Sunday, August 4, 2013

On Sacrifice and The Wolverine

Hopefully I don't offend anyone with this post.  

I get it Christianity, Jesus died for the sins of humanity.  It's a powerful image, Jesus: our Lord and Savior nailed to a cross.  It's a powerful metaphor of altruistic sacrifice.  So powerful that Hollywood seems incapable of demonstrating personal sacrifice without defaulting to Christian biblical imagery.  

LionEyes and I saw The Wolverine last night, and once again were reminded that all personal sacrifice must be represented via allusion to the crucifixion.  As the titular hero trudges down the snow-covered alley, ninja arrow after ninja arrow shot into him, sacrificing his own well-being to save his new lady-friend, he can't lean forward and press on in a fit of rage, can't fall over and give in.  No, he must walk on, standing tall, arms extended.  

It's not as if this is the first action movie to resort to this the same imagery.  Spider-man, giving up on chasing down the villain, stretching his body to it's limit to save a train full of innocents is carried off - where have I seen that pose before?

Neo.  This was probably the most blatant savior metaphor in all of Hollywood - ever.  

I'm not judging anyone's belief system.  If belief in a higher authority works for you, then that's great.  I envy you, really.  But maybe someone can tell Hollywood that we get it.  Superheroes (well, protagonists of all shapes and sizes) make sacrifices for the greater good.  That's inherently the story they were designed to tell.  Maybe it's time to create your own imagery instead of rehashing the most common metaphor in existence.  

Now that I have that out of my system...

I'm not entirely sure I'm saying much by saying The Wolverine was superior to X-Men Origins: Wolverine; a movie that took a cult character beloved by many, and did this:

No, it's entirely unfair to make any sort of comparison between the two.  XMO:W can join X-Men: The Last Stand in the realm of movies that ought to be forgotten (along with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Batman & Robin).  The Wolverine is Fox's attempt to revitalize the X franchise (one could argue X-Men: First Class did that), to bring back the characters and story-telling that made the first X-Men movie so well regarded.  Does The Wolverine succeed?  To a degree.

There was A LOT of downtime in this movie.

Wolverine suffers from Superman Syndrome.  How does one tell a compelling story about a man who cannot be hurt?  We create ways to bypass that which makes the character who they are; like little robot bugs that zap your heart and therefore suppress your regeneration mutation.  Makes sense.

The buildup to the final battle was tense - and there stands the Silver Samurai in all his adamantium glory.  Perhaps more could have been done here.  After Wolverine had to claw his way to this final showdown, the fight was short and anticlimactic.  

Did I miss the explanation on how the swords became light sabers?

But the movie had a much-needed harder edge than XMO:W and interpreted a chapter in the Canuck's life-time that fans were eager to experience in this medium.  And Famke...

The Wolverine was a step in the right direction, but certainly was not the Wolverine movie fans have been clamoring for.  

With the green-light given to an X-Force movie (potentially including my favorite mutant duo on the roster - please don't mess up a chance of getting that solo Deadpool movie made), one can only hope that with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox has begun to get its X-Universe together.


  1. I though this movie was a lot better then Origins. I still don't love Wolverine movies, I don't know what it is? It's missing something. I am excited for the next XMen movie... I hope it doesn't disappoint!

    1. Yes, it is certainly missing something. An R rating for starters. Add a few more naughty words and some blood and maybe you start to recover some of that intensity.

      I think they're going to have a hard time not disappointing with the next X-Men. Days of Future Past is up there in the top arcs in comics.