X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The season of comic book movies is off to a very poor start. I went off to see Wolverine with low expectations — I read Ebert’s review ahead of time — but even so, it failed to rise even to the basement of my presumption.

The problem was that comic book movies should be fun, and they should explore the unique and peculiar character at the center. Think about Spiderman, with the kid discovering his superpowers and bouncing off of walls trying them out, or Iron Man and its playboy tycoon finding out that he has a conscience. You set aside the silliness of the premise to enjoy the thrill of the characters, and also revel by proxy in the superhero. It’s not deep stuff, and it’s why these movies are popular escapist events.

Wolverine doesn’t get it. It answers nothing about the character and simply plods through a linear series of events.

Spoilers below, if a movie that is nothing but kill-kill-kill, then kill big bad guy, can have spoilers.

It starts in 1845, with our hero as a sick kid. He and his brother hear a gunshot downstairs, they run down and see some guy dead on the floor (who?), and the young Wolverine kills the killer (who?) who is apparently his father (why?) and the two brothers run away (why?). Next thing we see is a montage as these two spend the next century (how?) fighting in war after war (why? Was there nothing better to do?), and then suddenly, somewhere in Viet Nam, Wolverine gets a conscience (after over a hundred years of slaughter?).

Then he gets recruited by some guy, Stryker, running a super-secret combat team of mutants. Stryker has some convoluted plan for creating a super-mutant with multiple powers because his son was a mutant who killed his wife (I know…it made absolutely no sense).

It was basically a boring sequential series of encounters in which the ‘hero’ fights and kills people. It was like a one-dimensional video game in which you have no control — deadly dull.

Hugh Jackman was amiable in the role of a guy with built-in knives who slashes people to death, but then Jackman seems to be on the road to be the kind of actor who is described as amiable in everything. Shouldn’t Wolverine be a bit more, you know, intense?

Skip this one.

Oh, and by the way, when you’ve got a pointless plot and an unexciting central character, the biological absurdity of the whole X-Men franchise is free to shine through, which doesn’t help. The whole mangling of the idea of mutation is annoying, and then to give the characters super-powers that are nonsensically impossible from the point of view of either their physics or their biology simply grates. Somebody ought to write a ‘biology of super-heroes’ book and give X-Men an “F” as one of the worst, from the perspective of getting their science right.


  1. says

    Gambit was lame. Brief appearance, does magic stuff with cards (again, NO EXPLANATION), shows up at the end. Woo hoo.

  2. Matt says

    PZ, are you looking forward to the Star Trek reboot? Ebert gave it 2.5/4, but it currently has 63 positive reviews and only four negatives (one negative is from Armond White, who disliked TDK and Slumdog Millionaire).

  3. strange gods before me says

    It starts in 1845, with our hero as a sick kid. He and his brother hear a gunshot downstairs, they run down and see some guy dead on the floor (who?), and the young Wolverine kills the killer (who?) who is apparently his father (why?) and the two brothers run away (why?).

    This part was awful. Awful. Could have been a better movie if it stuck to the mid-nineteenth century. Mutants in the Northern Republican party during Reconstruction, fighting for equal rights. :)

  4. says

    The Star Trek previews I’ve seen look very good — it looks like it returns to the appeal of the original. So yeah, I’m looking forward to that one, for sure.

  5. Matt says

    Yeah, it’s been getting a lot of fantastic reviews. Leonard Nimoy even has an extended cameo as Spock Prime. What I didn’t like about Wolverine was the fact that it had a lot of action, but the explanations were mediocre. In fact, PZ, they just announced a spin-off for Deadpool today. They butchered him in the film, didn’t they?

  6. says

    About your problems with the plot:

    We learn the important things about what Wolverine knows as a child, that his father wasn’t his, and how he gained a brother. They run away because people don’t like freaks like them. I think that part was pretty clear.

    Wolverine and his brother are good fighters, and fought in wars that meant something, but the in Nam he sees senseless slaughtering of civilians, so he “gets a conscience.” I can sympathize with that.

    Stryker is of the persuasion that mutants are bad news for humans. For example, his mutant son went as far as killing his own mother. I think Stryker’s reasons are pretty obvious.

  7. Owlmirror says

    Uh, I got the first part. The man who was killed was the man that Jimmy Logan Wolverine-as-a-kid thought was his father; the man who had raised him and taken care of him.

    The man he killed was the murderer of the man who he thought was his father, and he only found out about him being his father then and there.

    Yes, it was convoluted and poorly exposited.

    But hey, things blowed up real good!

  8. August says


    I can’t wait to buuy this movie!
    I felt positively giddy after watching it. I don’t know how you missed its amazing qualities.
    It had everything I could want in a movie.

    Hugh Jackman naked in bed dripping with sweat
    Hugh Jackman naked jumping from a tub dripping with water
    Hugh Jackman naked jumping off a waterfall
    Hugh Jackman naked running through a feild
    Hugh Jackman naked in a barn (Farmhand fanatsies anyone?)

    Then the movie did loose it’s way.
    While Hugh Jackman drenched with sweat in a rippped shirt is a favorite that I enjoyed in the first three movies, it didn’t have the same bang after the AMAZING first half of the film.
    To put it it “man words” No one gets excited when the stripper put her bra back on.

    But still Wow, what a first half………….I appreciate this wasn’t your thing but PLEASE DO ALL YOUR FEMALE READERS A FAVOR and let them them know they want to see this movie.

  9. Owlmirror says

    In fact, PZ, they just announced a spin-off for Deadpool today. They butchered him in the film, didn’t they?

    You shoulda stayed until after the credits.

  10. Matt says

    Bjorn, the introductory scene isn’t very clear. The film does a mediocre job of explaining who is who, and it feels extremely rushed. Why did Wolverine not know his father? Who was the other guy? It feels too chaotic, and very illogical.

    Almost every war before ‘Nam had the slaughtering of civilians. Vietnam was no different in that regard. Surely Wolverine had experiences like that in his century of fighting? It just seemed too linear, too convenient.

  11. Indigo says

    The greatest merit I saw in the film was the long stretches of time Hugh Jackman spent shirtless, but clearly it helps to be female to appreciate this.

  12. Matt says

    It was mindless, illogical fluff that butchered the X-Men story, simplified many of the characters, and tried to cram in too much in too little time. The only excitement came from the excess of CGI. There was no true sense of danger or wonder.

  13. says

    i think the nolan batman movies prove that comic adaptions can be “deep stuff” and be successful. for obvious reasons, like all worthwhile endeavors, it’s just harder (translation: financially risky) to accomplish.

  14. says

    Matt, I agree the intro and war scenes were chaotic, but I don’t see anything illogical about them. And yes, previous wars hurt civilians too, but no war is famous for it like Vietnam (I am no historian). Also, from what we could see they experienced horrible things in all wars, but Vietnam was a first of directly killing civilians.

    The other guy was the man who raised him, married to his mother. (Much like my own story, apart from all the killing.) His mother had an affair and never told anyone about it. Of course!

  15. August says


    I should have said

    Do all your female “and gay” readers a favor and recommend this movie.

    Don’t want anyone to miss out on this “marvel”.

    And what a marvelous, marvelous man he is ;)

  16. Matt says

    Bjorn, the issue I had is that they rarely explain any of this. The film is so criminally short that it loses its focus and tries to make the audience disregard some of the idiocy by adding in poorly done action scenes. They added in too many characters, simplified them, and made them nothing more than butchered shells that were slowly taken out of the film or killed off to advance the storyline.

    The relationships were never fully developed, and you could feel that some of the scenes were far too rushed. Brief scene, action piece, rinse and repeat. They focus too much on the brutality of Wolverine that the appeal of the other characters vanish into the background without a trace.

    They made the relationship between Wolverine and Sabertooth far too simple. You never felt why they had much of a rivalry, besides the fact that Wolverine left them in Vietnam. They never explored Sabertooth’s violent descent. They just show you, and throw the explanations out the door.

  17. says

    Do all your female “and gay” readers a favor and recommend this movie.

    Actually, I kind of enjoyed his nakedness too, and I am straight as can be (though perhaps now some people will make claims to the contrary).

  18. Traffic Demon says

    Walking out of the theater, I realized that Weapon XI is really a metaphor for the entire movie. When you take as many mutant powers as you can, and put them all in one place for no apparent reason, it looks like crap!

  19. ScienceCat says

    SciencCat thirds what August and Indigo said (#13 #17 and 22). Those who prefer looking at the female form might not share our deep and abiding appreciation of the list in comment #13 but then they got three X-movies worth of Mystique.

    Not that the points being made about the plot,etc. aren’t valid.

