About that surprise teaser at the end of 'The Wolverine'...

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Warning: Spoilers ahead!

If you have not seen The Wolverine and don’t want to ruin one of its best surprises, read no further…

Okay, now let’s get into it.

I’m already on the record saying that I didn’t love the latest solo outing from everyone’s favorite Adamantium-clawed super-freak, The Wolverine. But there are two moments in it that I absolutely dug. The first is a fight sequence on top of a high-speed Japanese bullet train that is like a syringe full of adrenalin, jolting new life into what’s become one of Hollywood’s laziest and most tired settings for a brawl. It’s also the only scene in the film that justifies spending a few extra bucks on 3-D.

The second moment I loved in the film — aside from Hugh Jackman’s rough-and-tumble portrayal of the mutton-chopped mutant — is the X-Men teaser that comes during the end credits. It may be the best thing in the film¬†(too bad it’s not, you know,¬†in the film).

Now, we’ve seen these sorts of flirtatious cross-promotional come-ons before. They’re the studio’s way of saying to the audience, “Hey, stay tuned, we’ll be back to take ten more of your bucks in a couple of months!” But the one at the end of The Wolverine is a perfectly rigged piece of promotion for next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed once again by Bryan Singer. Why? Because it hints at a future movie that’s better than the one you just sat through.

So let’s dissect it.

It’s two years after the events of The Wolverine… and Logan is at the airport about to go through a security checkpoint when he sees a TV with a commercial for Trask Industries. When he gets to the front of the line, he jokes that he’d prefer a pat-down instead of an X-ray. Then, everything around him starts to shake. Is it an earthquake? No, it’s Ian McKellen’s Magneto warning that the mutants are in jeopardy and that these are dangerous times. Time freezes for everyone else in the airport. Wolverine asks why he should trust him. Magneto replies that he knew he wouldn’t, which is why he brought along a “friend.” Then Patrick Stewart’s Xavier rolls out in his wheelchair. Holy s—!! Wolverine asks him how this is possible. And Xavier replies, “I told you a long time ago, you’re not the only one with gifts.”

Ok, first off, I’m sold!

Second, I want to ask you X-Men die-hards out there what are we to make of all this besides the following?

1. That Wolverine’s Adamantium skeleton would make a traditional airport metal detector go berserk. And it was nice of him to save some overworked TSA dude from getting his mind blown.

2. That business is booming for Trask Industries (hello, Sentinels!), which can only mean one thing for mutants: sleep with one eye open.

3. That things were definitely left up in the air for both Magneto and Xavier at the end of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, with one (seemingly stripped of his powers) straining to make a supernatural chessboard move; and the other a mysterious patient in a coma (or is he?). So how on earth did they wind up together here? As allies, no less! What’s going on? So many crucial plot points missing. So much to explain for those of us who aren’t aficionados. Head hurts. Brain…not…working!

What did you think of the Wolverine/X-Men teaser? And what are your theories?

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