When I first heard the rumour of the rumour of an idea that maybe Darren Aronofsky might be directing the next Wolverine film I stopped writing my original column. I thought this the perfect opportunity, albeit self-gratifying, to talk about two of my favourite things, comics (obviously) and the films of an ex-research biologist from Brooklyn, New York. More importantly why I feel he is the person with the nouse and know how to create not just another movie based on a comic franchise but one that transcends the tried and tested form. Much like Nolan’s Dark Knight before it, an Aronofsky helmed Wolvie sequel would have that crossover potential needed to generate huge box office numbers. Also like Nolan I was introduced to Aronofsky’s work in the later years of my school life when a friend lent me a pile of DVDs which included the sci-fi noir Pi.
I mention noir in particular as from the post credit teasers spliced on the end of X-Men Origins, Wolverine 2 will be set in Japan bringing it close to an adaptation of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s four issue miniseries. Miller’s name in particular being synonymous with the noir genre in comics and a previous collaborator of Aronofsky’s on his never-to-be Batman project. Just one of many ‘geek’ franchises the director’s name has been attached to including many that Miller has worked on during his career and some he definitely has not. Notably Japanese animation Perfect Blue for which Aronofsky acquired the rights so that he could recreate the iconic bathroom scene from that film in his own, Requiem For A Dream, using the rest to greatly inspired his fifth film, Black Swan. You see there is the want to make not just another good comic film but a great film, period.
Aronofsky may wish to create an amalgamation of Wolverine’s dealings in Japan as written by Claremont as they are rife with the relationships, events and emotions that the director is used to peppering his own work with. In-between the violence, posturing and jokes about the number of titles featuring Wolverine, over the years the tragedy of the character has mostly been lost and Aronofsky is a director that does tragedy well. The loss of a spouse, patriarchal relationships, the defining of one self through action and spiritualism are all themes that have been explored in Aronofsky’s films. Similar plots can be found in Claremont’s time writing Wolverine and the X-men in general, his marriage to and the death of Mariko Yashida, his surrogate fatherhood of both Kitty Pryde and Jubilee and the battle with his own feral nature. That’s Wolverine not Claremont.
Such a rich intertwined tapestry of story and characters would only be achievable if the director worked closely with Fox, who hold the rights to all of Marvel’s mutant themed films, to extend their X-related properties. Allowing them to continue the cycle of lucrative film franchises spinning out of lucrative film franchises but Aronofsky is not necessarily known for bending to the studios will. A reboot of Robocop at MGM was scrapped as Aronofsky refused to make the film in 3D. That is not to say that Aronofsky is a ‘difficult’ director just a man that knows what works. If Marvel wants its own equivalent to the post 2000 millennium Batman franchise then I believe Wolverine 2 is their best opportunity. The source material is there, it just depends on how they use it. The Dark Knight and Nolan’s (there he is again) later film Inception are proof enough that audiences will pay to see intelligent blockbusters without the gimmick of 3D. You just have to give said audiences something to talk about and word of mouth is often the best advertising not purchasable. Like Joss Whedon being a fantastic choice for The Avenger’s film with all its iconography and extroversion, Aronofsky could be the best thing to happen to the movie X-Universe since Alan Cumming bamf’d his way through the corridors of the White House. He would hopefully create an introspective Wolverine film akin to Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain and the rest of his existing filmography, embracing Logan’s history of violence and tragedy. Aronofsky is the best there is at what he does. But sometimes what he does isn't very nice.
Ha! the editorial settings blocked out Alan C u mming's last name. We should have Scott fix that.
As for Wolverine movies...c'mon, too many cooks have added WAY too much crap to that pot, trying to give him depth and layers that he doesn't really have. Let's not aggrandize the character, eh?
"Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"