll see a lot of “berzerker rage” in it, before showing the footage that was cut together especially for Comic-Con, even though he promised that it would look even better when the movie comes out next May.
The footage went by so fast that it was impossible to catch everything the first time–and they only showed it once unfortunately–but it begins with Jackman’s Logan and Liev Schreiber’s Victor Creed dressed in military gear in a detention cell where they’re being interrogated by the younger Major William Stryker, played by Danny Huston. He says, “You were sentenced to death for decapitating a senior officer. Your sentence was to be carried out by a firing squad at 1000 hours. How’d that go?” Then Wolverine said, “It tickled.” We see the two of them put in front of a firing squad who shoots at them, but they escape and we see Logan walking away as the building explodes behind them.
Stryker continues asking them if they’re tired of running and denying their true nature and tells them he’s putting together a “special team with special privileges” referring to the early stages of Weapon X or Alpha Flight. As he says this, we see brief glimpses of all the other characters in the movie, including Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit, who looked amazing in action, Lynn Collins as Silverfox, Kevin Durand as The Blob, and even a short glimpse of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool.
Most of the non-action scenes in the footage were dialogue sequences between Jackman and Schreiber with them talking over whether to take up Stryker’s offer, and this is obviously what’s going to lead to the long-time friends having a difference of opinions that leads to their age-old conflict. Logan says to Creed something about wanting to make a difference and asks how he’d like to get started, at which Creed tells Logan, “We didn’t sign up for this. Who do you think you are? This is what we do! Become the animal.”
From there, we get a few scenes of the experiments done to Logan to turn him into Wolverine, which looks like it was designed after the classic origin tale told in Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” story with him bursting out of the vat with the adamantium spikes coming out of skin. There was also a brief glimpse of Logan as a boy in a kimono with his claws extended which harks back to images from “Origins” and Frank Miller’s take on the character’s roots in Japan.
We see a few quick bits of Wolverine fighting some of the characters, including the Blob and Gambit, but the best moments are when he’s taking on Sabretooth (of course)–sorry, Tyler Mane, but I think Liev Schreiber is going to make a lot better Victor Creed–and the clip reel ended with Wolverine hanging from the top of the helicopter while it’s flying through the air.
Even though the usual claims were that this was unfinished footage, it looked good enough to make a pretty kick-ass trailer and fans of the character should be happy if the movie delivers on what we were shown.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens on May 1, 2009, and Jackman mentioned that they’ll be presenting more footage and have a full panel for the movie at Wonder-Con in February.