    It was a bit of a letdown re: plot, dialogue, fact that they seem to have used a geological body-double for the Rockies but sometimes movies need to be about topless males and ridiculous explosions, fight scenes and special effects (for more evidence see “Troy”, which required suspension of not only disbelief but active effort to forget everything one ever read regarding the Illiad)

  20. Kagato says

    You shoulda stayed until after the credits.

    There needs to be a website with this info. >:(

    (Actually there’s a few, even one called stayforthecredits.com, but none of them have much content or are up to date. Maybe I should start one.)

  21. says

    All true, Matt. There were plenty of things that could have made great substories. I didn’t have a problem that they didn’t delve into them. (Perhaps that’s because I am no Marvel fan?) Nothing from the movie remains as making no sense whatsoever to me, and that’s a big plus.

  22. Matt says

    The after-credits scenes weren’t that much. They included Stryker being arrested for murdering the general, Wolverine drinking in a Japanese bar, and Deadpool coming back to life at the bottom of the ruins (he’s not dead).

  23. Sharmin says

    While I really enjoyed the previous three X-Men movies, I thought this one wasn’t as good. The characters weren’t well-developed, and the story tried to cover too much in a short time. One of my favorite parts of the other movies (and the shows) is the fact that there are multiple storylines (fighting for equal rights, fighting Magneto, the friendships between the characters, etc.). This movie seemed to lack that. I’m still a fan of the X-Men, though. I should read more of the comics this summer.

  24. Anonymous says

    Bjorn, here are two other things I had issues with:

    In the finale, the mutants who will become the first generation of students for Xavier’s School are freed by Wolverine. One might expect that the students would mention the grizzled, hairy rescuer with long metal claws in his hands, or that their psychic mentor might pick up on it. Cyclops is the only exception, as he was blind throughout that sequence. Yet when Wolverine reaches Xavier’s School in the first X-Men movie, he is a complete mystery to everybody.

    Logan’s girlfriend is supposedly killed by Sabretooth, however she later claims that she was given a dose of hydrochlorothiazide, which somehow made her momentarily ‘dead’. Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic, meaning it reduces fluid volume in the body by increasing the urinary output. This would not cause the desired effect at normal doses, and very high doses would either kill her or result in severe acute or permanent brain or kidney damage.

  25. Stogoe says

    I think there needs to be a distinction between ‘good’ movies and ‘fun’ movies. There can be overlap, but oftentimes they don’t. Dungeons and Dragons the Movie = Fun but horrible. La Vida e Bella = Good but not fun.

    Wolverine wasn’t unwatchable, but I thought Ghost Rider was better. Ghost Rider understood its role: Evel Knievel with a flaming skull. And because of that, it was awesome. It was fun but not good.

    Similarly, Wolverine’s role is to slice up a lot of bad people with metal claws. It succeeded at that.

    But yeah, last year’s comic book movies raised the bar, approaching the nexus of Fun and Good (depending on personal preferences, of course).

  26. says

    Anon (#33), yes I see what you mean with no one recalling Wolverine. Here’s a hypothesis: Xavier mindcontrolled everyone to forget Wolverine after they told Xavier everything that happened.

    And. . .

    The “dead” girlfriend was only told the wrong name of the drug, or she mispronounced it.

  27. Matt says

    Furthermore, why do two nearly indestructible men decide to go to war when their main priority is supposedly surviving outside of humanity? What are their motivations? Why does Wolverine’s real father decide to murder the other guy? They never explain any of this.

  28. says

    Somebody ought to write a ‘biology of super-heroes’ book and give X-Men an “F” as one of the worst, from the perspective of getting their science right.

    Are you volunteering for the job, Dr. Myers? We all know how much free time you have on your hands these days.

  29. cmflyer says

    It starts in 1845, with our hero as a sick kid. He and his brother hear a gunshot downstairs, they run down and see some guy dead on the floor (who?), and the young Wolverine kills the killer (who?) who is apparently his father (why?) and the two brothers run away (why?).

    This part was awful. Awful. Could have been a better movie if it stuck to the mid-nineteenth century. Mutants in the Northern Republican party during Reconstruction, fighting for equal rights. :)

    I actually forgot it was the movie for a second and thought it was yet another trailer after three minutes. Overall, my 13 year old and I enjoyed the movie. The war montage was effective, I thought. The laser-eye disembodied head cutting the cooling tower was awesome!

  30. atomjack says

    This is why I don’t go to the movies at all if I can help it. That and the flash-bang video/audio. I need quick-tinting shades and noise cancellation hearing protection to watch the pap that is released today. Catering to the lowest common denominator has no cachet. Yeah, call me old-fashioned, but the movies today suck, in general.

  31. scooter says


    Then he gets recruited by some guy, Stryker,

    Jeff Stryker????

    wrong thread, sorry

  32. Ryanbooker@gmail.com says

    I thought the start was the only bit with promise. Does everything need 10min of exposition?

    The war sequence is simply a backdrop to show their changing personalities over time. If you were alive from 1845 until the 1970s you’d have probably fought in all the major US wars too.

    If you pay attention to the War sequence, you notice that they started as brothers fighting side by side, but with each war Victor becomes slightly more beastly, they fight with increasing separation, and Jimmy shows increasing concern over his brothers actions. It was clear to me they they were depicting a growing rift between them. Nam was the breaking point.

    After that it’s pretty much all downhill. Terrible camera work, terrible effects (the claws were often obviously fake and CG, and what the hell was wrong with Xavier: CG or horrifying air brushing?), too many screaming at the sky scenes, lame dialogue (how many clichés!) and really lame supporting mutants. It just all felt off. Too nice. It should have been a very dark film and wasn’t. Even the experiment and how he lost his memory was lame. Other than the basic detail of what they did to him, it contradicted the flash backs from the original movies. Which were dark and gritty and disturbing, with the clear implication that he awoke not having a clue who he was, where he was, what happened, or why he had claws coming out of his hands.

  33. Ryan says

    Can you please change my name to Ryan instead of an email address? Silly auto completing got me. And delete this post I guess.

  34. Matt says

    Why would two brothers from Canada slip into the United States and bother with non-mutant struggles, considering their extended lives?

    I agree. The action and OK CGI got boring and repetitive.

  35. Tristanm says

    “It starts in 1845, with our hero as a sick kid.”

    Wait, what? My X-men geek knowledge isn’t exactly the best, but I could have sworn that Wolverine fought, as an adult, in World War 2, which means he couldn’t be a sick kid in 1945.

    Did the movie venture away from X-Men cannon? o.o

  36. Patricia, OM says

    Hugh Jackman naked…
    Hugh Jackman naked…
    Hugh Jackman naked…

    Oh sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!

  37. H.H. says

    Also, from what we could see they experienced horrible things in all wars, but Vietnam was a first of directly killing civilians.

    What? Hello, the A-bomb.

  38. Eclectic&Neurotic says

    I wonder why they didn’t just use the original story line from the comic books. It worked, it is what kept people like me buying overpriced comic books.

  39. Falyne says

    I had fun at the movie. Hugh Jackman was naked. Life is good.

    I guess, yeah, if you’re not already familiar with the character backgrounds and general motivations, it’d seem a bit light on exposition. A lot of things in the Victorian scenes in particular were mentioned very quickly. And, yeah, they don’t really explain the healing factor, and the thus-far-apparent immortality it confers.

    The only thing that really, really annoyed me was Gambit. Too little screen time, too metahuman (seriously, he’s supposed to be very very very good at card tricks, but not ACTUALLY telekinetic, like he seems to be here). Also, there’s the Rogue issue; she’s a young teenager in the movies that take place at least a decade in the future. So, uh, there needs to be a suspended-animation Gambitsicle made, stat, to be wrapped up with a bow on her 18th birthday. ^_^

  40. says

    #41 “Deadpool? The Merc with a Mouth? MUTED? How could they?”

    Indeed! That was the deciding factor in my not wasting money on this one. Much as I love Wolve this is a real disappointment.

  41. Matt W says

    Movie: “You’re not an animal, Wolverine, you’re human!”
    Me: *growl*
    Grildfriend: “Honey, stop being right, OK?”
    Me: *places brain in the neighboring seat and enjoys the rest of the movie*

  42. Kitty'sBitch says

    Okay, I get that it’s awful, but really…Hugh Jackman naked?
    I’m a fully straight male and even I want to see that.

    What’s happening to me? It’s the Brad Pitt effect all over again. Damn his rippling abs and firm buttocks!!

  43. crunch says

    I like it, I thought it was the best of all the X-men films. The dead guy on the floor was their nice stepfather. The guy who wolverine killed was their alcoholic, abusive real father. They ran away because Wolverine just murdered somebody and they are fighting in wars for centuries because they can live a long time and heal quickly, that was explained in the first X-men movie.

