X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

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Overall Impression – Hugh Jackman brings Wolverine to life like nobody else could.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Logan, a.k.a. James, a.k.a. Wolverine.

What’s he trying to accomplish? – Professional: stop Sabertooth.  Personal: avenge Kayla’s murder. Private: embrace the animal inside.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Striker, Logan’s half-brother Victor (a.k.a. Sabretooth), plus a host of nasty mutants and regular humans.

What happens if he fails? – The future of mutant kind will be put in danger, and Logan will never find his place in the world.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – In the 1800’s, a family tragedy causes James Howlett’s mutation to manifest itself, making him an outcast amongst normal people.

Wanderer – James and his half-brother Victor flee their families, trying for years to find their place in the world.  Eventually, they fall in with Striker – the head of a secret army unit comprised of mutants.  When Logan rebels against their questionable activities, he leaves Victor and the group behind, electing to live a normal life in the Canadian rockies with a school teacher named Kayla.

Warrior – Years later, it seems Victor is hunting members of the team.  When Logan finds Kayla dead, he accepts Striker’s offer to have Adamantium alloy bonded to his bones, giving him the tools he needs to defeat Victor. Unfortunately, it’s all a trick.  Striker’s using Victor to collect DNA from the most powerful mutants, intending to create the ultimate weapon to help quell the growing mutant presence… and Logan’s was the last power he needed.  Logan goes on the run, tracking down Wraith, The Blob and Gambit in order to find Striker and take his revenge.

Martyr – Logan learns that Kayla is alive, and was forced by Striker to manipulate him.  He’s willing to die to save both her and the captured mutants.

AND, IN THE END…

As a fan of pretty much all things Marvel and DC, I’ve got my own opinions on how comic book movies should be done.  Yeah, there were some things I didn’t like about X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but what else is new?

That being said, there are superhero movies, and then there are SUPERHERO MOVIES.  I  guess I separate them into three tiers:

First tier: Superman 1&2, Spiderman 2, Iron Man, X-Men 1&2, Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight.

Second tier: Daredevil, Punisher(s), Spiderman 3, Superman Returns, X-Men The Last Stand, Fantastic Four (and Silver Surfer), Batman and Robin, and more…

The elusive third tier is reserved solely for Elektra.

The first tier movies are my favorites.  I’ve got a bunch of reasons why, but generally it’s that the character is the star, rather than the action.  That’s my main quibble with those second tier movies, and with X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.  I find Logan more interesting than his claws… not the other way around.

It’s cool to watch Superman lift a plane, then a car, then a giant piece of alien real estate (Superman Returns), but you lose the focus on Clark Kent, whose humor, plight and dynamic with Lois Lane is what made Superman 1 & 2 so special.

Iron Man’s suit is awesome, but not more awesome than Tony Stark.

By cramming THREE main villains into Spiderman 3, Peter Parker’s problems got sidelined by Spiderman’s.  As a result, Spidey 3 felt somewhat empty compared to Spidey 2.

Basically, I like the action to supplement the superhero and his/her story, not substitute for it.   I honestly think X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE made some effort toward this end, and both Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber’s performances certainly elevate the movie.  Still, the action and effects come first, which is a shame when you have such an interesting main character.

— Dan Pilditch

2 Responses to “X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE”

  1. Latte June 17, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Hahah, Elektra. My dad and I went to see it, and he was so disappointed he swore off going to see movies in the theater for, like, two years.

  2. Philip Jones December 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    Alas, Elektra rests comfortably in tier three, right alongside her dear friend, Catwoman.

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