Figuring Out The Saga Of Wolverine – a little discussion of the character and some talk about the movie.
The ticket stub says X-Men 4 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine does have multiple titles if you do a search on the web, an interesting dilemma for the X-man who is so vastly different from superheroes found in both the Marvel and the D.C. universes. But he is popular! On the 13th day of release
BoxOfficeMojo.com has the worldwide tally at $212,611,058.00 – to quote Richard Gere in “Primal Fear”: – that’s a lot of money. On an investment of $150,000,000.00 in production fees the flick will start turning a profit in just a few days.
That’s really quite staggering, but what I can’t figure out is how these studios come up with the “production” numbers and if those dollars include publicity and advertising on the minus side and sponsorship on the plus side.
It’s food for thought when worldwide box office totals, cable TV, broadcast television, DVDs, Blu Ray and soon downloads (OK, Ok, Wolverine is already pirated on the web, which hasn’t had an effect on the box office, it really is a film you want to see in a theater)…the X-Men have drawing power, and staying power, and this truly is an X-Men movie beyond its focus on Wolverine.
Danny Huston, the son of John Huston (Uncle Buck from the film Myra Breckinridge…yes, yes, the famous film director as well) replaces Brian Cox from X-2 as Colonel William Stryker, the manipulative and obsessed individual hell bent on destroying mutants. The gratuitous violence goes beyond the pale when Stryker transforms Logan/Wolverine from an immortal happy-go-lucky sort of werewolf into a self-healing Terminator. It is a gruesome “birthing” of monster into metal, a Dr. Frankenstein-ish laboratory specimen combining the physical transformation with negative psycho-therapy, torture that goes beyond waterboarding, humiliation, degradation …well, total abuse of an already conflicted character. At least Dr. Frankenstein had a little compassion for his creation. Stryker hates his monster and wants the monster to hate as well. Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed reprises his role as “The Manchurian Candidate” only he doesn’t have Meryl Streep to reign him in.
So is it a Wolverine or an X-Men movie?
It’s actually both! Wolverine’s amazing popularity is hard to fathom, not your typical comic book character, metal claws extending out of a being is kinda like Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Borg creatures, half human, half machine.The hybrid is a paradox next to the Iceman or even Professor X. The appearance of Cyclops in the movie, Tim Pocock as Scott Summers has the 24 year old, in what appears to be his first role, replacing the 36 year old James Marsden…ahh, prequels can be so cruel to actors who were synonymous with a certain role.
As a movie, Wolverine can stand on its own. The X-Men are almost incidental, though their DNA is all over the movie with seminal characters like Sabretooth, Weapon Xl and Gambit essential to the story. Now that may seem like a paradox, calling the characters incidental yet essential, but it’s a Wolverine tale, for sure, and those characters make the saga more exciting, especially the powers Gambit holds close to the vest. Spectacular super powers that aren’t ostentatious the way X-Men: The Last Stand threw everything but the kitchen sink at you. Director Gavin Hood displays a lot of talent and this movie should catapult him from his B-movie status right to the front lines. It is a solid piece of filmmaking and absent the extreme violence – something that absolutely should have been understated – the results are most impressive.