    Wolverine had a conscience the entire time, you can be a soldier without being immoral, his brother was trying to rape a civilian.

    The movie isn’t supposed to be scientifically accurate, most superhero movies aren’t, I don’t think a movie has to be scientifically correct to be enjoyable.

    Gambit kicked ass, I was disappointed when he wasn’t in the first movie, after all he is one of the main characters in the comics.

    I enjoyed it and it made sense to me.

  44. Anonymous says

    . And yes, previous wars hurt civilians too, but no war is famous for it like Vietnam (I am no historian).

    True, but not because it didn’t happen. WW2 was the bloodiest war for civilians on record last century. It was total war, and that included bombing civilian centers. There are still people clamoring for war crimes for fire bombing Dresden and, of course, Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

    The soldiers-killing-civilian angle is not going to played up in a “good war,” which is a long war, and which was decisively won in the face of some obvious evil. But the psychological cost of war, even without the atrocities, is high…

    I don’t know what literature or movies to recommend you (Flags of Our Fathers? Didn’t see it…) but Vietnam was not that much different from our other wars… just the perception was different. And the media was ubiquitous and less filtered. Anyone. Just some random mumbling.

  45. says

    You forgot to address the most important part:


    That’d make it more interesting, or maybe they should have done the Shi’ar Empire story arc instead.

  46. arachnophilia says

    however, i hear the video game is interesting. at least in regards to the fact that here, the cake is NOT a lie.

  47. 'Tis Himself says

    Bjørn Østman #21

    Also, from what we could see they experienced horrible things in all wars, but Vietnam was a first of directly killing civilians.

    Not even close. For example, there was the bombing of civilian targets during World War II:

    • The Blitz – the sustained bombing of Britain between September 1940 and May 1941 – 43,000 civilian deaths
    • Hamburg fire bombing aka Operation Gomorrah – 24 July to 3 August 1943 – 50,000 civilian deaths
    • Bombing of Berlin – 1943 to 1945 – 4,000 civilian deaths (this was considered a defeat for the RAF, who lost almost 4,000 killed or captured during the Berlin raids)
    • Bombing of Dresden – 13 to 15 February 1945 – civilian casualties estimated at between 24,000 to 40,000 killed
    • Fire bombing of Tokyo – a series of raids between February and July 1945 – a low estimate is 100,000 civilians killed, but probably two or three times that
    • Nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 110,000 dead on the days of the bombings, at least that many more by the end of 1945

    I am no historian

    No shit.

  48. says

    OK, I should have mentioned the Hugh Jackman naked thing. Although there was no full frontal!

    But that does bring up an interesting distinction: Jackman naked, but no female nudity at all. Hmmm. That’s unusual.

  49. Nasikabatrachus says

    “Matt, I agree the intro and war scenes were chaotic, but I don’t see anything illogical about them. And yes, previous wars hurt civilians too, but no war is famous for it like Vietnam (I am no historian). Also, from what we could see they experienced horrible things in all wars, but Vietnam was a first of directly killing civilians.”

    A few examples I know of where the direct killing or other infliction of suffering on civilians took place by those we americans usually think of as the “good guys”. These vary in scale but the barbarity is commensurate with the kind of things that occurred in vietnam:


    Various conflicts w/ & oppression of native americans (killing, starving, suffering–policy)
    The Philippine-American War (anti-guerrilla tactics included killing off whole villages)
    WWII: Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki (among other wholesale destruction of cities)


    um, most of its wars, probably
    The Boer War (rounding up Boer civilians in camps in order to coerce rebels into surrendering)
    Starvation of german civilians during WWI (policy)

    Now, I don’t know how the various scales compare with Vietnam; Vietnam probably dwarfs about 2/3 of those for the sheer time and number of people involved. But it seems to me the only really unique thing about Vietnam was the scale of popular resentment.

  50. skyotter says

    *nerd on*

    put me in the pool (heh) avoiding this movie ’cause of farking with Deadpool. for a REALLY good Wolverine-DP fix, check out the “Hulk vs.” animated video. gets both characters right — Wolvie’s a mean jerk, and the Merc is nucking futs — and it’s essentially the same Weapon X story. but with the Hulk. and i bet the after-credits DP scene is waaaay funnier, too

    all that said, i got my tix for Trek, tomorrow at 11pm. i’d brag more about seeing it first, but that’s Alaska time, so it’ll be Friday for everyone else anyway

    *nerd off*

  51. says

    Who gives a damn about this X-Men shit when we have a new Terminator movie coming out in a few week, which will still be entertaining even if the plot and acting end up being sub par. Mmmm…sexy robots and explosion.

  52. Venger says

    I think like a lot of comic movies they rely to much on the core audience knowing what is going on before they start watching, and forget that not everyone is going to have that information. I can follow many of the sequences because I already know how they are supposed to play out. It also makes the more obvious mistakes stand out.

  53. Benjamin Geiger says

    I think what made Vietnam different from WWII, perception wise, is the fact that the perceived killing occurred at a face-to-face level. There’s a huge difference between releasing stuff from a bomber from thousands of feet up and “LET’S DO THE VILLAGE! LET’S DO THE WHOLE FUCKING VILLAGE!”

  54. says

    Wolverine pissed-off my Nigerian friend with its depiction of Lagos. “For crying out loud! It’s Lagos not Somalia,” we (the entire theater) were informed over and over again.

  55. says

    so, based on the reviews I’ve read (should I bother seeing this?) EVERY SINGLE MARVEL MOVIE IS TERRIBLE. Honestly…I’ve seen all the other ones, and I kind of enjoyed the first Spiderman movie as simple escapism, but that’s it. Iron Man was just terrible dreck. Blah, blech, fooey.

  56. Benjamin Geiger says

    Let me clarify my prior comment. I don’t intend to say that there should be no moral difference between dropping a bomb on a civilian and shooting that civilian with a rifle.

    It is, however, easier for bystanders to overlook the human cost of war when all they see is the pilot’s eye view: bomb falls from plane, bomb hits target, fireball appears, target disappears. We don’t see the dead and wounded. We don’t see the grieving families. We don’t see that civilians are the ones dying.

    In Vietnam, the most notable civilian casualties (though possibly not the most common) were face to face. Some (a few) soldiers shot civilians, possibly knowingly, possibly thinking they were Viet Cong. Even though the number of casualties may have been fewer (I don’t have the numbers in front of me), the civilian casualties that did occur were more personal.

    That’s why Vietnam, in general, was more known for civilian deaths than WWII—with the exceptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  57. Alverant says

    I was very “ehhh” about the movie. It was sort of fun, but I’d only go see it again with friends (and so I can catch the Stan Lee cameo). I have to disagree with earlier posters about the war sequences. It didn’t show Wolverine getting a conscience, it shows Sabertooth loosing his and enjoying killing for the sake of killing. It started in Normandy when Sabertooth grabbed the big gun and looked a little too happy shooting dead Nazis. Again in Veitnam he was too eager to kill. Soldiers are suppose to kill their enemies, but I don’t think they should act so damn overeager (especially when you kill your own superior officer).

    What hampered this movie the most was the fact it was a prequel. It had to try and fit in with the earlier movies. It did about as good of a job as Star Wars 1-3 but without the epic scope.

  58. Meee says


    “It starts in 1845, with our hero as a sick kid. He and his brother hear a gunshot downstairs, they run down and see some guy dead on the floor (who?)”

    That was his dad. They spent a few minutes at the start of the film with his dad comforting the sick boy in bed. Then he ran downstairs and got shot. That was fairly obvious.

    “and the young Wolverine kills the killer (who?)”

    The dad of the other kid. Again made pretty clear.

    “who is apparently his father (why?)”

    He had an affair with Wolvie’s mom. Again, made fairly obvious. There’s a good bit of dialogue with the gun-guy ranting about how the kid needs to know or whatever.

    “and the two brothers run away (why?)”

    Yeah. I guess seeing your dad shot dead and then killing a guy with bone claws that randomly sprouted from your wrists is something that he should’ve dealt with in a calm, collected way. Of course he ran off! His dad was just killed, he stabbed a guy with crazy new bone claws, and his mom looked disgustted at him!

    “Next thing we see is a montage as these two spend the next century (how?)”

    They’re mutants with regenerative powers. They live a long time and survive most injuries.

    “fighting in war after war (why? Was there nothing better to do?)”

    They’re animalistic mutants, especially sabertooth. They’re great at fighting and sabertooth, at least, enjoys it, so he signs up in wars for the fun of it. And he drags along his little brother whereever he goes so Wolverine’s in it too.

    “and then suddenly, somewhere in Viet Nam, Wolverine gets a conscience (after over a hundred years of slaughter?)”

