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Now we're getting a version of The Wolverine directed by James Mangold that ties directly into the X-Men franchise, which Fox has decided it would like to continue, thanks very much, after the one-two ruin-punch of X-Men: The Last Stand and the last Wolverine picture. At one point, I'm pretty sure this movie was to take place somewhere in the nethertime between the end of the stupid origin movie and the beginning of the quite excellent first X-Men movie; now it takes place in the aftermath of Last Stand and maybe as a prelude to next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's all quite convoluted, but goddammit, I just can't quit the X-Men movies, especially when Fox goes and swerves into making good ones again: X-Men: First Class was great! I don't know if Days of Future Past's upcoming cross-pollination of the two franchise casts will be a mega-movie to end all nerdy ensemble superhero team time-travel sci-fi spectaculars, or just a feature-long retcom at the expense of the promising First Class cast. But while we're waiting to find out, here's James Mangold's The Wolverine, from which I'm getting vibes not unlike that first X-Men that made Jackman a star: a little smaller, a little less ambitious, a little more serious, and surprisingly good? Maybe Jackman will squeeze another six movies out of this character yet.