For the record, let me just say that I liked X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In fact, I really like the effort filmmakers are making to move the comic genre into some pretty heady places. The latest X-Men movie isn’t an exception there. We begin with Logan/Wolverine in seclusion somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. Of course that can’t last. Since this is a prequel, we already know that his stint in the domestic environment is bound to end.
But here’s where X-Men Origins Wolverine runs aground for me. Whereas The Dark Knight and Iron Man had emotional weight and took a deep dive into the human condition, Wolverine defaults to memory loss and anger-driven action. Again, I wasn’t necessarily disappointed since Wolverine delivers what it promises: entertainment. But here’s the deal. In Iron Man, Stark wants to put as much distance between him and a selfish past as he can. There’s redemption there. And I love how The Dark Knight doesn’t let Batman off the hook. Remember when Superman catches both the missiles and manages to save Lois? Faced with a similar dilemma, Batman is forced to choose—he isn’t allowed to have both. And he doesn’t choose the romantic interest, either, but something higher: justice. All those gadgets on his belt can’t change the fact that he’s just a guy (granted a guy with extraordinary means and an incredible desire). So there you go.
Wolverine is driven by anger and the by-now-cliche memory recovery. Batman’s motivation is a higher calling. And, compared with Iron Man, his claws aren’t nearly as cool as a heart powered by something close to a supernatural energy force that Stark needs just to stay alive. See, for Iron Man it’s all about the heart. He’s a hero powered by his heart—a new heart. Now that’s just a cool thought.
But I will say that Wolverine gets close. That he and Sabretooth are brothers on opposite sides has a weighty feel. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t–or maybe the characters just couldn’t–take the opportunity to examine its significance.