The X-Men: Movies vs Comics (Part 4)
Now it’s time for terrible CGI claws and an even worse script! Yes, it’s the ‘Wolverine’ solo films, the runt of the X-Men litter. We’ll be skipping over characters already covered in other films, including Wolverine himself because what we’ve already said still applies. Up until now we’ve been going one article to each movie, but we’re bundling the Wolverine solo adventures together because we want to get this over with. Band-aid technique!
Played by Liev Schreiber
The Comic: (Taken from Part 1) Sabretooth entered the Marvel universe as an enemy for Iron Fist before hooking up with the Marauders while they were partaking in the Mutant Massacre storyline. Sabretooth is quickly established as a savage psychopath with incredible strength, razor sharp claws and rapid healing, immediately one of the most dangerous enemies the X-Men have had to face. He later becomes a major player in Wolverine’s backstory, them being partners in the Weapon X project and later becoming arch-enemies. Whenever they meet they tear each other to pieces, with Sabretooth making a point of ruining Wolverine’s life on his birthday. It sounds silly, but it involves doing things like killing Wolverine’s girlfriend.
The Movie: This version of Victor Creed doesn’t bring a lot of personality to the table but it’s a damn sight more than the Sabretooth in the first movie. He now has a backstory that makes him Wolverine’s brother who wants to kill him for reasons that aren’t clear. The two spend the movie running at each other and taking a few swipes before walking away from an explosion. Sabretooth loses his hulking and hunched physique in favour of something more human. He’s also obtained extendable claws on each finger. Why? Who knows. Victor also turns on his masters at the end of the film. Why? Who knows.
JOHN WRAITH aka KESTREL
Played by will.i.am
The Comic: Kestrel used to run with Wolverine, Sabretooth, Silver Fox and others as a member of the Weapon X program. For the most part people thought his skill set was only based around the use of explosives as he kept his mutant power secret even from his team. He would only use his ability to teleport when it was unavoidable even though it was extremely powerful. He could cover seemingly any distance without expending any energy or noticeable effects like Nightcrawler’s explosion of brimstone. His power also brought him massively slowed down ageing.
The Movie: John Wraith, who doesn’t go by Kestrel in the movie, has no such qualms about using his power and teleports around like it ain’t a thing. He’s also lost his fondness of using shaped explosive charges in favour of guns and fists. Like many characters in this film he doesn’t have much personality to speak of, being just another stepping stone to the next plot point. He briefly teleports around Sabretooth delivering bored looking punches until Sabretooth Mortal Kombats him out of the story.
Played by Kevin Durand
The Comics: It’s hard to know if Fred Dukes has ever been a good person. He was introduced very early in the X-Men run as a member of a freakshow, and he used his ability incredible durability and personal field of gravity to commit crimes. He was recruited into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants by Magneto and ran with the same team under different names. Dukes takes delight in his mutant enhanced mass and role as a villain, being largely irredeemable.
The Movie: It’s not clear exactly how his powers work in the film. He’s some form of indestructible as he catches a tank shell with little bother. His massive weight and height isn’t related to his mutation but rather an ‘eating disorder’, and he doesn’t have the gravity field that makes him impossible to move. After Wolverine punches him a few times he goes down and that’s all she wrote.
Played by Taylor Kitsch
The Comic: If there is one X-Men character that stands out as the coolest, most loved mutant of the 90s is would be Wolverine. Second place would be Gambit. The Cajan thief would cross paths with Storm during one of her stints as a thief and would join up with the X-Men not long after. His mysterious past includes a rivalry between the New Orleans Thieves (or ‘tieves’) and Assassins, an arranged marriage and lots of betrayal. With the X-Men he easily held his ground with the more experienced fighters thanks to his abilities to charge objects with explosive kinetic energy alongside enhanced agility. He is also incredibly charming so he can talk his way out of most situations. Then there’s his tragic romance with Rogue, which burns with passion but will always been doomed. Everything adds up to a super cool character who can wear a ridiculous bright pink one-piece and still be awesome.
The Movie: He’s pretty on the mark during his short appearance in the movie. Without Rogue to round out his story he’s little more than a guest appearance. His powers are all over the shop with agility becoming the power to defy gravity (a common secondary mutation in this film) and charged object causing explosions without actually blowing up themselves. On the whole Taylor Kitsch captures the easy charm of the character – it’s a shame it’s on such a crap movie. That’s the story with almost every role he’s ever chosen. He has the worst luck.
Played by Dominic Monaghan
The Comic: Chris Bradley first appeared as the star of a stand alone story in ‘X-Men Unlimited’, a mostly anthology series that ran tangental to the main line of comics in the 1990s. He was a young mutant with the ability to generate and control electricity, and he had contracted the legacy virus which makes powers harder to control. He spent a few months at the Xavier school to control his powers before returning to his normal life. He later New Warriors as Bolt where he was mentored by Maverick, who kills him in a case of mistaken identity.