    Sabertooth has gradually gone from being a hardcore soldier killing because it’s necessary to being a guy who revels in slaughter and enjoys it. Wolverine finally snaps when Sabertooth is clearly going to violently rape an innocent civilian.

    The film had it’s problems, admittedly. But criticising basic plot points that were made quite clear on the film just makes me think you weren’t watching it. Seriously, were you paying attention?

    I actually enjoyed the film. It wasn’t great but hey, it was enjoyable. Turn your brain off, watch some ridiculously over the top action scenes, and enjoy. It’s not a cerebral film.

  59. 'Tis Himself says

    There’s a huge difference between releasing stuff from a bomber from thousands of feet up and “LET’S DO THE VILLAGE! LET’S DO THE WHOLE FUCKING VILLAGE!”

    During World War II Poland lost 2,360,000 deaths, very few of which were from aerial bombing. These deaths were caused by the German army charging through half of Poland in 1939 (and the Soviets taking the other half), then the Germans taking the Soviet half of Poland in 1940, then the Soviets heading west in 1944 and 1945. Note: These deaths do not include the approximately three million Polish Jews and other Poles killed in concentration camps.

    The Soviet Union suffered an estimated 11,400,000 civilian deaths during World War II. Fewer than 5% died in aerial bombing.

    However, the greatest number of civilian deaths in World War II occurred in China. Over 16 million Chinese civilians died from 1935 to 1945.

    Altogether, about 42 million civilians died during World War II. Many if not most of these were killed by soldiers on the ground.

    Source: John Ellis. World War II: A Statistical Survey. New York: Facts on File 1993

  60. tanya says

    hmm…no need for accurate mutations when you have a NAKED Hugh Jackman and shall i say – finally a movie with Gambit in it.

    If you have a wife/girlfriend/boyfriend – take them – they will bless you. HMM- nakked Hugh Jackman.

  61. Patricia, OM says

    Brad Pitt, ha! I fell for the whole nude Brad Pitt 12′ ass at the theater bit. It was so exciting! My girlfriend & I went – and then there it was – the 12′ bare Brad ass.

    I leaned over to my friend and in a loud voice said,

    Hell, the old mans got a better ASS than that.

    It brought down the house. Comments started flying, “Hey baby your ass is…”. Careful guys.

  62. Merdog says

    I was never into the comic superhero thing in the first place. Yeah, I’m a wet blanket. I just can’t help but wonder how the latest mutant/star trek/ superman/ whatever the franchise of the hour movie is; how does this not get tiresome, and redundant after awhile?

  63. Benjamin Geiger says

    ‘Tis Himself:

    How many of those were killed by US forces? I think that’s the issue: Rampant killing of civilians by soldiers on the ground was something that the “bad guy” did, and we were better than that. (Kinda like torture nowadays.) It’s a US-centric explanation, but it’s a US-centric movie.

    The civilians killed by Soviet forces are something of a grey area, as the Soviets, as I recall, were ‘allies’ during WWII (in the ‘the enemy of my enemy is a useful asset’ sense). But still, massacring civilians was something “commies” did.

  64. Jabfish says

    I was warned in advance that they messed up Deadpool, but I was not at all prepared for him to have swords pop out of his arms. Swords? Really? Out of his arms? Because that’s practical. He was awesome in the intro, but I’d have been much happier with the extra ending if the damn swords weren’t still in his arms. And laser eyes? Fun special effects, but hardcore suckage for the Merc with the Mouth.

  65. Fly Defenestrated says

    I understand that comic book movies have a tendency to take artistic license with the laws of physics. However, the film editor(s) didn’t even attempt to employ speed up trickery for Wade Wilson when he was deflecting gun fire with the katana (e.g. like a climatic Chuck Norris roundhouse kick in Walker, Texas Ranger). At least ILM created control surfaces on Iron Man’s suit, regardless of how ineffectual they would be.

  66. Snoof says

    A friend of mine is of the opinion that Deadpool in the movie was actually the canon Deadpool Merc With A Mouth that we all know and love[D[D[D[Dtolerate, deliberately messing with the fans. That’s right, people: Deadpool trolled YOU.

    Either that, or They Just Didn’t Care.

  67. says

    I thought the only fun part of the movie was the opening montage, everything else was crap.

    Was anybody else waiting for the WWII Captain America crossover where him and Wolvie free a child Magneto from a concentration camp?

  68. Feynmaniac says

    But that does bring up an interesting distinction: Jackman naked, but no female nudity at all. Hmmm. That’s unusual.

    In the interest of gender equality they must show Storm (Halle Berry) nude in the next X-Men film!

    Actually, that might not even get me to see the next X-Men film. I think the problem with the X-Men movies is that (especially in the last two) they want to throw in as many characters from the comics as possible. There just isn’t enough time in a 2 hour movie to properly introduce them. It would be much better to get only 1 or 2 new mutants and use the movie to explore them and some existing characters. What we get is dozens of mutants making 30 second cameos. The general audience isn’t impressed and the fans get disappointed.

  69. windy says

    The civilians killed by Soviet forces are something of a grey area, as the Soviets, as I recall, were ‘allies’ during WWII (in the ‘the enemy of my enemy is a useful asset’ sense).

    Allies, not ‘allies’. In the sense of “let’s sign papers and make this official”…

  70. says

    Haven’t seen the film, but have been reading the Wolverine comics for some years now – the plot looks like they just grabbed up a graphic novel out of a bucket (Wolvie’s just way overexposed these days, no pun intended). So if you’re not a fan, or haven’t been following the angst-driven journey of Weapon X over the years, all this seems derivative and/or plucked out of thin air.
    Logan was brought into the Canadian Weapon X program, flensed of his basic memories, & infused w/admantium. So for decades he’s gotten these agonizing flashes/glimpses of his past life. So Marvel’s been milking this till the cow’s dry (kinda like the Spiderman origin story – for a while there, almost EVERY OTHER ISSUE had the full story in it).
    & the films take all sorts of liberties, this is no surprise. Not only w/story lines, but physics/biology/[insert branch of science here].
    And BTW, it’s not Weapon X as in letter, but X as in Roman numeral – so the hint is that there’s more to come.

  71. 'Tis Himself says

    Other than by aerial bombing, the US didn’t kill that many civilians during World War II.

    The civilians killed by Soviet forces are something of a grey area, as the Soviets, as I recall, were ‘allies’ during WWII (in the ‘the enemy of my enemy is a useful asset’ sense).

    Churchill, whose anti-communist credentials were impeccable, was once asked about how he could support Stalin during the war.* He replied, “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

    *Britain supplied 5,800 planes, 4,292 tanks, 12 minesweepers, and a battleship (ex-HMS Royal Sovereign) to the Soviets. Canada supplied 1,188 tanks, 842 armored cars, nearly one million artillery shells, and 208,000 tons of wheat and flour.

  72. scooter says

    Michio Kaku just wrote a book about the physics of sci-fi, here’s a video where he talks about it:


    I was 7 yrs old when Marvel was first getting off the ground and became an immediate fan. I had 1 thru 50 of every Marvel series, Spiderman was my fave.

    However, I found the X-men to be sort of nebulous and waundering and pointless, nothing was adequately explained and the whole ‘mutant’ concept just never gelled.

    I should point out, I was seven years old when I decided X-men were illogical and bad sci fi.

    46 years later, I feel exactly the same way

  73. catta says

    Can’t say I agree. Or that I’d rank it anywhere near as low, esp. in comparison with the other big nerdfests this year.
    Watchmen was unbearably sanctimonious and largely sanctimonious for the sake of it, with nothing to say but “aren’t humans tragically imperfect”. Which would be fine if the movie hadn’t also tried so very hard not to be entertaining.
    Can’t swear Star Trek will fail too, but judging by all I’ve heard so far and the fact that the director of Lost got his grubby little hands on it… I’m not sure I even want to know *shudder*.

    Wolverine, on the other hand, well, everything Meee said @#73. Most entertaining of the lot, I suspect (yeah, guessing about ST again). In part, it works so well because it’s borrowing so much from familiar werewolf stories, and those have been around for a loooong time and are easy to digest for most of us. To near-quote XKCD: “Suspension of Disbelief – it works, bitches”.

    And before anyone complains about that being what religious people do: no. Suspension of Disbelief is to make your entertainment better, not your whole life. If you have trouble either dealing with reality or leaving reality behind for fun, you’re missing out. I recommend rereading “Where the Wild Things Are”. You see, the night Max wore his wolf suit …

  74. naughty savage says

    Plot? Characterizations? Substance? Sorry, I don’t remember most of the film because I was too busy admiring Jackman’s exquisite form. For the sequel, I hope they decide to save money on wardrobe, and just provide us with two hours of naked Wolverine, running around in the woods. This would make me very, very happy.

