Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors. In fact, I think it’s a nice little toss-up between Nolan and Aronofsky as far as who is THE most talented young director working in Hollywood. Both make fascinating, psychologically stimulating movies with real themes and honest characters.
If you’re unfamiliar with Aronofsky (shame on you), the man just drips “indie.” He started with the micro-budget black-and-white movie Pi, and went on to perfect his purposefully jarring and in-your-face style with the heartbreaking Requiem for a Dream.
Then Aronofsky pissed off a lot of critics by making The Fountain, a lyrical, poetic, thoughtful meditation on death. It was called “saccharine” and “cheesy,” while at the same time being criticized for being confusing and inaccessible. In my opinion, it’s the best movie the director has done, infusing the intelligence and art of Kubrick with an emotional punch and an unreal visual quality that brings the whole thing together.
Aronofsky shocked everyone (especially me) with the gritty, almost-documentary film The Wrestler. Here was a very formalist director embracing a docu-drama style. It was a straightforward “underdog” story fused with Greek tragedy, and it was a hit.
Now you can see Aronofsky’s newest film, Black Swan. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard good things.
I bring all this up to make a point. Darren Aronofsky is always reinventing the way he makes movies. He’s that rare director who has a very defined visual signature on each movie, but he adjusts his filmmaking to expertly complement each story he’s telling. He’s the definition of an auteur director, but each choice he makes serves the story, characters and themes of his films.
Knowing this, I wasn’t as shocked as most when Aronofsky announced that he would direct a sequel to the big-budget Hugh Jackman hit Wolverine. Before Nolan rebooted the Batman franchise, Aronofsky was in talks to take over the franchise and direct an adaptation of the graphic novel “Year One,” so the idea of Aronofsky taking over a big budget, known franchise isn’t out of the question.
What I was curious about, however, is why he would choose a sequel. After watching the interview below, however, I think I get it. According to Aronofsky, this movie is a standalone Wolverine movie with no ties to the rest of the franchise.
So my gut reaction? I think Aronofsky stumbled on a big-budget story that he could sink his teeth into. I think the producers, feeling the series running out of steam (creatively, if not financially…though one always leads to the other), wanted someone to come in and shake things up. Aronofsky could be just what the doctor ordered.
To be fair, Aronofsky is pretty straightforward in the interview below that this isn’t going to be like any big budget movie you’ve seen before. He laughs off talk of explosions, talks about how the movie will be “different,” and even half-jokes that the producers don’t know what they’re getting into.
What will Darren Aronofsky’s The Wolverine be like? We won’t know for a while, but I’m pretty damn sure it will be interesting.