The three new - and one very familiar - women of 'The Wolverine' (Photo: 20th Century Fox)
A shaggy, unkempt figure wanders into a dingy bar on a rainy night. He's greeted by a beautiful but mysterious woman he does not seem to know, and she tells him, "It's an honor to meet the Wolverine." The man replies, "That's not who I am anymore."
But that guy with the beard and the big mop of hair is indeed Wolverine, and this attractive stranger isn't the only woman who figures into the troubles faced by Hugh Jackman's furry mutant alter ego in two new trailers for "The Wolverine," which arrives in theaters in this summer.
Wolverine has four women to contend with the new film.
Yukio, who he meets in the bar, is a small but agile warrior played by Rila Fukushima. Tokyo-born Fukushima had a successful career as a fashion model and appeared in music videos for Lenny Kravitz and Ben Taylor before moving into acting with the short subject "Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story."
Mariko is a lovely young woman Wolverine is sworn to protect, and she's played by Tao Okamoto. Like Fukushima, Okamoto is also a model who was born in Japan, and she's appeared in Harper's Bazaar, Allure, W, Interview, and several international editions of Vogue. "Wolverine" marks her acting debut.
Viper is a villainess with super powers who is a sworn enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. In "The Wolverine," she's portrayed by Svetlana Khodchenkov, a Russian actress who was born in Moscow and made her debut on Russian television when she was 20. In 2011, after racking up close to two dozen credits in Russian films and TV projects, Khodchenkov made her English-language debut in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Khodchenkov reportedly beat out Jessica Biel for the role of Viper; while Biel more closely resembles the dark-haired Viper in Marvel's comics, in the trailer Khodchenkov gives her a sinister cast that the sunnier Biel might not have brought to the role.
And Famke Janssen is back as the powerful telepath Jean Grey, who was part of love triangle with Wolverine and Cyclops in the "X-Men" films and who ultimately transformed into the evil Phoenix. She is seen in flashbacks in the trailers and what appear to be fantasy sequences, so it remains to be seen just how the twice-dead Jean Grey will figure into this story.
Watch the U.S. Trailer for 'The Wolverine':
In addition to dealing with women, the U.S. trailer for "The Wolverine" released Wednesday confirms this movie will give us a different take on the iconic hero, digging deeper into his psyche, while putting him into very different circumstances than we've come to expect.
After we're introduced to the reclusive former hero, Yukio leads Wolverine to a private jet, where he's whisked off to Tokyo. There he meets Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), an elderly Japanese man whose life was saved by Wolverine during an atomic bomb attack years ago.
"I want to thank you for saving my life," the man says. "I wanted to repay you … a gift to equal the life you gave me. You have struggled long enough. I can end your eternity, make you mortal."
Lurking in the background is a blond woman in glasses and a lab coat who looks like she has trouble in mind.
Moments later, Wolverine, dressed in a dark suit, is at what appears to be some official function when he's attacked by a man with a gun, and we see a pain and confusion on his face that's horribly new while a tattooed yakuza leads away the beautiful Mariko and Yukio shows she's a sure hand with a weapon in the melee that follows.
Then, in a flurry of quick cuts from various moments in the film, we see Wolverine square off against various villains and suffering at the hands of the blonde we met earlier, who turns out to be Viper and whose motives are not benevolent. After we glimpse Wolverine fighting a man on top of a bullet train racing down the tracks and preparing to confront a squadron of black clad ninjas, he briefly asks himself, "What the hell is happening?" as he begins to lose the invincibility that has been his blessing and his curse.
While the new U.S. trailer clearly emphasizes action and flash -- and has plenty of both to spare -- it does tell us a significant amount about the very different world that Wolverine will encounter in this film, and the troubled psychology of the character is clearly being brought closer to the surface as he wrestles with pain and mortality in a way he never has before.
Meanwhile, the international trailer that surfaced online Tuesday offers even more clues into the inner torment of Wolverine.
"Eternity can be a curse," Yashida says in voice over as Wolverine, seemingly homeless in a small mountain community, makes his way into town and finds trouble in a local bar. Wolverine whips out his blades and is about to inflict some serious damage before Yukio interrupts him. As they fly to Japan, she reveals that she works for Yashida and has been looking for him for over a year.
After more extensive flashbacks of the A-bomb attack, we see Wolverine in Japan, looking strong and well dressed by distinctly out of his element before we learn that Yashida is a wealthy and powerful businessman who can give Wolverine the gift of mortality: "Our company can do anything," he says.
The shooting and beating of Wolverine is more severe, and Mariko isn't even seen in this version of the attack. Viper also gets a bit more screen time, looking sexy in her form-fitting green outfit but also plenty dangerous as she tortures Wolverine with high-tech gadgets and shows she can rip a layer from her face at will. Wolverine gets hands-on with some ninjas and samurai, shot in the manner of a classic martial arts picture, and there's more footage of the fight aboard the bullet train as the trailer races to a close.
"What they did to me, what I am, can't be undone," Wolverine says near the end. Offscreen, a voice that could be Yashida replied, "Don't be so sure."
Watch the International Trailer for 'The Wolverine':
Like the American trailer, the international preview makes it clear Wolverine will spend plenty of time wrestling with his identity and fate. If Wolverine is to have an on-screen life outside of the "X-Men" franchise, these two trailers suggest "The Wolverine" is a great place to start. The movie opens in American theaters July 26.
- Arts & Entertainment