  75. says

    ‘Tis Himself (#61), those examples you bring up of civilians killed in other wars are all by bombing. By “directly” I meant “there’s a civilian, go over and kill her now” kind if killing. What did you think I meant by “directly”?

    But, either way, while no shit no historian, I am aware that tons of civilians have been killed in other wars. What I am not aware of (but looking forward to be educated about) are cases where soldiers of the Union or of the allied forces (I and II) went in and killed whole civilian villages (just because those were the sides Logan and Victor fought on).

  76. Marie the Bookwyrm says

    Nudity and bacon. MMMMMMMMM.

    (What? There was no bacon in the movie? Damn.)

  77. Wowbagger, OM says

    My brief synopsis is that they could have made a brilliant film but only ended up making an okay one. A bit like Star Wars, but without being anywhere near as wretched in the execution.

    I had a few issues, none the least with Stryker ‘deciding’ he was going to take out Logan’s memories with the adamantium bullets. It’s been a while since I did cognitive neuroscience, but I recall enough to know that firing random potshots into someone’s brain isn’t necessarily going to affect his memory.

    They should have found a better way to explain his amnesia. Oh, And it didn’t mesh with the earlier explanation that the bullets would kill him.

    Plus, as someone who hasn’t read the comics but who has seen the films, I was totally confused when I read (after watching the movie) that Victor/Sabretooth was meant to have been the same character played by Tyler Mane in X-Men 1. I think they should have gone for more film continuity and had Victor be a completely different chacter.

    Plus the fact he started being called Logan without any explanation – though that felt more like it would be because of a cut scene than general writer incompetence.

  78. Rorschach says

    Havent seen it,not going to.The whole thing is just totally commercialized,how many more movies are there going to be?And was never into X-Men to start with.

  79. Rowan says

    I enjoyed mightily the scenery of Hugh Jackman clothed, semi-clothed, naked and sweaty. mmmm… that was a fine, fine sight.

    The movie on the other hand had so many inconsistencies I was wincing at times. Seriously, how it is possible to stab someone with a katana and not have any blood on the blade? Why did Victor and James stop aging? Did their mutant cellular structure decide that once they reached their thirties that they were done? Why? Why did they age at all?

    Why were two Canadians involved in what were primarily American war conflicts?

    How did Stryker walk until his shoes were shredded? Wouldn’t he have starved to death before reaching such a point if he hadn’t stopped to eat? What about bathroom breaks? If he had walked long enough for the shoes to shred wouldn’t his clothes been more deteriorated? Wouldn’t he have had more than 5:00 shadow for beard growth?

    If the motorcycle had been in the barn for years shouldn’t it have been coated in dust? Everything else in there was.

    Why didn’t James say anything about the broken water lines in the bathroom? He punctured them. So, did the bathroom flood the house while they ate breakfast?

    Yeah, yeah. This was a popcorn flick. I should stop questioning it.

  80. marty says

    Canonically, Sabretooth may be Logan’s DAD rather than his brother, but the movies are not considered to have to follow canon, and in any case there have been a lot of parallel Wolverine origins (and parallel universe Wolverines). (I’m surprised they never made the connection and made a mutant sheep who turns into a man, called Woolverine. But there you go)

    However, the whole Weapon X thing went from being a Canadian thing into being a US thing, even though the base was meant to be in Canada in the other XMen movies.

    The couple of old people who brought him in after he escapes (naked) from the program.. that whole scene builds up these characters, who give Logan stuff that used to belong to their “son”, who is mentioned as if off camera or dead, and I was thinking “oh, their son will turn out to be someone” … when the two old people get sniped by Agent Zero and the whole barn blown up. Err.. what?

    I think they were meant to reflect in the comic where Logan is taken in by some people after his BRAIN IS WIPED and he gets adamantine bones, and so lives with them for a time. I even said to my wife “Oh look, its Martha Kent” when their car rolled up.

    She said “shut up”.

  81. eric says

    Vietnam more famous for killing civilians?

    Um, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden? And that’s just a list of things the “good guys” did.

    Not to mention the London blitz.

    Do we even know how many innocents died in the American Civil War?

    All wars kill lots of innocent civilians. It’s the story of war. All wars are the same in that sense. If it were just a bunch of people who really liked killing other people who felt the same way, then maybe it wouldn’t be a problem. Of course that’s a problem, too.

    But it’s not just a bunch of war-weary veterans duking it out in some field somewhere. War crimes occur in every war on all sides of every war. I sometimes wonder at the absurdity of the term “war crime” because of the inevitability of that happening.

    Supposedly the issue is that these crimes should be tolerated for some greater good, “just war theory” and somesuch.

    That’s the main tension of telling people that a war is unjust. How do you convince someone who has been told that what they’ve just done and seen is for some greater good when on the face of it, they’ve done or seen something horrible? How do you tell a parent that their child has died for something they truly believed in, that what they believed was a delusion or based on a lie?

    Nobody wants to be told that they’ve killed someone for no good reason, especially someone who is young and has to deal with that memory for another 50 years or so. Even American veterans from WWII dealt with that horror, my uncle being one. And that was a supposedly good war.

    And really, stopping the Nazis was a good thing, I don’t know how to argue otherwise and I’d worry if I came up with a convincing argument for that. But getting to that point of having to go to war to stop them was evidence of a massive, universally cruel failure. But even Sun Tsu understood that war was evidence of failure.

    Anyway, I can’t imagine that after 100 years of fighting in wars that anyone could be amiable. I suppose if that person is terribly mentally ill…

    Wolverine, in the comics, wasn’t always the most stable person. He wasn’t always amiable, either, IIRC.

    Sorry for the rant…

  82. baryogenesis says

    Haven’t read thru all the posts, but just wanted to say something obvious about Ebert’s reviews. It’s like humour or music or painting….the arts are mostly about personal taste/emotions. The fact that Ebert has come out as a humanist means nada. Doesn’t mean we have to respect his film reviews.

  83. ScienceCat says

    Intelligent Designer said:
    “So how many people here believe X-Men are real and how many believe in Spider Man?”

    I believe that Hugh Jackman is real and that finding him nice to look at (sweaty, shirtless and/or pantsless) while playing a decidedly non-meterosexual action hero is an evolved and logical response in many heterosexual female humans. I am not aware if the opinions of heterosexual female Gulo gulo are similar.

    I do not believe that the X-Men are real, but have sufficient evidence to conclude that internet trolls are ;)

  84. Gorogh says

    Basically, I’m with Stogoe (#34) in that the standards for judging movie quality should not be universally applied (much more the case in music, by the way, which imho is almost entirely a matter of taste). When I go see a movie with no (or already low) expectations, all I require for it is to be entertaining. Of course, if the plot is onedimensional, character depiction implausible, character development non-existent, lack of attractive actors or even lack of special effects, some movies are harder to enjoy than others. Anyway, I would not be too harsh on Wolverine, I was having some fun.

    Deadpool sucked, though: While he obviously had some outdated kind of computer interface – come on, Stryker had to TYPE the commands? WTF -, his “mouthlessness” makes sooo little sense. Technically, because there might be missions where the ability to express language is advantageous, or more generally, the need to communicate may arise; socially, because people tend to get somewhat uneasy with freaks with a mouth grown shut around.

    And Gambit sucked, too, though I don’t really know why. Didn’t like the actor, maybe, or the smugness. Did anyone understand why he came running on the rooftop, jumping down dramatically to separate Sabretooth and Wolverine fighting, despite Wolverine knocking him unconscious on the floor?

    Another interesting question would be concerned with why Wolverine seemed to completely lose his memory after being shot, while other brain functions such as language or his self-confidence (“I get by on my own”, or whatever he said) remained intact. Obviously, language is much less distributed than memory, but what about self-efficacy or temperament? I should probably do some research on it, it just came to my mind.

  85. Bruce Gorton says

    He survives that long due to his “healing” factor essentially allowing him to repair the effects of aging at an accelerated rate. Within the mythology – it is well established and okay.

    What gets me is, Wolverine in the wars.

    Wolverine, in the comics is a Canadian. WTF is he doing fighting in the USA’s civil war? Maybe it was in a comic somewhere along the line, and sure some Canadians did fight in the civil war, but Canada itself was officially neutral, and if your central character is a Canadian, fighting in wars in which Canada is neutral, you need to explain it.

    And Sabretooth. Sabretooth is supposed to be a giant of a man who towers over Wolverine – not about the same height without the adamantium bone structure. The size difference is part of what balances him up against Wolverine’s claws in a fight.

