3 Stars - Challenging
When we use the gifted to fight our wars, we soon have reason to begin to fear them. This all-too-realistic fear of our gifted special forces soldiers who return to civilian life is the theme of Calvin Hood’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The prequel of the X-Men trilogy, (X-Men, X-2 and X-Men: The Last Stand), this film takes us back to the 1840’s in Canada where two wolverine brothers discover their true skill: being soldiers in wars that cannot kill them nor execute them for traitorous and unconscionable behavior.
As the title explains, the X-Man around whom the film revolves is Logan, or Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). When his brother, Victor Creed (Live Schreiber), begins to rape and kill with glee, Logan tries to protect his back, but this act takes them into the clutches of a duplicitous and troubling Lt. Col. named William Stryker (Danny Huston). The head of a secret military regiment that gathers mutants to do top-secret campaigns, it soon becomes obvious that their purpose is more than fighting uniformed enemies in a just war. It is then that Logan chooses to walk away from the regiment and leave his brother behind.
Violence can awaken the animal in anyone, especially those who have a predisposition or are given state sanction. The struggle in choosing to use violence to solve conflicts is the internal struggle that provides the morality of this tale. Trying to be moral and just, Logan hides out in a Canadian logging camp with the love of his life, Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Realizing that this beautiful woman “gets” the unusual gift of Logan’s Wolverine essence, it is her love which affirms that he is “not an animal.”
But striding into this idyllic isolation, Stryker visits Logan at his logging camp. Warning him that someone is killing the other members of their original group, his beloved Kayla is visited by Victor who turns out to be the “soldier” who is killing the troop’s former members. This loss turns Logan upside down and he agrees to a painful experiment to make himself invincible. It is also the origin of the Wolverine’s modified metallic gifts.
We won’t spoil the outcome of what happens except to say that the moral struggle is obvious and invasive as Logan, Kayla and Victor must face their choices and how these define them as both unique mutants and as normal human beings. It is a struggle each of us make, however mutant or normal we may be.
The indication in this origin film is that the war with the mutants did not need to occur. Do you agree that it is inevitable that there will be a struggle between the “gifted” and the “normal” or is there another way this could be solved?
The fear of the “special forces” personnel has been seen in films such as Rambo. Do you believe there is real fear of these specially gifted soldiers who have been taught to kill so effectively when they return to civilian life? Why or why not?
Have you ever experienced the resistance or envy of another person toward your unique gift or ability? How did you handle this?