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Posts Tagged ‘Wolverine’

A few years ago I wrote about The Dark Knight Returns and how a previous Batman could return to reprise the role of batman. This type of role is unusual if not unique. Can you imagine an old superman or Spider-Man? But one other comic book character does have a literary source for an older version of the character coming out of retirement, Wolverine.the dark knight returns

Wolverine: Old Man Logan was an eight-issue storyline from writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven, published by between June 2008 and September 2009.  Set in an alternate universe over fifty years in the future (designated as Earth-807128).  A dystopian future where super heroes have been destroyed and the United States is divided five territories ruled by super villains.  Logan, who has long since given up the Wolverine persona for reasons that become clear in flashback, lives in the territory known as “Hulkland”.  The territory originally belonged to The Abomination and later conquered by the Hulk is now run by his the incestuous hillbilly grandchildren.old man logan

Hugh Jackman has hinted that Old Man Logan is the basis for the third and final Wolverine solo film, but has since suggested that this isn’t true.  If true, this would leave the door open for Jackman to reprise the role for at least the next twenty years.  It is common for actors to return to the parts that made them successful (Vin Diesel retuning to both Xander Cage and Riddick, Matt Damon coming back for a fourth The Bourne and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to both The Terminator and Conan.), but it is rare for an opportunity to present itself so easily.arnold schwarzenegger terminator genisys

Jackman’s Wolverine has been a fans favourite since the first X Men movie fifteen years ago.  As good as Jackman is, it isn’t all about him, Wolverine has always been a fans favourite in the comic books too.  So as X-Men Apocalypse that he may or may not be in sees the end of a second trilogy, a reboot, or at least a recasting could be on the cards. Jackman will be a hard act to follow as he has become so iconic in the part (despite being a foot taller than the character in the comic books).  The perfect time for Jackman to reprise his role would be after another character had either failed or had completed a successful run and everyone is debating who will take over the part.The Wolverine

This all assumes there will still be a market for comic book movies in a decade or more.

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* SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING** SPOILER WARNING*

Having watched the X-Men: Days of Future Past I decided to look out the original comic book first published in 1981 in The Uncanny X-Men issues #141-142 by writer/artist team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin. I had read it many years ago but didn’t remember much beyond the basic story. I was most surprised at how short it was consisting of around 40 pages over two issues. So unlike so many films that cut out large chucks of source material, Days of Future Past expands on the idea. The film has always been sold as “Inspired” by the comic and not a direct adaptation. The differences in plot are for the continuity of the film series as well as for dramatic reasons. I thought I would list a few.

  • The future in the comic book is 2013
  • The film future is 2023

days of future past comic cover

  • In the Comic; Kate Pryde travels back in time to inhabit her younger self, chosen, as the newest and youngest member she hadn’t been trained to defend herself against psychic attack yet. She is referred to as Kate in the future and Kitty in the past.
  • In the film Wolverine travels back to inhabit his younger body as he in the only one whose mind can survive the process. (and because it was the only way of writing him into the story as in the film timeline he doesn’t meet the X-Men until around 2000)

wolverine and kitty pryde

  • Kate is sent back by Rachel Summers
  • Wolverine is sent back by Kitty Pryde.kate pryde
  • Kate is sent back around 30 years to 1980
  • Wolverine is sent back 50 years to 1973days of future past 1980
  • In the comic book Mystique has formed a New Brotherhood of Mutants: Avalanche, Pyro, Destiny and The BLOB.
  • In the film Mystique acts alonebrotherhood of mutants days of future past
  • Mystique and The Brotherhood of Mutants kill presidential candidate Robert Kelly, Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert.
  • Mystique kills Bolivar Trask, the designer of the Sentinels.Trask
  • In the comic book the future resistance are made up of: Sprite (Kate Pryde), Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Franklin Richards (from the fantastic Four), Rachel Summers (the daughter of the alternate future counterparts to Cyclops and Jean Grey, she has not appeared in the movie universe) and Magneto
  • The future resistance in the film are: Kitty Pryde, Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Bishop, Colossus, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath, Professor Xavier and Magneto

