Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best There Is At What He Does: Wolverine

If you haven't yet, proceed immediately to and watch the bootlegged trailer of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Do not pass go and don't even stop to collect 200 dollars, you'll thank me later. Shoddy as the quality may be, it cannot detract from what looks to be a spectacular thrill ride of violence, finding your true self and going toe to toe with an entire army both normal and mutant with nothing but a trio of knives jutting out from each hand. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, the most dangerous man in the Marvel Universe. He slashes and growls and runs through the trailer with a level of energy and tenacity not touched on even in the X-Men movies.

It appears as if the movie will focus on exactly what a Wolverine origin movie would need to focus on, the brutality of a life of pain and war interspersed with the occasional moment of bliss quickly and brutally shattered. (Spoiler Alert) Recruited by the government, (in the comics the Canadian government, in the movies it's almost certainly going to be the American, William Stryker as seen in X2) he undergoes a procedure that grafts an unbreakable metal alloy onto his skeletal structure, a procedure so violent it wipes out his memory, forgetting James Howlett and leaving only Wolverine, the ultimate killing machine. With no knowledge of who he was before, he goes on a journey to find who and what he is all the while fending off entire armies with strength, speed, skill and above all a singular drive to eek out justice, a force of nature that cannot be stopped. An unstoppable force, save for the shred of humanity left in his heart and an equally dangerous force that has long since embraced the animal and forgotten the human. Liev Schreiber is Sabretooth, an evil man who relishes in brutality, cutting a swath through anyone, guilty or innocent, to get what he wants or sometimes for the sheer hell of it. With skills, strength, tenacity and a healing factor to match Wolverine, there's is a fight that will stretch into the twilight of the world, two men who will never, ever stop until the other is dust beneath their feet, leaving behind a bloody path of destruction in their wake.

The fact that I have managed to get this excited about Wolverine is not something to be taken lightly. For a long time there really didn't seem to be any point to making a Wolverine movie, one can easily replace the titles of X-Men, X2 and the desecration that was X3 with that of Wolverine, Wolverine 2 and Wolverine 3. Popular, ferocious and captivating as Jackman's Logan was, he did not steel the show in the X-Men movies, director Bryan Singer and hack director Brett Ratner GAVE him the movies, the rest of the X-Men were just along for the ride.

Yet here I am, flabbergasted by a trailer that appears to take the character in a totally new director to heights never reached in the X films. The action is palpable, the thrills intense. It is the tale of a man finding who he is in the world through violence and soul searching while being hunted by an endless horde as he comes to terms with the animal inside and the metal within. It is one of the greatest clashes of good and evil in comics, the never ending battle of Wolverine and Sabretooth with all the anger, the rage, the history and the brutality of a good man who is part animal and an evil man who has embraced the beast within. My faith in Hollywood to depict such tales with gusto and wits is greatly restored, but May 1, 2009 remains a long way away.

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