The Wolverine Crash Course: 5 Comic-Book Facts You Need To Know
4. The Silver Samurai is … different.
Most Marvel superheroes have one signature nemesis. Spider-Man has The Green Goblin. Captain America has the Red Skull. And Wolverine has the Silver Samurai … who appears in The Wolverine despite the fact he isn’t in the pages of the Claremont-Miller books. (Samurai does appear in Uncanny X-Men books that continue the Logan-Mariko plot, so it’s fair game for Mangold to draw on him as a character. Also, he’s Wolverine’s nemesis, and fans of the character likely have wanted to see Silver Samurai on screen in some form.)
However, there are major changes made to Silver Samurai – despite the fact that the building blocks to his origin are all right there in Mangold’s story. Major. Changes. Because I’m not willing to dive into spoilers, I’ll just say that you DO get to see the Samurai in The Wolverine, but the changes they make to the iconic antagonist might frustrate rabid Wolverine fans … especially when you note all of the components that are right at Mangold’s fingertips, ready to be made into a proper, perfect Silver Samurai origin story.
5. Meet Viper! What is she doing here?
Here’s where things start falling off the rails. Because the Silver Samurai once worked as the bodyguard for the mutant Viper, Mangold forces a new version of the character into his film. She doesn’t belong in this Wolverine story, and barely fits into the movie. The original Viper was a member of HYDRA, an antagonist of The Avengers, and a one-time member of the Hellfire Club. As a character, she has deep Marvel roots, but including her here is wildly unnecessary, and a distraction from the themes and conflicts inherent to Claremont and Miller’s books. Maybe she’ll appeal to movie audiences who need to see freaky mutants doing strange things in X-Men movies. To me, she was a burden that damaged the impact of The Wolverine, as a whole.
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