days of future past

  • In the comic book we don’t see Mystique killing Kelly, Xavier and MacTaggert, we are only told about it.
  • In the film we are shown Mystique killing Trask.mystique days of future past
  • In the comic Mystique’s attack sets of a chain of events leading to the sentinels taking over America and about to embark on a nuclear war with the rest of the world.
  • In the movie Mystique is captured and her ability (and those of others we are shown) help create a next generation of Sentinel that recreates mutant abilities and uses them against their enemies.Days-of-Future-Past-Sentinels
  • In 1980 Wolverine has his adamantium.
  • in 1973 Wolverine is yet to have his adamantium.Wolverine-Bone-Claws-X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past
  • In 1980 Xavier is bald.
  • In 1973 he has hair.days of future past
  • In the comic the attack happens during a senate hearing in Washington.
  • In the film the attack happens in Paris, were the Americans and Vietnamese are negotiating the end of American involvement in the Vietnam Wartime out of mind
  • In the comic the X-Men team who stop Mystique are Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Angel, Sprite and Nightcrawler.
  • In the movie they are: Wolverine, Professor Xavier, Magneto and Beast.Blink-and-Warpath-in-X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past
  • In the comic book the X-men resistance escape from a concentration camp try and break into Sentinel HQ to stop the nuclear war from happening.
  • In the movie they hold up in a monastery in China knowing they will be found and killed but holding out as long as they can, Wolverine being their only hope.days of future past movie
  • After the attack on the senate hearing fails the story in the comic book is over.
  • The movie has another act where magneto fucks things up and they have to stop him too.

maneto

  • The characters in the comic book version of the future do not know if they have succeeded in changing the future. Rachel Summers (herself from an alternate reality) speculates “our world may not change at all, instead Kate’s actions could create an entirely different timeline… an alternate parallel earth”.
  • The movie appears to exist in a single changeable reality, when they succeed the future is rewritten, the characters disappear and reappear in a new reality with only Wolverine remembering the dystopian world.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Kitty-Pryde-2

I’m sure there is lots more I have missed.

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2009 X-Men origin: Wolverine was a mess; it suffered from too many characters and an incoherent plot.  Previous X-Men movies have handled the character well revelling parts of his mysterious back story in flashbacks and exposition.  An origin story is just that, taking the character back to the origins and exploring how he became the charter we know.  With the back-story out the way how does a second Wolverine movie stand up?the-wolverine

Set some time after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), haunted by the death of Jean Grey, Logan (Hugh Jackman) has dropped the moniker Wolverine and is living a solitary existence in the woods.  He is tracked down by a young woman whose employer is keen for him to visit Japan.

A notably better movie than Origins or The Last Stand but it still lacks the magic of the other X-Men movies.  The most notable thing about the story is the scale and subtext.  While the X-Men movies are concerned with global issues and have social subtext, The Wolverine is concerned with a story more personal to the character and subtext (if there is one) that is more existential. This helps the movie survive on its own merits away from a big franchise.  There is enough exposition to allow a newcomer enjoy the movie without being bogged down with the back-story.  The Wolverine

The mutant level is also kept to a minimum with just a couple of other “gifted” characters.  These include the villain, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), who like lots of other characters in the movie are based on characters from the comic books.  We get a version of Mariko (Tao Okamoto) Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and Silver Samurai, comic book purists may not like them, but they do work within the context of the movie.  Viper is well used both orchestrating the henchmen and getting involved with the action herself, although her first appearance in a movie she seems very familiar, coming across as a combination of Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) from Batman & Robin (1997) and Typhoid Mary (Natassia Malthe) from Elektra (2005). As with the comic book character she is based on Viper goes back to the traditions of the early days of the comic book villains she dresses in green.  She is interestingly the only character in the movie who dresses in what can be described as a comic book costume. Viper and Mariko in the wolverine

The action scenes are well handled when they involve Logan fighting with sword or claws but fall down when CGI gets involved.  A case in point is a fight seen on a bullet train, there are elements of it that are really good but others that are ludicrous.  This kind of sums the whole film up, some of it works some of it doesn’t.  The final showdown could have been better but it does neatly tie up the story and leaves us wanting more.  As you would expect for a comic book movie, there is a “stinger” a short way into the credits.  Without spoiling it too much I will say it appears to relate to the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).  For the first time in an X-Men movie they have managed in the one scene to achieve what the Avengers movies do, creating excitement for the next film.Rila Fukushima

Although different in tone the movie does fit in with the other movies in the series with one exception: Unless I am missing something, there is a huge continuity error, Logan lost his memory towards the end of Origins (it appears to be 1979), and yet in the present day he appears to have memories of 1945.  As mentioned in a previous article, we still have more than 20 years of Logan’s life that is unaccounted for between the end Origins and his first appearance in X-men, so there is lots of space for another stand alone story. 

It doesn’t always feel like an X-Men movie and it is flawed, but it is largely a fun and enjoyable.  It has its charms and some great moments marks a great improvement on Wolverines other solo outing.

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Anyone who has heard or read anything about the new Avengers movie will have come across comments about which characters can or can not be in the movie because of licensing agreements with other studios. For example Spider-Man is licensed to Columbia/Sony. With expiring deals, lawsuits and mergers there will come a time more characters become available. This has got me thinking about how much the Marvel universes should overlap.

