Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bay Area, California
Re: James Mangold will direct The Wolverine
Man wow, I just have a totally different interpretation of the entire movie then, I guess that's why it settles with me.
Another reason why it probably settles better with me is that I must admit, I haven't read the Weapon X comic books. It is, however, at the top of my list of trades to buy. My familiarity with the Weapon X story comes mostly from how it was adapted in the cartoon series, along with various versions I have seen in different mediums, as well as what was foreshadowed in X-Men and X2, as well as knowledge of the story that I have gotten through talking to people and my own personal research. So on that level, I think I went into the movie with different expectations altogether. Also, in terms of the lack of violence thing, I was looking at this movie as a prequel to the X-Men version of Logan, which is very much PG-13, as opposed to the rated R version of the solo character.
I do admit I was rather disappointed that the war scenes were condensed into a credits montage. There was a lot of good footage from the wars that was shown in trailers, TV spots, and other promo material, and I was expecting more from that. That said, I can accept what was done. For a credits montage, I thought it was well executed and got the point across well. Even though there wasn't much exploration into the brotherly relationship between James and Victor, when they eventually split, I never really felt like "wow, and I'm supposed to care because?" It worked for me. You mentioning it is really the first time I've thought that they weren't developed well enough.
Now onto something that Thebumwhowalks stated - the whole Silverfox thing is exactly how I remember it from the animated series, and apparently according to him it's what happens in the comics too. Silverfox "dies", but comes back having never really been dead, and it was a plot all along. That all sounds like classic Weapon X plot points to me, and I thought it was handled well.
As far as her motives, her motives were fine to me, and here's a point where I think interpretations differ. My interpretation of the film is that Logan and Kayla were legitimately together, and when Stryker came back into town, and Logan refused him, that's when all the circumstances of Kayla's sister came to be. I believe that they captured her sister, and made her go through with this plan, when they were in love legitimately from the start. The scene where Stryker is explaining all of that to him, Kayla motions as though she is going to tell that to Logan, but Stryker threatens her with the gun. And here is my biggest complaint with the movie - I think the original mind erase sequence puts everything together so much better, but they cut it out, and make the adamantium bullets come across as a really horrid plot device. But with the original mind erase sequence, the adamantium bullets actually make sense, and have a place in the story.
As far as the Hudsons go, I think that's where interpretations are also different. Where you see bad nod to Donner's Superman, I see elements of the story taken right from the source material. As I know the story, after Logan goes through Weapon X and escapes, the Hudsons (who in the comics are actually part of Alpha Flight) take Logan in and care for him while he heals and recovers from what happened. And I see that as exactly what's going on in the movie. They're just old people instead of young Canadian superheroes. That's why that's one of my favorite aspects of the movie, because it's the story as I've always known it growing up being brought to life right in front of me.
There was another point that you made, about the movie relying on the previous trilogy for it's character development of Logan, and I think there's a bit of just cause to that. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an origin tale, it still exists in the same universe as the trilogy, and as such, the character development over the course of 3 movies plays a part. I really do feel that if they spent too much time rehashing Logan's character in that regard, it'd get tedious. We've seen it 3 times before. We know who this character is. It's part of the reason why I accept X-Men: The Last Stand and regard it so highly, despite it's overall lack of character development. The characters were developed over 2 movies previous. If X-Men: The Last Stand was the first movie of the series, instead of the 3rd, I'd probably have much more issue with it. But I already knew who these characters were and what they were about from 2 previous movies. It also helps that I feel the characters who were truly important to the story were handled well. I think McKellen's Magneto was brilliant, as always, and while many think that Jean Grey got shafted, I thought the creative take they took with Phoenix being an alternate personality rather than a space entity made her a much more interesting and tragic character. I'm not gonna lie, and I know this may be regarded as blasphemy around here, but how she was portrayed in X-Men: The Last Stand made her one of my favorite characters in the trilogy. I'll admit there could have been more, and a lot of her lack of action in the final battle is explained rather well in 2 deleted scenes that for some reason didn't make it, but I found a real sense of interest in how they explored her character. The way they handled Phoenix was, in my humble (and probably not so popular) opinion, one of the really better things about the movie.
But back to X-Men Origins: Wolverine - I think there's something to be said for letting the prior 3 movies development be considered in this movie. We already know who Logan is. I didn't need to see a bunch of exposition into his character. But that seems to be one of the areas where my interpretation of the film is vastly different from everyone else's.
As far as the other large subject of contention - my feelings towards the treatment of "comic books" on film - there really are 2 sides to that coin.
No, comic books are not just mindless dribble with no depth, character, heart, or intelligence. My favorite fiction is X-Men, so obviously I find something worthwhile.
But let's be real here. Whether it's right, wrong, or just the way things are, comic book literature is never going to be held in the same regard as actual literature. And while I vastly appreciate Bryan Singer's take on the X-Men universe (I think his character driven take was ideal for the franchise), even his most character driven X-Men film isn't ever going to be held in the same regards as movies like The Godfather or something of that caliber. Even the most highly regarded comic book film, The Dark Knight, doesn't get that kind of esteem. It took the death of an actor who gave an INCREDIBLE performance for a comic book film to finally get an Oscar nod in acting.
I love superheroes (even though X-Men is really the only one I am a fan of), and X-Men is my favorite thing in fiction. I love the X-Men world and everything it represents. But even I'm not going to sit here with delusions of grandeur that these are some remarkable works of literature that are going to go down in the canon of English writing. While there are definite layers of depth, character, and heart to comic books and comic book stories, there is also a big level of simplicity to them as well, and an aspect of bright colors and fantastic displays of superhero powers. X-Men included. And while I certainly haven't read every X-Men tale that's been written in comic book form, I do have a box sitting beside me right now with hundreds of X-Men comics, and a bookshelf full of X-Men trades. The genre isn't mindless by any means, but they are still very simple and fun in many regards.
I will say, there is one area where I agree with you on. X-Men Origins: Wolverine works for me because I see it as part of the PG-13 universe of the X-Men - it's an origin tale of how Logan becomes the X-Man known as Wolverine. X-Men Wolverine is very PG-13, whereas solo Wolverine is the R rated version. The "softer" portrayal of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine works for me because it's essentially the PG-13 version of the character.
The Wolverine will have no ties to the PG-13 X-Men world. It IS solo Wolverine in his own element. This is the R-rated version of the character. While the movie itself doesn't necessarily have to be rated R, the brutality definitely needs to increase. The Wolverine doesn't need to be kid friendly, and if it is, even I will acknowledge that they failed. I still may find the movie good... but a soft Wolverine won't be good.
That said, I can only hope that my post is taken with honest intentions. I certainly don't agree with your point of view, but you certainly bring up some interesting points in regards to these movies. These are the kinds of conversations and debates that I enjoy. In the end, I think it comes down to we just have vastly different interpretations of the work itself.