The Wolverine came out on blu-ray this week and I finally had a chance to watch it. And it was good. Certainly better than Origins. Certainly better than X-3. And I suppose if it was the first or second Wolverine flick, it would be pretty awesome. But it’s the fifth fucking Wolverine movie. And though no one can argue with Hugh Jackman’s on screen presence as our favorite claw poppin’ Canuck, I’m kind of done with Wolverine.
The Best At Being Overexposed
I realize that I’m going to sound like one of those comic book guy, douchebags. But fuck it. What they’ve done to Wolverine is a travesty.
When Wolverine joined the X-Men in Giant Sized X-Men #1 became an instant fan favorite. He was a short, disgruntled, cigar smoking anti-hero with a bad attitude and razor fist claws. He never played well with others which made him the loner of the group, a seeming outcast on a team of outcasts. Yet, when it came time to tussle with evil mutants or giant Sentinels, he was the first on the scene to fight for justice.
His past was shrouded in mystery which only served to heighten fan interest. If the internet had been around then, I’m sure the forums and message boards would have been filled with fan speculation about where he came from, how he got his claws, how his powers worked.
He was bad enough to be edgy but good enough to take younger mutants like Kitty Pryde under his wing. Sorta like the grizzled uncle who you can always rely on even when he’s getting into bar fights and drinking to dull his pain.
Wolverine continued to be a staple of all the X titles throughout the 80’s and 90’s. But somehow, I never felt like it was too much. He still had that edge to him, that air of mystery. Even when Magneto sucked the adamantium out of his body and we had years of bone claws, Wolverine was still the best at what he did, punching fools with claws.
And then, Origin.
Good. Fucking. Lord.
Of all the dumb shit stunts comics have pulled to cash in, none has destroyed a character as much as Origin. Logan’s inability to remember much about his past or how he got his adamantium gave him pathos. After all, the search for self is one of our strongest, inner most struggles. Sure, we may know where we were born and our personal history, but the search for our essential selves defines us. Logan’s journey to fill that hole left by his lost memories made him infinitely relate-able on a very deep and personal level. It elevated the myth of the Wolverine.
Annnnnd now we know he was a whiny little brat. Yay. Brafuckingvo. I really needed to know that he was the product of an illicit affair between a red head and a farm hand. Oh, but it explains his fascination with Jean? I DON’T FUCKING CARE! I KNOW WHY HE’S FASCINATED WITH JEAN! BECAUSE CHEMISTRY AND SEX AND THE BIRDS AND FUCKING BEES!! GAAAAHHHHHHHHAAAA!!!!!!!! Fuck!
It destroyed all the mystery, all the myth, all the questioning, and ultimately proved to be a horribly unsatisfying experience. And that’s when the most dangerous mutant in comics became safe and boring and overexposed. He joined the Avengers, he got a cartoon, he grew taller, he started a school. Good ol’ unca Logan-sempai and his universe of young eager mutant kohai. Blehhhh. Which brings me to the movies.
Wolverine Featuring X-Men, Wolverine 2, Wolverine: The Last Stand, Wolverine: Origins, Wolverine Goes to Japan
Every X-Men movie except for First Class has been about Wolverine:
- X-Men. Wolverine joins the team to stop Magneto.
- X2. A man from Logan’s past returns to destroy mutant kind and it’s up to Wolverine to stop him.
- X-Men: Last Stand. Wolverine leads the X-Men to defeat Jean.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A retelling of Login’s origin mixing in bits from the Origin comic and shit. Big stinky piles of shit.
- The Wolverine. Wolverine goes to Japan because Silver Samurai.
Apparently, Wolverine puts asses in seats. I think only James Bond has made more film appearances and even then, the titular character has been played by multiple actors. Although, I think Roger Moore was Bond seven times compared to Hugh Jackman’s five times as Wolverine. Six if you count his First Class cameo. And now seven when we count Days of Future Wolverine.
Anyway, that’s a whole lot of Wolverine. And I’m kind of done with him. This latest film featured the most savage and brutal Wolverine that we’ve ever seen on screen. Honestly? It was boring. Ohhhh, but his healing factor is slowed? Was there ever really the possibility of him dying? Not really. Since we see him running around punching things with razor claws while his stomach is bleeding out, it didn’t really seem like his slowed healing factor didn’t seem to be a problem. The stakes weren’t there. So if he’s not going to die, where’s the tension? Mariko’s in danger. Ummm… she kinda killed a dude with a room key. She’s doing fine.
Seeing Wolverine doing what he does best should never be boring. I should never roll my eyes when the claws pop and he punches dudes. Yet I found myself looking for other things to do as Logan sliced things. There’s nothing special about him anymore.
Wolverine: Days of Logan Past
That’s what worries me about Days of Future Snikt. Instead of Kitty going back to warn the X-Men, we have Logan which makes this the sixth Wolverine film. I don’t think I can sit through another one. Certainly, there will be other mutants peppered throughout the thing to entice my nerd sensibilities. But if the main focus is Logan as it was in the previous X-films, I think it’s going to be a big disappointment.
The FOX X-Franchise has proven that it doesn’t do ensemble casts well. While I felt everyone got their chance to shine in Avengers, the X-Films (except First Class) have starred Wolverine featuring other mutants. Days of Logan Past promises an extensive lineup of mutants. Maybe too many. I worry that we’ll only get snippets of the others while Logan remains our one constant thread.
I think less Wolverine would make more of an impact. Keep the claws in until the very end of the movie. Keep him in the background until he really needs to be there. Let the ensemble shine.
So please, FOX, for the love of admantium claws, stop making Wolverine movies and make us a right and proper X-Film. You did a pretty good job with First Class. I’m hoping you can do the same with Days of Future Past.