The Movie: Well, say goodbye to all that backstory and character. It seems that in this movie characters lose their personality and/or gain anti-gravity powers. His powers have been reduced down to turning on electronic devices even when they’re not connected to electricity and he becomes a red shirt early on in the film.
Played by Lynn Collins
The Comic: Out of all the characters who appear in this film it’s Silver Fox who is the most integral to Logan’s back story. Having broken away from government agencies he tried to settle down and live in the wilderness with Silver Fox, a member of the Blackfoot Indian Tribal Confederacy. They had a cabin in the woods and everything was idyllic up until Sabretooth brutally murdered her on Logan’s birthday, seemingly for fun. She later resurfaced as an assassin with the standard Weapon X age suppression, rapid healing and the ability to mind control anyone she touches. These days she run with terrorist organisation Hydra.
The Movie: The biggest failing of the movie version is the lack of emotional engagement the viewer is permitted to have with Silver Fox. She turns up in one scene and we’re expected to be cut up (sorry) when she gets killed, only for her to return later having been blackmailed into co-operating with Weapon X. The basic description of the character is the same on paper but she gets dropped into the movie so suddenly and done away with just as quickly it’s impossible for her to carry the same weight the character should.
Played by Daniel Henney
The Comics: During the 90s David North aka Maverick was a regular featuring in X-Men comics, providing further history on everyone’s favourite clawed mutant. Yet another member of Weapon X, the German born mutant had the ability to absorb and fire kinetic blasts, had an advanced healing factor and could counter-act the healing ability of others. Like Sabretooth and Kestrel, Maverick ran with Wolverine in Weapon X many decades before. When their team disbanded North somehow lost his powers and relied on his skills as a sharpshooter to earn a crust as a top level assassin.
The Movie: I think the implication here is that Agent Zero has super gun powers. He shoots and leap through the air and does some more fancy gun work. He also has the same anti-gravity powers that half the characters in the movie has. Although Maverick/Agent X is always masked in the comics he never has a mask in the movie and is noticeably not German. Although his ethnicity is not mentioned in the film he is played by an actor of Korean background. Agent Zero doesn’t have much personality in the movie but…he never had much in the comics either.
Played by Ryan Reynolds
The Comics: Right…you’ve been waiting for this. Deadpool as he appears in this film is not only the single most poorly adapted character in the entire franchise but it all but killed the chances of a stand alone film. You may recognise this has something that would turn out to be bloody awesome when they got around to it. Deadpool first appeared in the X-Force line as a loudmouthed mercenary armed with katana swords and guns and a cool red and black suit who was generally awesome. He was downright two dimensional and it would be a number of years before new writers experimenting with the character and made him A) aware of being in a comic and able to break the fourth wall and B) batshit insane.
Since then Deadpool has become one of the most unique and popular characters in the Marvel universe. His ability to talk to narrators and audiences made gave him a subversive sense of humour and his unpredictable behaviour made him fun to read. His powers allowed him to heal quickly and he is a master marksman and swordsman.
The Movie: So it’s almost passable at the start. Wade Wilson’s backstory has been entirely dropped so he’s not disfigured and he’s never had cancer. He does have his swords and skill with said swords, but lost his guns. Along with the guns he’s lost his distinctive costume. The red and black colour scheme is intact but without the mask it’s kinda pointless. While the characters often comment on Wade talking too much he really doesn’t. It seems rude that they keep bringing it up every time he speaks.
The real bullshit begins with Deadpool resurfaces at the end of the movie. Firstly, they sewed his mouth shut removing the characters most distinctive trait. Then they came up with some barmy plot about him having other mutant powers somehow added to him, so now he has retractable katana blades sticking out of his arms, Cyclops’s eye beams and Kestrel’s teleportation. It’s implied that the name ‘Deadpool’ is the result of him being the ‘pool’ of mutant powers. Everything about this character is a massive deviation from the character portrayed in the comics and it’s hard to imagine how they thought there wouldn’t be blowback from the fans.
Played by Rila Fukushima
The Comics: During Wolverine’s many adventures in Japan he has crossed paths with a carefree ronin named Yukio. Yukio has an extremely high level of intelligence and physical ability with her preferred method of attack being throwing stars. Initially under the employ of Shingen Yashida and being tasked to hunt Wolverine she switched sides after falling in love with her target. The two respect each others abilities and will often work together whenever Logan in in Japan.
The Movie: At her essence the character Yukio is accurate to the comic version with the outward details having been changed. She works for Shingen and does bring Wolverine to Japan, and she’s a capable fighter who expresses some feelings towards Logan. She appears to be younger in the film and sports long pink hair as opposed to the short black style she usually favours. In the movie she’s also a mutant with the ability to foresee people’s death.