There have probably been more Marvel based movies than you think in recent years. So far, Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor have all had there own movies and have all featured together in The Avengers alongside Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Nick Fury who haven’t had their own movie but have made previous appearances in other movies. Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Elektra have appeared together as well as an ill advised (in other words crap) Elektra spin-off. There have been four X-Men movies and a Wolverine origin story. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Blade, Frank Castle/The Punisher, and Ghost Rider have all appeared in their own movie(s).

The world in which Tony Stark/Iron Man exists appears to be just like our own, other than the advanced technology, mostly in vented by Stark.  A similar thing could be said of Bruce Banner, he and those around him (usually trying to capture him) are the only things out of the ordinary.  Thor on the other hand is pure fantasy, introducing Asgard and the nine realms.  Thor’s power is mystical and he is prevented from wielded it by an enchantment.  But even this has a real world setting.  As with Masters of the Universe (1987) the action takes place on earth, an earth who has no knowledge of other words.  Similar is true of Blade, although the world is full of vampires, most people are blissfully unaware of them.  Fantastic Four could have been an interesting movie, as we see ordinary people becoming supper heroes.  That only leaves X-Men, that develops across the movies where people become aware of mutants.  

Of the movies mentioned above, characters who have appeared in them who have been members (in comic books) of The Avengers in one form or another include: War Machine (from Iron Man 2), Spider Man, Wolverine, Storm, Venom (Spider Man 3 played by the brilliant Topher Grace), Victor Creed/Sabretooth and Daredevil. As well as Fantastic 4 members: Benjamin Jacob Grimm/Thing and Susan Richards (née Storm)/Invisible Woman, (I am led to believe the Avengers has included a Human Torch but this character was a different Human Torch and not Johnny Storm). Red Hulk (has not appeared in any of the movies to date but his alter ego General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross aka Betty Ross’ father appeared in Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008) played by Sam Elliott and William Hurt respectively).

So this is how I see it: Blade doesn’t fit into The Avengers universe and vice versa, the same goes for Ghost Rider. As a regular human, Frank Castle/The Punisher could work in the Avengers universe but does the team need another angry loaner who doesn’t play well with others? Then you have the issue of who to play him. The two hulk movies and The Avengers have seen three different actors (Eric Bana, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo) as Bruce Banner, each has got progressively better. The opposite true of The Punisher, with Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson they have got progressively worse. Although Wolverine, Sabretooth and Storm have all been Avengers in the comic books, a world where mutants like the X-Men exist doesn’t really need The Avengers. The Fantastic Four could exist alongside The Avengers and as mentioned above, at least two of them have been members in the comic books, the problem? I have never read any Fantastic 4 comic books but have seen the two film versions, there are too lightweight, and not good enough to fit into The Avengers. That leaves two credible characters who could be future members: Daredevil and Spider-Man who is going through his own soon to be released reboot. Under the right circumstances either could work.

To add to the potential confusion there are a few actor crossovers: Jon Favreau (the director of the Iron Man movies) plays Tony Stark’s friend/chauffeur/bodyguard Happy Hogan in the iron man movies as well as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, Matt Murdock’s friend and legal partner. Chris Evans plays Johnny Storm / Human Torch in Fantastic Four and Steve Rogers / Captain America.

Realistically given the team dynamic a second Avengers movie probably couldn’t accept more than one or two extra members. Given who we have so far, the a second female member wouldn’t be a bad idea. This means dipping into an untapped character, the online version of Empire magazine ran a piece recently suggesting this. The characters and casting they suggested are: Wasp/Janet van Dyne (Stana Katic), Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers (Yvonne Strahovski), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maxim off (Marion Cotillard), Firestar/Angelica “Angel” Jones (Jessica Chastain), Mockingbird/Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (Greta Gerwig), Moondragon/Heather Douglas (Noomi Rapace), Tigra/Greer Grant Nelson (Michelle Rodriguez), She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters (Gina Carano), Squirrel Girl/Doreen Green (Ellen Page). I posted a similar thing just over two years ago, I also suggested Michelle Rodriguez as Tigra/Greer Grant as well as She-Hulk/Jennifer Susan Walters and Huntress/Mockingbird Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (not the same casting though,  I do love the idea of Gina Carano as She-Hulk).

In summary there is crossover potential, even beyond my suggestions providing they keep the X Men and Avengers universes apart. Having said all that, it’s a nice problem to have like a coach with more players than spaces on his team. Look at DC, Given the disastrous attempts to bring their super heroes (other than Batman) to the screen in recent years they certainly don’t have the same problem. And if they did can you see Superman in Christopher Nolan Bat-universe?

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