    Then you have Deadpool. Deadpool is supposed to be a “run at the mouth” comedic character (who wears Squirrel Girl underwear) that annoys the piss out of everybody around him because he just doesn’t shut up.

    So the movie has his origin story including them sewing his mouth shut. Character. Derailment.

    In a movie in dire need of someone, anyone to lighten the mood between the random massacres, doing this is entirely inexcusable.


  86. Gorogh says

    btw, around minute 20 or so I realized Wolverine’s German voice actor is the same as the one who dubbed the janitor in Scrubs, which brought up some hilarious associations in some dialogues.

  87. ZK says

    ‘Tis Himself @61

    Quite right too sir, but even your examples were pretty recent.

    E.g. during Iceni sacking of Colchester, London, and St. Albans in about 60CE tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered.

    I’m sure it’d be easy to find even earlier examples.


  88. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood says

    Vietnam more famous for killing civilians?

    Speaking as someone familiar with the history, the one thing notable about Vietnam is that it was televised.

    Oh, the media have reported on other wars. In the Philippines in the early 20th century, American soldiers reputedly slaughtered thousands of civilians and coerced many more into concentration camps where cholera claimed them. Depending on what figures you read American soldiers directly or indirectly slew a quarter million Filipino civilians. Some claims put it as high as a million and there are some Filipinos who wish it to be classified a genocide.

    The atrocities were well-reported in papers, leading to an anti-war movement in the US with such notables as William Jennings Bryan (who was in many ways a progressive, though we associate him with the ‘wrong side’ in the Scopes trial) and Mark Twain, who caustically suggested that the Stars and Stripes should be replaced with the Skull and Crossbones.

    However, this tainted moment in America’s bright history was reported through newspaper media, and such pictures that existed were often illustrations drawn by artists thousands of miles from the action. It was also, it must be noted, a colonial war at a time when American attitudes to colonies were more muddled.

    Vietnam lingers in the memory because it came after America repudiated colonial ambitions. We remember it because unlike the Philippines, America did not prevail but was exhausted into abandoning the south. It also lingers because the veterans still live with us. But still, the most striking thing about Vietnam was that it was the first TV war. The TV and graphic photojournalism of that era still astonishes: the napalmed girl, the head-shot execution, the battles in the Saigon embassy.

    The power of the photo and moving image cannot be underestimated. I recently discussed with someone why the Nazi concentration camps were not bombed in 1944 despite the concrete evidence for them emerging in the middle of that year. My belief is that it was because there were no photos, no newsreels in 1944. Those came a year later and have framed our revulsion of the Holocaust ever since.

    Without pictures we are distanced from atrocity and disaster. Think of our own reactions to crisis. Our emotional and intellectual response is often weak or ill-formed until we see an image. Famine in Ethiopia in the ’80s did not result in a mass outpouring of aid assistance until BBC television reports highlighted the catastrophe. What followed was Live Aid.

    So powerful is the image that the Bush presidency conspired to restrict pictures of slain servicemen or their flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq. Their lesson from Vietnam was to at all costs limit the TV and photo press. That the surest way to stifle the story was to deny it the fuel provided by raw imagery.

  89. Katkinkate says

    Posted by: August @ 13 “…It had everything I could want in a movie.
    Hugh Jackman naked in bed dripping with sweat
    Hugh Jackman naked jumping from a tub dripping with water
    Hugh Jackman naked jumping off a waterfall
    Hugh Jackman naked running through a feild
    Hugh Jackman naked in a barn (Farmhand fanatsies anyone?) …”

    Well, you’ve convinced me! :()

  90. Hannah says

    I enjoyed it overall, it was a good evening out.

    However, as an out-and-out Gambit geek, I was dissapointed with what they did to him >> I was dissapointed right from the trailers, actually – they got his eyes the wrong colour! It was such a small thing, contacts anyone???

    And he was too old – how the hell is he meant to get it on with Rogue in a decade or so’s time, when she’s not even hit puberty yet in the Wolverine movie? Gambit is literally only a couple years older than her, canon wise.

    Though they did use some of his cooler moves, so that was ok.

    Also, my other half is a Deadpool fan – we are both completely refusing to believe that was actually him >>

    The cinema we were at only played two of the endings – so we didn’t get to see the fabled ‘Deadpool ending’.

  91. Traffic Demon says

    During the boxing match with the Blob, I was totally disappointed that we didn’t get a gratuitous “Nothing moves the Blob!” shoutout.

  92. says

    So, PZ liked Spiderman and Iron Man more? For what? Their accurate portrayal of science as compared to the X-Men? Phphph, I say! Phphph!

    I think PZ’s just torqued off because they didn’t have any squid in this movie and he’s just fishing for reasons to justify his hatred. Mind you, that wouldn’t explain why he was able to tolerate those other movies…

  93. MadScientist says

    I just see it as good mindless entertainment and try not to give my buddies a lecture on how the science is all wrong.

    I just read Ebert’s review and I’m afraid I’ll have to skip Wolverine and rent the DVD instead. The comic book character had the potential to be one of the most interesting characters – just a super-fast healing human until the big evil government puts in some nasty switchblades. If it’s all hack-and-slash with a rubber-stamp character, I think I’d rather be out hacking and slashing with the weed whacker. Iron Man was a surprise though; I thought that would be awful but it was way better than average (though I wouldn’t say ‘great’) – even with all the ACME physics.

  94. says

    Rumors are that downloaders are up in arms that someone maliciously released a version of the movie before a logical script had been completed.

  95. says

    Well, if people want a more “realistic” portrayl of the Marvel Universe, they could try here…for example, see what happens to the “Hulk”…

    In the meantime, for those with no lives at all, the this is where the Marvel people list the movie as taking place…

  96. says

    Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (#107) wrote: “In the Philippines in the early 20th century, American soldiers reputedly slaughtered thousands of civilians…. Mark Twain, who caustically suggested that the Stars and Stripes should be replaced with the Skull and Crossbones. … Vietnam lingers in the memory because it came after America repudiated colonial ambitions.

    Here’s Mark Twain, writing in the New York Herald newspaper, Oct. 15, 1900: “I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific …Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself? … I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. … And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” – more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

  97. Hawkeye says

    PZ – I have in my hand the book you might be looking for. It is called “The Science of the X-Men” It claims to be “the official guide to the scientific reality of the mutant world” from “biomechanics to genetics” and “Professor X to Wolverine”. It was published in 2000 and authored by Link Yaco and Karen Haber.

  98. 'Tis Himself says

    I picked the aerial bombing of civilians during World War II for several reasons:

    1. The statement was made “Vietnam was a first of directly killing civilians.” I wanted to show that thousands of civilians were killed in a previous war.

    2. Civilians were specifically targeted during the war.

    3. Americans and British were doing most of the killing.

    For those who might think that other wars were kinder to civilians, the fighting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War depopulated what was an extremely fertile region. Sherman’s March from Chattanooga to the Sea resulted in civilian casualties, primarily from the burning of Atlanta. I’m unable to find any solid numbers for killed compared to “turned into refugees” but civilians were killed during these two campaigns.

    Today in Belgium one can find cemeteries with signs on them “fusille par les Allemands” (shot by the Germans). This happened during both World Wars I and II. The burning of Louvain, including its priceless medieval library, was not an Allied propaganda myth. Some 1,500 Belgians were summarily shot during the Louvain atrocity.

    I’m getting tired of this topic. Go back to discussing a movie I’ll probably never see.

  99. Bomias says

    Thank god we saw Wolverine in a theater that serves beer. Two pitchers of Dos Equis made it slightly less silly and boring, but only slightly.

  100. CaptainKendrick says

    The worse thing about this movie is that it wasn’t the movie I thought it would be:

    I was very busy with work last week, so when my fiance asked me if I wanted to go see it with her friends from work, I said “OK”, and let them all make the arrangements, and I basically tagged along.

    Well, I guess I got all confused, because we’re sitting there during the previews, and I said something along the lines of “we should go see Wolverine next,” and they all looked at me and asked “What are you talking about? We’re about to see Wolverine.”

    I stared back at them, and confused, I said, “I thought we were seeing the new Star Trek!” They all laughed at me.

    Right up to the very beginning of Wolverine, I thought I was there to see Star Trek (which wasn’t even out yet). I was really pissed. I was really pumped up to see Star Trek.

    Going to see Star Trek tomorrow night.

    I think.

    It better not turn out to be Terminator 4.

  101. says

    I got to “Hugh Jackman naked” and promptly forgot whatever else was said about this movie. I can’t wait to see it!

  102. CS says

    Read on Yahoo yesterday that a Deadpool movie has been green lighted.

    Gambit is one of the coolest mutants in the Marvel universe, he deserved better than that movie. Wolverine deserved better too.

