A funny thing happened to Wolverine on his way to box office supremacy last weekend: His Canadian origins became a punchline for reviewers.
X-men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman as the Canadian mutant hero, survived mediocre reviews to gross more than $85 million (U.S.) and critics seemed to find the brooding character’s Canuck background irresistible.
“A grouchy, sensitive loner with retractable metal claws and apparently unretractable facial hair, Wolverine brooded and growled through the first three X-Men pictures,” writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times. “And now X-Men Origins: Wolverine … helps explain just what makes this guy so intriguing and unusual. He’s Canadian.”
Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt writes: “Six years later, Logan (Jackman) is a lumberjack in a remote Canadian forest, though the film never clarifies whether becoming Canadian represents another mutation.”
Grady Hendrix’s take on Slate.com, subtitled “How a ridiculous Canadian mutant conquered the world,” examines the character’s origins as a “mostly Canadian caricature.” But he manages a compliment for our homegrown hero. “Like all wildly successful figures in American entertainment, Wolverine is a Canadian.”
Initially many fanboys worried that Wolverine’s Canadian background would be left out of the American-made films. So how does Wolverine fare in terms of Canadian-ness? Probably the most definitive point is when Col. William Stryker attempts to lure him back into a violent secret strike force, saying, “Your country needs you.” Wolverine turns him down, responding: “I’m Canadian.”
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