I really just don’t get it. Before Robert Downey Jr. took Iron Man from being a kind of mid-carder to being everyone’s favourite go-to hero, you could have asked pretty much anyone with a passing knowledge of the Marvel Universe who the baddest motherfucker in comicdom was and (Presuming they had never heard of the Saint of Killers) they would have said “Wolverine” in a heartbeat.
Nothing wrong there I suppose. He’s the archetype of the Antihero; following a moral compass that is all his own, generally fighting on the side of good because it suits him to; Having a bullshit tolerate-o-meter that goes all the way to zero and arguably on an equal footing with Batman in the public consciousness in that he’s widely regarded as a fellow who will ALWAYS WIN regardless of the conflict, not because of his adaptability or technical know-how, like Batman, but because no matter how hard or with what you hit him, he will get back up and hand you your ass, which he will have sliced into something resembling bacon.
Here’s the thing though. He has been let down a bucketful when it comes to having a movie to call his own. Twice.
Yep, “The Wolverine” is upon us and it’s not great. In fact it’s pretty bad, and once again fans (well, this one anyway) are left scratching their heads as to how they got it so wrong and found a way to do the opposite of learning from the mistakes of the previous movie. A couple of things stand out as being particularly frustrating:
5. It’s Like Missing An Open Goal
Why do you like Wolverine? Is it his sense of fair play? The new gadgets he keeps producing? How understanding and how much of a father figure he is to the younger X generation? How his easy charm allows him to talk his way out of any situation?
Nope you’re thinking of someone else. And whoever that someone is sounds like a big girls blouse. You don’t need to write a moral conundrum for Wolverine. You don’t need to write effervescent, sparky dialogue, you don’t need a convoluted labyrinthine plot for him to unravel, and you certainly don’t need to have him match wits with any super-intelligent villains.
With a protagonist like this, less is more. You just set him up against an enemy 40 or 50 times his size, or hopelessly outnumber him, then after a quick but undoubtedly bad-ass sounding quip, watch as him and his Adamantium Claws fuck everyone up.
Anything else that happens around him is a bonus, sure, but the crux of the biscuit is that wolverine is a bad motherfucker and if you forget that (and I’m afraid “The Wolverine” utterly forgot that as he spends a disheartening portion of the movie getting beaten up) you’re left with nothing to really grab onto except for the hope that ancillary characters in your little game of “Spot the cameo appearance” provide a few laughs or at least a supportive raising of the eyebrow.
4. They Made A Bollocks Of The Support Characters. AGAIN!
To be fair, they managed not to shit the bed in such spectacular fashion this time round as they did the first time. (Deadpool; The Merc with the mouth has his mouth sewn shut? Has someone been drinking fucking BLEACH?) The fudging of beloved characters is toned down a little bit, but it is still there.
A more avid follower of the Wolverine canon than myself will most likely find plenty to howl about; For example I’m told one of the female protagonists may have gone on to be Deathstryke, depending on who you ask and which continuity you prefer, even though she turns up in X2 and is a different person whom wolverine has never met before. Viper spits and hisses her way through the film as its primary villain, all the while being as menacing as Your Mum, and as for the big not-at-all-foreshadowed climactic battle at the end, and who takes part in said battle, well I won’t spoil it for you. It’ll kind of do that itself.