The trailer: The Wolverine, the sixth film in the X-Men series, is scheduled to hit theaters in July — and it comes at a pivotal time for the superhero franchise. (Watch the first trailer for The Wolverine below.) Sure, 2011's prequel X-Men: First Class earned critical acclaim. But before that came two poorly received films: 2006's muddled X-Men: The Last Stand, and 2009's disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was the first attempt to spin Hugh Jackman's popular X-Men character into its own film franchise. "When he's most vulnerable, he's most dangerous," warns the new trailer for The Wolverine. Will this attempted resurrection prove that the same is true of the X-Men franchise?
The reaction: The Wolverine is taking a risk by telling a story "that definitely veers off the familiar path audiences have seen from the titanium-clawed hero," says Kevin Jagernauth at Indiewire. It's tough to say whether that will make The Wolverine "a bold, refreshing risk" for the genre, or just "the Cloud Atlas of superhero movies." Either way, we shouldn't be surprised by this grim trailer, says Katey Rich at CinemaBlend. Director James Mangold has repeatedly described The Wolverine as a movie in which our hero is "'stripped clean of his own sense of purpose,' comparing him to a samurai without a master. But does he find the purpose somehow, or end the movie only angrier and more lost?" We won't know until the movie comes out, but until then, "I'm not sure how I feel about the 'Wolverine becomes mortal' thing," says Rob Bricken at io9. "But I really like how depressed he is at the beginning of the movie. After the events of X3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I was pretty depressed too, and I only watched 'em, I didn't have to live 'em."