Played by Hiroyuki Sanada
The Comics: The Yashida clan has roots stretching back hundreds of years and many feel that Shingen’s actions to turn the clan into a crime syndicate is a disgrace to his ancestors. Logan was in love with his daughter, Mariko, but she was forced into marriage with a rival crime boss. After a series of events that brought Wolverine into the middle of Shingen’s manipulations, Wolverine was forced to fight a duel against Shingen using bokken. Shingen had poisoned Logan prior to their fight. Much of this was Shingen’s attempts to disgrace Logan in the eyes of Mariko, but during their second encounter Logan killed Shingen.
The Movie: Shingen plays a very similar role in the movie adaptation by creating conflict between himself and Mariko and Logan, even if the details are different. At this point in the story Mariko and Logan have only just met, so it’s not based around Shingen getting between them. Instead Shingen is the business rival to his daughter Mariko and seeks to remove her to in order to obtain his father’s corporation. Despite being sufficient in Kendo he is defeated by Logan and Yukio.
Played by Tao Okamato
The Comics: Daughter of Shingen and cousin to former X-Men Sunfire, Mariko was introduced to the X-Men and their readers while the team were making their way back from the Savage Land and found themselves in Japan. It was during this first meeting that Mariko and Wolverine formed a strong attraction to each other. They would travel back and forth between the USA and Japan to build their relationship. In spite of this mutual infatuation Mariko marries the leader of a Yakuza gang to maintain positive relationships between their clans. When Wolverine discovers she was forced into this marriage by her father and is physical abuse at the hands of her new husband he travels to Japan and gets involved in the situation. Logan and Mariko were due to be married but Mastermind prevented this from happening, and not long after Mariko was poisoned by a rival crime lord. Ultimately Wolverine kills Mariko to spare her suffering.
The Movie: The character of Mariko retains the same basic template in The Wolverine. Mariko is the daughter of Shingen is lined up to take over the family business upon the passing of her grandfather. Unlike the comics Mariko isn’t immediately taken with Logan but does warm up to him over the course of the story. A large part of the 2nd act involves Wolverine protecting Mariko from assassins. At the end of the movie Mariko has become the CEO of the company but in spite of their new found romantic feelings her and Logan part ways.
KENUICHIO HARADA AND SILVER SAMURAI
Played by Will Yun Lee
The Comic: Kenuichio Harada is the cousin of Mariko Yashida. He’s a mutant who works as a mercenary, criminal and bodyguard and has crossed paths with many parts of the Marvel Universe including the New Mutants and Daredevil. His power allows him to channel power into his katana sword, and he earned the name ‘Silver Samurai’ due to the silver samurai armour he wears in combat. On occasion the Silver Samurai would fight for the sides of good, teaming up with Wolverine and eventually becoming the leader of new Japanese super hero team Big Hero 6. Yes, with Baymax and Hiro.
The Movie: What’s different with this entry is that Harada and Silver Samurai are two very seperate characters. Harada is a ninja who seeks to protect Mariko from the many assassins who pursue her throughout the film, using his immense skill as an archer to provide support in battles. The Silver Samurai initially appears to be a robot equipped with energized adamantium swords. During his fight with Wolverine the Samurai is revealed to Yashida, who faked his death, piloting the exo-suit to extend his life. In what must’ve been a real kick in the teeth for Harada his character is killed by the Silver Samurai. Neither of them reflect the single character they were based on, it’s an odd decision.
Played by Svetlana Khodchenkova
The Comics: Viper started her criminal career as a member of Hydra (HAIL HYDRA!) when she was taken in by the organisation as one of a dozen girls. Her first appearance in comics came with her named Madam Hydra and kicking the snot out of Captain America. She took the name Viper after breaking free from Hydra and would routinely fight SHIELD, the Avengers, New Mutants and Spider-Man, at one point hijacking a helicarrier and attempting to crash it into Congress. She fought alongside Serpent Squad, Silver Samurai and then Serpent Society. Viper is a prolific and dangerous super-villain and has Olympic level strength and agility, expertise swordsmanship and marksmanship and would employ poisoned bladed weapons, including claws in combat. Her training also left her immune to most toxins.
The Movie: Viper, or Dr. Green as she’s better known in the film, takes her snake theme a bit more literally. She’s a mutant this time around, being immune to poisons, capable of spitting venom and shedding her skin. Viper is the doctor to Yashida and seeks to find a way to extend his life. This includes poisoning Logan to remove his healing factor. She plans of extracting this ability from Logan during the finale and participates in the final battle, where she is killed by Yukio.
Next – time to go back in time and create an alternate timeline with First Class!