Making the Grades
“Tell me about your childhood…”
I’d love to see a scene with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) reclining on his psychiatrist’s couch and detailing what led up to his present state as a hybrid human/food processor. Unfortunately, there’s little in the way of deep contemplative thinking in this prequel X-Men movie, which looks at the how young Jimmy Logan turned into the immortal bladed-knuckle fighter he is today.
Logan and his brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) begin life in the Canadian wilderness where a domestic dispute reveals their unusual powers (his brother will later become Sabertooth, with impressive cat-like abilities). Soon they begin fighting together as soldiers in various wars. Through a series of events, General Stryker (Danny Huston) from the US military discovers these two Canucks have some unusual survival skills—not the least of which is living through a firing squad execution.
Seeing these mutants as the perfect weapon, Stryker enlists their help on a special assignment, but when they are faced with killing innocent Africans, Logan decides he’s had enough. Heading back to Canada, he settles down in the Rocky Mountains with the beautiful Kayla (Lynn Collins). Six years later Stryker finds him and tries to convince Logan to take part in an experimental project. Although the bladed one initially refuses, he changes his mind after his brother also reappears and murders his girlfriend. Suddenly, Stryker’s offer to infuse Logan’s almost-indestructible body with a secret substance and turn him into the ultimate killing machine seems like a good way to get revenge. Setting off to settle their dispute, the newly christened Wolverine is about to discover the situation is much larger than a sibling quarrel.
Parents familiar with previous X-Men movies can expect a somewhat greater degree of violence than last outings. Wolverine and Sabertooth’s claws seem to be perpetually puncturing abdomens (with sound effects) making the impalings more “human” and possibly more disturbing. Almost every scene depicts some sort of mayhem, and many of the on-screen shootings include unsuspecting bystanders. The depiction of these victims as innocent and kind-hearted may make their deaths even more distressing for younger viewers. A smattering of mild and moderate profanities is also heard, along with scatological terms and religious expletives. And, while the near-naked Mystique character from past films does not make an appearance in this X-Men adventure, a nude Jackman is seen (obscurely) from the side and rear.
Now that the X-Men Trilogy is safely tucked away on DVD and Blu-ray, Fox appears to be mining new stories from their old material by going back into the childhood origins of these Marvel Comic creations. (Internet buzz has Magneto as being the next biographical focus). While fans will likely enjoy this tale of the conflicted Wolverine, the revengeful plot and frequent violent portrayals may give parents reason for concern about letting their kids see this slicer/dicer in action.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about X-Men Origins-Wolverine.
Throughout the movie, Wolverine wrestles with his personal ethics over the use of his mutant strength. How does the sanction of military authority affect his choices? What happens when he desires revenge?
A caring character in the movie tells Wolverine that he can choose the way he reacts. Do you think this is true? Is he in control of his feelings, or are they just a product of his animal instincts?