Monday, December 15, 2008

Pondering Wolverine

The teaser trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine officially debuted today. You can see it, not on the official site, but on the mySpace page. I thought that was odd enough to point out. I would embed the trailer here but my meager blog can't contain a video that giganimus. I'm going to discuss my thoughts on the trailer itself and my feelings towards the movie in general. So if you take issue with someone laboriously contemplating a film project that isn't due to be released in months based merely on a smattering of details, well you've been warned.

In my experience the stronger superhero movies are the ones that ones that downplay the origin stories or are sequels which have moved past the origin story. That's just my opinion and I don't even really know why that is. I've got nothing against origin stories with one slight exception. The more we learn about a cool mysterious character the less cool they are. Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader become less scary after you've seen them be young and vulnerable. Is Cobra Commander better as a former used car salesman or a blue skinned lizard person? I'd say he was better when you had no clue what he was.

Wolverine is the poster child for over-examined cool mysterious characters. He was a badass the likes of which superhero comics had not seen and was the first break out star of a post-Nixon, more cynical age. Part of his appeal was the mystery that surrounded him. Heck even he had no idea who he was. Writers exploited this and delved into all potential aspects of his very long life. Nowadays there isn't a shred of his identity that hasn't been picked apart. That doesn't mean he can't be cool again, but I think dwelling in the past won't help the situation.

The trailer opens with a few scenes that gives the impression that the movie will be a superhero Forrest Gump with Wolverine living through several key moments in history. I guess that would be cool if you think the world needs a superhero Forrest Gump, and if that's the case then I admire your taste in movies even if I don't quite share them.

We see a young kid who I'm guessing is a young John Howlett. This is something I had never considered even if it seems pretty obvious; will X-Men Origins: Wolverine take cues from Origin? Origin isn't exactly held in too high esteem in the comic book community, and I myself had put it's existence out of my mind soon after it wrapped up. Still there is an actual tale of Wolverine's earliest years so it stands to reason that the movie of Wolverine's origin would draw upon it.

Then the trailer moves on and we see a military figure, I'm assuming Stryker, talking with Wolverine and showing what was hinted at in X2. We see glimpses of the Weapon X project and Logan getting injected with adamantium, followed by one of his patented Berserker Rages. There's an odd exchange of dialogue about Logan's dog tags that play an important role in the first two X-Men movies. I'm curious myself as to why he chooses the code name Wolverine. My guess is it's a Canadian thing. Then we get to what I think is the coolest shot of the trailer, Wolverine standing with his fellow Team X members including Silver Fox and Maverick. Silver Fox BTW appears to be Wolverine's primary love interest in the movie.

Enough about Wolverine, let's talk about some of these other characters. I have mixed feelings about them. I mean I'd like to see them on the screen but I think I'd prefer if they were in a new X-Men sequel instead. See if X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place years before the X-Men trilogy then does that mean these characters are not contemporaries of the X-Men? Are Gambit, Blob and Beak long dead before Rogue, Iceman and Kitty have even been born? I guess it depends on when specifically these characters show up in Wolverine's life time. It could end up being a total non-issue.

Then of course there's Deadpool. In the trailer he's just a normal looking Ryan Reynolds wearing a red shirt and wielding katanas. I'm actually cool with this. Deadpool was a human being who was imbued with Wolverine's mutant healing factor which leaves him disfigured. If this is a prequel than a pre-Weapon X Deadpool makes sense. Hopefully we get to see the Merc with a Mouth in costume later in the movie or maybe even in his own spin-off. Reynolds is an interesting choice to cast as a guest character as he's a "name" actor that could open his own movie. So a solo Deadpool movie seems plausible.

Another character I feel less positive about. Supposedly the glowing thin bald woman who is seen for a few seconds is meant to be Emma Frost. This actress doesn't exactly have the same body type as Emma Frost is typically depicted as having. Needless to say this is deeply depressing.

Last but most most certainly not least is Sabertooth. In X-Men Sabertooth was played by 6' 9" former professional wrestler Tyler Mane. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine Sabertooth will be played by accomplished actor and Yale School of Drama graduate Liev Schreiber. So there's a discrepancy there. I'm not such an ├╝ber-nerd that I'm bothered by this. It's interesting to note though. Sabertooth appears to be the Big Bad of the movie which seems appropriate but it does put their meeting in the first X-Men movie in a different context. Did they recognize each other? Is there reason why Sabertooth got bulkier and hairier and less chatty as the years went by? I hope not. Gives us geeks more to kvetch about.

My issue with X-Men Origins: Wolverine has always been that it's a story I feel like I don't need to see. I know Wolverine's origin, too much actually. While I wouldn't mind a Wolverine story, he was already spotlighted heavily in the first three X-Men movies. Now this doesn't mean I won't see it on the first day it's released. I mean am I excited for this movie? Yeah. It was number eight on this list before I saw the Astro Boy teaser and then it got bumped off the list when I remembered about Inglorious Basterds. It still would've made the list if I had done a proper top ten list but I was determined to use the "cute" title. Now that I've seen actual footage I think I can bump it back up to the eighth spot. Sorry Astro.


Gabriel said...

You know, after seeing the Wolverine trailer. I feel as indifferent as you feel about Terminator Salvation. If thats how you feel about it of course. I don't know, it didn't work for me as much as the comic-con bootleg trailer did. Also the title is kinda misleading, since its also the origin of the Weapon X team.

And also, you totally went there with Emma Frost.

Gabriel said...

Also you can post my version of the trailer if you wants:

Since I did post the bootleg one already.

Jon said...

If you are going to talk about when people are born in the marvel universe.

There by talking about time. Don't you need to go over the marvel pecking order? And where wolverine stands?

Anthony said...

Wolverine is older than dirt. There. (Actually if you really want to know when he was born click on the Origin link in the article.)

Did I step on Inside the Briefcase's toes? My bad. I did first watch the teaser there and commented on it.

Next I should write a shamelessly long diatribe on Terminator Salvation, although I'm not sure my thoughts on it boil down to be much deeper than "McG sucks".