    The leaked version of the Wolverine movie is better. There are cuts to 3D computer animation (wide shots of airplanes flying, the fight between Wolverine/Sabertooth and Weapon XI, Gamit jumping through the falling debris). That was more fun watch than the actual lifeless movie.

  103. Stefan Krzywicki says

    Early on in the comments Matt asked if you were looking forward to the Star Trek reboot. I’ve been a fan of Star Trek for nigh on 30 years. I’ve seen the new movie 3 times now and it is fantastic. Pitch perfect. The science isn’t always great, but as a Star Trek movie, it is just right. The actors manage to capture the characters without trying to imitate the original actors. Go see it, I’ve brought friends who are Trek fans and friends who haven’t watched much Trek, friends who are my age and friends who are in their 20s. Everyone has loved it and plans to see it again.

  104. frog says

    Oh Lord! You were expecting character development? What, are you 13 years old?

    They blew up lots of shit with athletic stunts. If you were expecting anything more — I think you’re a bit confused… And if you seriously consider “Spiderman” a psychological exploration, I’ve got to wonder about the depth of your literacy…

  105. SteveM says

    Re Vietnam:

    Yes, the statement “Vietnam was the first war to directly kill civilians” is factually incorrect as well as being extremely simplistic. Likewise, though, presenting counter-examples of Dresden, Hiroshima, the Blitz, etc from WWII are equally simplistic. It seems to me that the significance of Vietnam of killing civilians was not so much that citizens were victims, but the effect it had on the soldiers. They were commanded to fight an enemy that did not wear uniforms, were indistinguishable from non-combatants for objectives that were vague and morally questionable. That is what distinguishes Vietnam (to me) from other wars, not the dead and whether they were combatants or “collateral”, but the soldiers who returned home as almost more a victim of the war than the dead. The soldiers of previous wars were heroes even though may have had to do “bad” things, it was for a “good cause”. In general, Vietnam vets returned home percieved as villians who reveled in the depravity of the war. It was not who was killed that distinguishes Vietname, but the effect it had on those who fought.

  106. SueinNM says

    I know I won’t get any straight answers on this, most of the commenters being male, but are there any men, or women, out there disturbed by the miniskirts on female officers in the new STAR TREK? Haven’t we left that kind of crap behind? What the hell are they thinking, putting women in costumes deliberately made to showcase bodies on a military vessel? Really practical when you’re in a fight. Ooops, dear, your panties are showing.

    I’ve been reading/watching SF for 35 years, and I just don’t understand what Abrams is thinking, or why no one is the least bit bothered by this except me and my husband. What might have been acceptable in the 60’s is just ridiculous now, “reboot” or not. Women haven’t been wearing skirts in SF shows, movies, or books for decades.

  107. --E says

    I’m sorry, PZ, but the very first paragraph of your review (with all the questions) shows that you completely missed the point of what was going on in that scene. Of course nothing else made sense after that!

    I also am guessing that you never saw (or didn’t remember details from) X2. Nor read the comic books. Not that a person should be required to know anything about a movie before they see it–I think a movie should stand on its own–but clearly in this case it would make a tremendous difference.

    (Not that I thought the movie was great. The phrase I would use is “thin”; I wanted more depth and fewer characters.)

    Also, you are biologically unaligned to appreciate the best part of the movie, which was nekkid Hugh Jackman.

  108. Nominal Egg says

    are there any men, or women, out there disturbed by the miniskirts on female officers in the new STAR TREK? Haven’t we left that kind of crap behind? What the hell are they thinking, putting women in costumes deliberately made to showcase bodies on a military vessel?

    I’m sure it’s just an homage to the original series. Roddenberry was a pig, but Trekkies demand continuity.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, maybe tonight, but I’m positive the miniskirt thing wasn’t Abrams’ idea.

  109. Pareidolius says

    Lotsa ‘splosions. Check. Lotsa nekkid Huge Ackman. Check. Lotsa mutants. Check. Okay, count me in . . . on BluRay.

  110. Stefan Krzywicki says

    Nominal Egg

    Nice to see that even here on Science Blogs there are still commenters who talk out of their asses.

  111. Sonic Screwdriver says

    Oh, you guys fighting over the ‘Why Vietnam made wolvie grow a conscience thing. It’s cause Vietnam is known for it’s civilian violence by the general population and that this is a….(wait for it)….

    of the Scifi, action/adventure genera no less.

    Now who wants to help me make a Forrest Gump like film where Wolvie takes us through poignant bits of history, eh?


  112. TS says

    Also not sure why one of my fellow Canadians fought in Vietnam, the American civil war, etc….

  113. Menyambal says

    My X-Men experience was a summer I spent living in a basement full of some-one else’s old comic books, so I may be out of date, but . . ..

    I always thought that Logan’s *sole* mutation was his healing power, which led to him being very strong. And, of course, it let him live a long time, which got him in WWI at least, as a very tough soldier. Stryker found out about Logan’s healing power, and surgically modified him to make a mutant-killer/weapon. Stryker installed the adamantium skeleton reinforcements AND the claws, which were mechanical devices, not part of Logan’s mutation. The trauma of the surgeries, which would have killed anybody else a hundred times over, most likely caused Wolverine’s amnesia. Or so I pieced it out.

    As for the current movie, I just saw a trailer that featured some idiot waving around two swords to deflect machine-gun bullets, complete with impossible sparks, then jumping at the machine-gunners, complete with a totally-gratuitous 360-degree twirl while in the air.

    There’s been some good stuff in the X-Men movies, but not much. I think I’ll wait for Hugh Jackman’s be-dewed body to get to the 2-dollar theatre.

  114. says

    There is a book called The Science of Superheros, which I think might be what you’re talking about. However, it will probably make you grumpy, since (if I remember correctly) it identifies Wolverine as being the most biologically realistic of all the X-Men.

  115. H. says

    Bjorn, some reading for you:


    Civilians have been routinely massacred, raped and tortured in wars throughout history. How far back to you want to go? The Crusaders weren’t above putting entire civilian populations to the sword. Neither were the Romans. Keep going back into history and you’ll find endless bloody violence on the defenceless by militias.

  116. adobedragon says

    Lotsa explosions, and nekkid Hugh Jackman. My kind of movie.

    But then, no one’s ever accused me of having good taste in movies.

  117. skyotter says

    i’d been wondering if they addressed the miniskirt issue in the new movie but #125 makes it sound like they do not

    (in TNG, it’s shown that the skirt or “skant” is an *optional* variant that’s available to both genders)

  118. deang says

    Sounds like one of those films that uses Pentagon advisers during the writing and editing process, to promote the bloodthirstiness necessary to get Americans to participate in the US military’s never-ending wars.

  119. John Marley says

    To all those complaining about Deadpool’s mouth being sewn shut:

    This was set up from the beginning.

    “Do you ever stop talking?” “Not when I’m awake, no”

    “Wade, if it weren’t for that mouth, you’d be the perfect soldier.”

    “Stryker finally found a way to shut you up.”

    So, character derailment? Absolutely, but so what? Adaptation decay happens in all comicbook movies. You have to expect it.

  120. Ciaphas says

    Deadpool fans; don’t worry so much. His mouth comes unstuck after the credits. It’s easy to miss though.

  121. James Earl says

    Bjørn and others that dont think it was a bit weird with the world war I and II being all-okay for wolfie….

    Lets see now, during World War II, United States murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent men woman and children when theu dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. That was GOOD? That was not Evil? As a note, the average american have NO REMORSE for the evil thing they did nor show any compassion, the people who Did it was PROUD of murdering does people.

    During WWII Dresden also comes to mind, you probably never knew about this, one of the most famous atrocities done by the U.S and British forces, they bombed Dresden killing thousands of thousands of innocent people and destroying tne infrastructure for NO REASON AT ALL, it was all over… They just did it because… Very loving there.. I can see why Wolfie would fight that war..

    Thats just a hint, as you obviously do not know anything about history, would you like to hear the loving things we did during World War I? Us loving people.. The “good ones” as you seem to indicate?

    Bjørn? Others? Well……


  122. Menyambal says


    Dresden was one of many cities bombed during WWII, but the key word is “bombed”. Many Japanese cities were fire-bombed, also, killing more civilians than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but they were not seen until AFTER the war ended. In all those cases, the bombs were dropped from airplanes, with a few crewmen delivering death to thousands of people. Sad, cruel, criminal, even, but distant. (The American military even set up replica Japanese homes to test-burn, but told reporters that they were factories.) The killing of civilian was conducted at a distance, with comparatively few Allied people informed or involved for every enemy-country’s civilian killed. And the civilians killed were considered guilty of supporting the war or the enemy government.

