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07 July 2015 @ 05:04 pm
Frame the halves and call them brothers  
Finally watched Wolverine: Origins or whatever the title is last night -- I'd been avoiding it because I'm really not a Wolverine fan. In fact, I tend to resent him for getting so much commercial attention and pulling the spotlight all the time, at the expense of other characters. But! I wanted to absorb as much of the "canon" Weapon X stuff as I can, and I do like Huge Ackman, so I put it on.

Dude. I was not expecting to like that as much as I did.



Part of it is Liev Schreiber, an actor I've always enjoyed but never seen in any kind of big role. I think I...like Sabretooth now? Is that weird to say? Like as in "would write fic about him"? This is a very strange way to feel.

I liked the low-key way they used Kayla Silverfox's Blackfoot ancestry, even though it had problems. Like that wolverines don't howl at the moon, because they aren't wolves, just evil little weasel-type assholes. I knew this, but the movie had me feeling a little gaslit so I had to look it up. In a confusing twist, they used a real Native word for "wolverine", but not a Blackfoot word. It's Innu, which is from the opposite side of the country in Labrador/northeastern Quebec. Okay, so wolverines are not native to Blackfoot land, but would it be so hard to find a Cree word, say? (Hell, 30 seconds of googling told me that the Plains Cree word is kîhkwahâhkêw, so Logan could even still make his "I am the walrus" joke about it.)

(Unless, of course, we assume that Kayla has Innu relatives who told her the story, which is certainly plausible enough, but would bespeak a level of detail and interest in her background that I don't think the writers had. But that's what fic is for.)

Anyway, what I was going to say before I got distracted by wolverines -- the story may be bullshit, but I liked the back-and-forth between her and Logan as she told it, and the way they didn't lean too hard on SHE'S AN INDIAN, GUYS. (Well, she's not, obviously. But that's not the screenplay's fault.) It was, however, pretty ooky when she got faux-fridged: I'm white and I was still like, "Hey, a Native woman's body found mutilated in the woods, this isn't uncomfortable."

And the Asian and the Black character also die, but what else is new.

*checks IMDB* Oh, David Benioff co-wrote the screenplay. No wonder I didn't hate it. I love Game of Thrones and his City of Thieves is one of my favourite books.

Other stuff...I really liked the acting from Danny Huston as Stryker -- he reminded me of Nixon, a bad guy who seems reasonable and (in his way) pitiable. Taylor Kitsch as Gambit was surprisingly palatable, even though his plot made zero sense. Dominic Monaghan was especially good, and I loved that circus lightbulb act; doesn't appear in the comics, but it seems like an incredibly Benioff touch, and the set design on Bradley's private tent had to be a labour of love from somebody. Kevin Durand as Fred Dukes suffered through a really weird-looking fat suit, but he consistently gave really fun line-readings -- it is tough and thankless to play Blob, but he made the character watchable.

Schreiber was great, as I said, but unfortunately the actors and writers ended up painted into a corner: there's no resolution to the Logan/Creed story, because they're eternal nemeses who can't defeat each other, and it's not easy to turn that into a film ending. "OKAY UH...NEXT TIME, THEN" isn't satisfying. I didn't feel Creed's motivation for telling Logan "finish it" at the end, and I didn't feel that Logan's "I am not an animal" arc had been detailed carefully enough to explain why he wouldn't at least try. The beat there should have been we're brothers, which is a more clear and relatable sentiment than you're an animal like me so kill me. Animals don't regularly beg to die at each other's hands.

I'm not even sure that I felt Schreiber's transition from human-like to animal-like; we saw him go from a bloodthirsty soldier to a more-bloodthirsty secret agent, sure, but that's not a far leap, and he remains more or less human-looking. I kept expecting Weapon X to alter him into the fuzzier Sabretooth we all know and love, but it didn't happen. His motivations keep happening off-screen: "he felt betrayed" is a great one, but like...can we see it, please? And why does he change in the beginning? We see him going all Achilles in Vietnam and firing wildly out of the chopper, but some dialogue would have helped. Does he just like killing more than Logan? Why? Is he all full of PTSD issues? If so, why/how do his reactions differ from Logan's, who was in all the same wars with him?

Is he (and God forbid that a writer like Benioff would do this) just a worse person than Logan? I don't like this kind of thing in a story, but I'm willing to be convinced if the writer is willing to work for it.

A really good Wolverine story would have established that it's Logan's feral nature that makes him less interested in taking orders and hurting other people when it's not a matter of his own survival, and that Creed's most human quality is that fascination with unnecessary brutality.

Anyway, that was a whole lot of words for a fairly disposable comic movie, but here's one last question:

Why the hell were two Canadians fighting in the Civil War? This probably didn't seem like a big deal to the writers: they wanted to get in some historical shots to show the passage of time, and they wanted to establish that Creed and Logan are driven to fight anything and everything. (I guess. This wasn't in the comic history.) But this is just...weird. If you can't die and you're just sorta naturally violent, that isn't enough to explain why you would voluntarily submit to all the rules and bullshit of being in an army, over and over again. It's like Edward Cullen going to high school. You can be violent anywhere! Maybe they really believed in all these national causes, but then you don't have as much reason for Logan to blow Stryker off when he appeals to patriotism. "I'm Canadian." Okay, so you are, but what happened to that in the 1860s, bub?

Lastly-lastly: Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Not bad, not great either. I don't know who I'd dreamcast for it.

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