X-Men Origins Wolverine
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X-Men Origins Wolverine



Throughout history one aspect of humanity seems to appear in ever manifestation of human societies: a need for mythology. It is natural for people to understanding the universe we live in and before the advent of science much of this was relegated to the activities of gods and goddesses in possession of miraculous powers and abilities. Myths have traditionally given us a means to consider the actions of heroes fight on our behalf against the unstoppable power of evil. Now that science is providing many of the answers we intuitively seek the other provisions of myths are now provided by such things as comic books. Threes simple pages with their illustrations are now the means for us to sit in wonder of the new Parthenon of super powered beings. In the universe created by DC comics we received Super Man and Bat Man. I always favored their competitors over at Marvel Comics with the more human and flawed heroes. One of the mainstays of my after school reading back then was a comic about mutant humans called ‘The X-Men’. In the past few years the technology of computer special effects have reached the level were Marvel comics could be realistically portrayed in a film and the ‘X-Men’ is one of their more successful franchises. True to their mythological roots one tale that is always required is the origin story. Back in the comic book era the ‘secret origins’ special edition was always highly anticipated. It gave the fans a peek back in time to how their favorite heroes, and frequently villains, acquired their strange and wonderful powers. With the much lauded ‘X-Men’ the character cloaked in the deepest mystery is Logan (Hugh Jackman) better known by his Hugh Jackman better known by his mutant Nom de Guerre, Wolverine. Throughout his run in the comics continued through the animated television series ultimately to the movie it was the juxtaposition of his retractable unbreakable metal claws, his ability to heal almost instantly from any injury and the dark past that always haunts him that made him the most interesting of the group. . One of the largest aspects of this character is his bad boy attitude. With his distinctive hair, busy sideburns and ever present cigar Logan is the epitome of cool. It looks like the next wave of movies in this franchise are going to be oriented around specific characters and this was the only logical choice.

The screenplay for this movie fell to a pair of very interesting and talented men; David Benioff and Skip Woods. Benioff wrote the script for the Oscar nominated, poignant ‘The Kite Runner’ while has a pair of action flicks; ‘Swordfish’ and ‘Hitman’ under his belt. This is a great match for a comic book type origin movie. Typically a story like this is overburdened with necessary exposition, often at the expense of character development. There has to be room for amazing special effects but what we clamored as kids reading those special edition comics was some insight into the humanity of our favorite super heroes. We needed to understand on an emotional level not just how the received their powers but more importantly what shaped them into the characters we loved to follow. For this film it appears that Benioff provide the character aspects of the movie while Woods was there to ensure the action came on strong fast and on a regular schedule. There are some obvious flaws to the movie but most are covered nicely by the rip roaring good time this flick delivers. This movie is in the category of summer block buster which allows the cast and crew to let go, ham it up and have some fun.

With a loyal fan following such as exist for this character the writers are not able to exercise as much freedom with the story as otherwise would be permissible. Deviate just a little too far and the film will be openly denounced at conventions for years to come. Admittedly the ‘Wolverine era of the comic era after my time but apparently this story is close enough and internally consistent with the first three movies that it was fairly well received. In any case it was more than satisfying on the visceral level necessary for a big budget action flick. This is also an imaginative way to freshen up a popular franchise that was admittedly running out of steam. This movie can easily be followed by other concentrating on the plethora of mutants in this particularly character rich universe.

There are a few stages required to transform the young boy, James Howlett (Troye Sivan) from watching his father murdered to the all but invincible mutant fighting machine known as Wolverine. First the trauma ignites his mutations allowing boney claws to extend from his hands. Later it is. Along the way he loses his memory which transforms the character into a classic tragic hero. He is immortal fighting as a solider for over a century until it is discovered that the boy, now called Logan (Hugh Jackman), it capable of almost instantaneous tissue regeneration. This allows him to be inducted into a highly dangerous covert experiment to cover his bones with the indestructible metal alloy, Adamantium. Along with him for these long years is his brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) who shares Logan’s natural mutant abilities. Eventually this bring in yet another theme direct from classic literature; brother set against brother. It may have been a little ambitious but added to this was partial origin stories of characters the movie fans are familiar with like Cyclops (Tim Pocock) as well as introducing characters that come from the comics and animated series such as Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) this does tend to over extend the context of the story but I can understand the rational for including it; this film is intended as the transition between the first ‘X-Men’ trilogy and the proposed new films. One thing that holds true here; the film may have bitten off more than it should have nut as a summer action flick it is a fun ride.

Posted 09/17/09

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