    Logan, as a foot soldier in WWII, might have walked into Dresden, maybe, but he probably never saw a civilian die at Allied hands. And as a line grunt, he probably never heard of all the cities that went down in flames–his information was limited.

    In Vietnam, on the other hand, most of the fighting took place in the country that America was trying to liberate. Any civilians killed were not citizens of an enemy country. There was no possible excuse for civilians dying. They were supposed to be helped, not hurt.

    Civilians killed in Vietnam were mostly killed up close and personal, by a grunt with a gun. Yes, there were bombings, but there were not many large cities to bomb, even in North Vietnam. Any bombings in South Vietnam were seen afterwards, up close and personal, DURING the war. The foot soldiers shot people, saw people who had been bombed, and saw it all on the news they watched every night.

    And the people at home saw the news. And the news was influenced by enemy propaganda. And the people at home communicated with the soldiers. And the soldiers went home more often than during WWII.

    From many a soldier’s point of view, Vietnam was fundamentally different from WWII. For foot soldiers, it was far, far different.

    Logan, the poor bastard, probably was sent into many a village and told to kill them all. Who better to go? His skills didn’t make him a bomber pilot in WWII, but in Vietnam he was a hooch-fighter extraordinaire.

  123. James Earl says

    Meny, you are not seriously excusing firebombing, nuclear bombing and general bombing of innocent people with “few people know about it”?

    If you are an american, YOU are responsible, directly or indirectly to what your nation does, do not give excuses.

    If you are German, YOU are responsible, directly or indirectly to what your nation and its people does.

    The only possible scenario I can imagine is when You as a person specifically DISTANCE YOURSELF from your murderous nation, none have done this in this case, WWII is a perfect example, because of american isolation and poor education they thought (the average guy on the street) they did good. IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXUSE.

    Or the innocent killings in the middle east and total destruction of infrastructure is okay? Eh?

    I can agree that yes, Wolverine would and in this scenario, probably would be ordered for some really nasty things, but this guy has lived through several wars seeing and DOING horrific things to others, its nothing new to him, its the winner who writes the history, its the winner that is the “good guy” by default, by their own belief.. But this does not MAKE the winner good, objective history shows, objectively, what the truth really is.

    And I suspect you know this very well. The movie scenario make no sense, hi did not become a killing machine in Vietnamn, he WAS a killing machine and ended up there because HE MADE THAT CHOICE, that he SUDDENLY would realize what a murderous bastard he really is, well, gosh, that makes it all make sense….

    Or? Do you not, seriously, agree?

  124. Menyambal says

    No, I wasn’t excusing a bloody thing. I was talking about Logan’s view of the wars, not about the morality of the wars.

    I said that America excused the bombing of civilians by holding them accountable for their government. Which was very odd in the case of the Japanese people and soldiers. And there, I said my country did wrong. OK?

    Logan himself didn’t kill civilians in WWII–if he did, they were probably German, and probably accidental and few. He did kill civilians in Vietnam, and they were the people that he was there to liberate, and he was ordered to kill them, he could not avoid killing them, and they were many.

    In WWII, he was a fighting machine, fighting German soldiers in the field. In Vietnam, he was a killing machine, killing Vietnamese people in their homes.

    I assume. I haven’t yet seen the movie.

  125. James Earl says

    Meny, I wouldn’t know what he did in First and Second world war (or the American revolution which I think is included as well), they do not show us, they show them running around killing people.

    But using his CHARACTER as basis, we would assume he would be killing anything in his way, and then it jumps to Vietnamn and the movie starts and he murders innocent people… That hardly happened SUDDENLY, did it? He had been doing the same the last 150 years or so. Sure, I haven’t read the books or comics but I use what i’ve SEEN of him in the movie potrayel of the character.

    More I can not do. Vietnamn was horrible, but that does not change the OTHER horrible things done in other wars, you need to see it objectively. And yes, good for you that you manage to admit that you did wrong, its good for you to accept truth, see it as a Christian accepting reality that there is no gods.

    My native country has done, historically evil evil things, but I do not give excuses I EMBRACE history and learn why and how and what was ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Pretending about your own history makes you a ignorant dangerous person, because then you may do it again. Remember that.

    Either way, Wolfie did not, once again, do anything new.Both He and His nrother are unstable murderous, we see this over and over again, they killed other soldiers and was to be executed for the murder of other friendly soldiers… They got excused because they where mutants and Stryker wanted them.. This shows what they do, murder people, and thye got awy with it this time, and then he changed his mind, in the middle of Vietnamn, raping and murdering innocent vietnamese.


  126. Kagehi says

    Yeah. Wasn’t at all like our introduction to Magneto, for example, where… Oh, wait.. No, it was “longer” than the back story for Magneto. lol

    Seriously though, I got the sense that the “older brother” knew who the real father was, maybe he spent part of his life with him, so learned some of the violence from the man, but somehow a “step father” ended up in the picture, and most of Wolverine’s life was living with him, so he never learned to embrace the violence. All the wars where them trying to survive, mostly being on the “right side” in a sense, and thus any death of civilians was just part of the fight, and perhaps thus not something that bugged him. But, you get flashes, even prior to Nam, that he started to see his brother losing it, becoming more aggressive, less interested in which “side” he was on, than in just killing people. Eventually, he couldn’t take that any more. But, yeah, its a tad muddled at the beginning, and you kind of have to be paying attention to the slight shift in mood from Wolverine, even before his finally walking off and declaring it enough.

  127. Dingiee says

    Love the movie. Since i didn’t read the comic or whatever, this movie totally rocked as a action flick. The events in the movie should be easy to understand using logic. i mean common.

  128. Ian says

    If you don’t like the movie, that’s fine, but just say you don’t like it. Don’t try to pretend that your ingoing expectations were not met because the problem was with the movie and not with your preconception or first impressions!

    “He and his brother hear a gunshot downstairs, they run down and see some guy dead on the floor (who?),”

    It was obvious the dead guy was Wolverine’s father (as he believed). There was no mystery here since we’d already seen the two together in the bedroom prior to the shooting.

    ” and the young Wolverine kills the killer (who?)”

    His actual father, as was quite clear from the action at that point!

    ” who is apparently his father (why?)

    Do you really need a lecture about the birds and the bees? Obviously Wolverine’s mother had been dallying either during the marriage or before it. It’s not relevant why. These things happen.

    ” and the two brothers run away (why?).”

    Because Wolverine killed a guy and panicked. Because he lost the one he perceived to be his father and killed the one who actually was his father. Because his mother had betrayed him. Because he was manipulated by his brother at a n extremely emotional time. Do you need any more reasons?

    “Next thing we see is a montage as these two spend the next century (how?)”

    You were shown how – not everything, but a significant portion.

    ” fighting in war after war (why? Was there nothing better to do?),”

    That was what they did well, given their attributes. They also had a sense of right and wrong which Wolverine’s brother didn’t share anywhere as deeply as Wolverine. He loved to kill. Wolverine did it from a sense of duty.

    “and then suddenly, somewhere in Viet Nam, Wolverine gets a conscience (after over a hundred years of slaughter?).”

    You missed the point. The sequence of wars wasn’t to show that they were bloodthirsty (although Wolverine’s brother was), it was to show time passing in a very convenient way.

    He got a conscience when he realized he wasn’t fighitng any more for national security or for the rectitude of the fight; He was fighting a bad war for the wrong reasons and it finally hit him. That’s why he quit.

    “Then he gets recruited by some guy, Stryker, running a super-secret combat team of mutants. Stryker has some convoluted plan for creating a super-mutant with multiple powers because his son was a mutant who killed his wife (I know…it made absolutely no sense).”

    Yes it did. Stryker was bitter about mutants but smart enough to know that it takes a thief to catch a thief. His plan was to out-horse-power the mutants by creating a super mutant who could bring them down. Simple really.

    “Shouldn’t Wolverine be a bit more, you know, intense?”

    I don’t know how you’d get him significantly more intense than he was.

    “Skip this one.”

    Why? Because you demand it? Why not trust people to make up their own mind?

    “Oh, and by the way, when you’ve got a pointless plot”

    Not pointless. You just didn’t get it and evidently were not willing to try, judged by your comments as noted above.

    “…the biological absurdity of the whole X-Men franchise is free to shine through, which doesn’t help. The whole mangling of the idea of mutation is annoying, and then to give the characters super-powers that are nonsensically impossible from the point of view of either their physics or their biology simply grates.’

    So mutation and evolution is an absurdity, but a guy gets bitten by a spider and overnight miraculously transforms into a bulked-up, hyper-sensitive, extremely flexible candidate for superhero-ship is just fine?

    I’d hate for the creationists to get hold of that quote from you, PZ!