The Wolverine came at a time when it was crucial for the X-Men movie universe to lay claim to its identity. In movies prior, Wolverine had always been a member of a larger team, yet we all knew he was really the lead, and Marvel was banking on Hugh Jackman’s flawless portrayal to draw an audience. Most of what came before (First Class notwithstanding) relied on Wolverine as the main attraction, and other characters were almost solely used as his foils, so much so that the original trilogy might as well have been titled Wolverine & the X-Men. Even with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we were being sold either an X-Men story relying on Wolverine’s character, or a Wolverine story hanging on to the larger X-Men mythos, depending on how you look at it. Either way, we were getting an X-Men/Wolverine package. This is why the approach that The Wolverine takes is refreshing; it doesn’t follow the pattern previously established. Unshackled from the main series, it holds up admirably well in its own right. This is not a story about one of the X-Men, this is a story about Logan.
The Wolverine premieres June 21st on HBO. Here’s a trailer to keep you hyped until then: