Monday, May 18, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

On weekends during my youth, when I'd stop in the Ben Franklin store on Summersville's Main Street to pick out my comic books, origin stories always caught my interest. I would pick up an origin issue even if I didn't read the comic regularly; the back stories of characters fascinated me, and I loved learning something new about how superheroes became what they became. For example: didya know Ollie Queen, AKA Green Arrow, is a billionaire who became stranded on a deserted island and was forced to learn super-archery skills to survive?

Ahem...well, you see my point.

After I'd pick up my weekly comics, I'd generally wander off into the forest behind my house, settle under the shade of a large oak tree and read my comics. Titles in the 70s were highly narrative and, unlike modern comics, relied less on the art to tell the story. Reading one comic, then, might take as long as 30 minutes; reading my whole stash could take an entire afternoon.

It was bliss.

One of my favorite titles in the late 70s was X-Men. I like the team concept of super-hero comics, mostly because those titles don't rely on one character to tell the story. X-Men, with The Beast, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine, often pushed the envelope for the genre with themes of race relations, diversity and political corruption. I loved the title not only for the story and action, but also for how it forced me to think.

Of all the X-Men characters, Wolverine was my least favorite. He was too limited, in my view: despite his animal instinct to go berserk during a fight, he rarely if ever killed an enemy during that era. He'd threaten, slash, punch and slash some more, but always seemed to pull his punch and refuse to kill. This--despite his being in an instinctual, berserker rage during a fight--seemed absurd to me. As a result, I didn't take the character seriously.

I left my viewing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine feeling the same.

Hugh Jackman is always pretty good as Wolverine, although he could increase his "gruffness quotient" a bit to be more true to the character. But Wolverine is best appreciated as part of a team. His origins--even though the back story's been re-done a couple of times, and isn't told perfectly in this flick--is the fundamental basis for how the character evolves, so it's an important story for the audience to know in order to fully appreciate who Wolverine is.

But the movie is boring.

Wolverine just isn't interesting without the rest of the X-Men. The best part of this movie, in my opinion, was when Wolverine was a member of Team X: his interactions with team members he disliked was gritty and interesting, but when left alone to carry the film...

Well, I'm just not that into him.


All Click said...

Dude, I was going to blog post on this! I still may as I liked it more than you did, it seems! lol

I thought it was fun and action-packed but I think not knowing Wolverine's origins pre-film allowed me to enjoy it more.

Your right about him being one of the uninteresting x-men characters though. He is all flash and no substance. I actually liked Gambit in the comics more.

The Film Geek said...

Hope you still will post about it, All Click. I'd like to read your opinion.

JDB said...

Yeah, by the end I was thinking, "OK, he's basically indestructable and he won't remember any of this. So what was the point?" But the girlfriend got some nekkid Hugh Jackman, so it was money well spent.

On a lighter note - before the movie started, a woman with two young kids (I mean young - 4 or 5) plopped down at the end of our row. Doesn't seem like a kid's movie, right? A guy sitting in front of this trio asked mom if she knew what the movie was about. She assured him, yes, she knew all about it.

They didn't make it through the opening credits. By the time the team is dropping into Lagos, they're long gone. Apparently, mom didn't know what kind of movie it was!

The Film Geek said...

Hugh Jackson is so good lookin' that even I thought I got my money's worth... :)

Yeah, it was not that kinda movie.