The Wolverine Gets A Villain And Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Suddenly Has Potential
Well, the first part of this might be a spoiler, but it's really not. The Wolverine (a simple, classic title that I love), directed by James Mangold (!), has a villain and a plot. Both of these things are, to the comic book fan, the fucking balls. During star Hugh Jackman's appearance at Comic Con, while he was promoting the awful-looking Real Steel, he confirmed that the film (with a screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie) will be directly based on the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller limited series from 1982, a seminal, brilliant work in the character's history. It's phenomenal news.
The other bit is that, (and if you've read the comic, you should have assumed this) the main villain will be Keniuchio Harada, aka The Silver Samurai:
If you're unfamiliar, here's the character's description (via Slashfilm):
Keniuchio Harada is the mutant son of the former Japanese crimelord Shingen Harada. As a youth, Harada mastered the attendant disciplines of the medieval samurai and sought employment as a warrior for hire. Following his father's death, Harada sought the leadership of Shingen's Clan Yashida from his half-sister Mariko Yashida, but was opposed by the ronin Yukio and Mariko's lover, the mutant adventurer Wolverine.
In other Marvel, non-Avengers news, there are some surprisingly intriguing developments brewing for Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. While the title doesn't exactly pop my belt buckle loose, the fact that it's directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor piques my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed the completely insane Crank, and after the drab, tepid affair that was Ghost Rider, a little insanity might be just what the sequel needs. I like their approach thus far -- at their Comic-Con panel, Taylor had this to say about the film:
"We think 'Ghost Rider' is one of the most badass characters of all time... He makes absolutely no sense at all. He's not really a superhero - more like a horror character. His power is he sucks out your soul. That's insane. So the madness and the nightmarish quality as much as the action were the things that drew us to it."
And that's exactly fucking right. Ghost Rider is a freakshow of a character, and deserves a freakish film. It should have some serious horror elements to it, and apparently they're approaching it from that direction. Supposedly, the film is much darker in tone, which serves the character well. It features Ciarán Hinds as The Devil, as well as Johnny Whitworth as Blackout, the half-demon, darkness-generating villain (shown below), and Idris Elba in an as-yet unknown role.
There are few comic book movies that I loathed as much as Ghost Rider -- it tied with Daredevil for fourth place on my list of Worst Comic Book Movies Of All Time. And yet, I'm a little bit excited about Spirit Of Vengeance. It'll give us an excuse to see Crazy Nick Cage, who is wildly entertaining in the right circumstances, and some wild-ass stunts. Who knows -- it might even be good.