X2 debate: Is Wolverine a murderer? (SPOILERS!)

I liked X2, but a few things about it bugged me. The most interesting among them was Wolverine’s much-applauded “berserker rage” scene. Did anyone else find it disturbing (I mean, as disturbing as an absurd super-hero fantasy flick can be) that Logan more or less did a “Waco” on those soldiers? Think about it: jack-booted federal agents attacking a compound under orders from a trigger-happy authority are attacked and killed in what those inside the compound view as self-defense. Except that when the guys at Waco got shot to pieces, everyone was horrified; when Wolverine hacks them to pieces, everyone cheers. And yeah, I know Stryker himself was evil, and the soldiers could have been just as rotten as he was (but note they weren’t there to kill anyone), and Logan didn’t really know what exactly was going on, but still . . . it was a case of one of the “good guys” slaughtering agents of the federal government who were working under the authority of the President of the United States. I submit that, were a similar thing to happen in the real world – which it did – most people would sympathize with the soldiers.

Of course, it’s also unclear exactly who those soldiers were. Maybe if we were given more information about Stryker’s group, it would have been more clear that they were true “bad guys” and not just U.S. agents possibly oblivious to the sinister nature of their mission.

And even if you take it as a given that the goons deserved what they got for picking on the X-Men, the movie still sort of contradicts itself. Remember the part where Pyro attacks the cops? That scene is presented as foreshadowing of his eventual “turn to the dark side.” Thus we are supposed to consider Pyro a “bad mutant” for doing a very similar thing to what our hero Logan did the night before: using deadly force on uniformed government agents/police.

I’ve read several threads on X2 and unless I missed something nobody has brought this up, but I think it’s an interesting point. Any thoughts? :dubious:

The soldiers were shooting kids (albeit with darts, but still), i feel no sympathy for their deaths. They failed to show a warrant.

They soldiers were basically in secret rebellion against the authority of the US government. They had already shredded the Constitution and seemingly owed all their loyalty to Stryker. Logan probably went overboard, but he’s a big protective Papa Bear at heart.

This is in fact, the one time I think Logan did something completely boneheaded. He freaked when all the cops started showing up, but had he stayed cool the parents would have straigtened things out (and sent Junior to his room for a very long time). Probably the most idotic thing he did was pointing his claws at the cop. That is not a smart thing. The cops were just doing their job.

Pyro, however, started fighting back and didn’t care whom he hurt. The only reason the cops survived is because they weren’t as flammable as the cars, they were bright enough to duck and cover, and the superhero convention state sthat it takes a lot to kill police. :open_mouth:


It wasn’t my fault. Blame the professor and the other X-men. They told me to “babysit the kids” and “guard the mansion.” :smiley:

I was disturbed when Wolverine killed the soldiers. I can see him slashing at them, perhaps injuring them, etc., but when he basically slammed that guy up against the wall and put is claws through his ribcage, I was a bit taken aback. Not very comics-codesey, was it? :dubious:

But, then, Wolverine’s equipment doesn’t much lend itself to subdual damage . . . And these were soldiers . . .

Nonetheless, I was a disturbed by it, and I was a bit disappointed when it wasn’t mentioned again. This is going to be a movie for kids, right? And much of the focus is in teaching young mutants to deal with their (sometimes deadly) abilities. Shouldn’t there be at least some twinges of conscience about killing people, even in self defense?

Oh my god.

I have to go be by myself for a few minutes.

It IS overly violent. But that’s what wolverines background is like. The behaviour is slowly worked out of him with long association with the XMen and Prof. X. At least thats how it was in the comics. He was a totally amoral with respect to killing when he first joins up , but later learns to control himself. I seem to remember several times later on when he tells bad guys that “not long ago you would be dead now.” Or words to that effect.
I figure they’ll do something along those lines in the movies as the character grows.

As for killing the soldiers, I was under the impression that these soldeirs were black ops. At least stryker kept going on and on about that. So that means that these guys were NOT working under govt. orders. And since its perfectly legal to kill someone breaking into your home if you feel your own life is threatened (and lets not forget that we have guys running around with guns here. No one is going to stop and check what those guns are firing), I think what he did was technically legal.


As to the OP, the whole point to the character is he’s violent and angry. The movie wasn’t G-rated. You were fairly warned.

In terms of comic book characters, Wolverine is the sexiest around and his animal anger and violence and brutality add to that sexiness. He was protecting those kids at all costs and killing the bad guys.

Very very hot.

I was rather disturbed by it, too: These guys are just following orders. They most likely have no way of knowing that their orders are illegal, and they are, in fact, taking care to not kill any of the children.

But if you put yourself in Wolverine’s shoes, it was entirely justified. Picture yourself sitting around a house, looking after a bunch of kids, when suddenly a bunch of very well-armed goons break in and start shooting at everyone in sight. Your options are pretty limited here. Now, if you have good, effective means at your disposal for dealing with the intruders in a non-lethal manner, yeah, you should try to do so. If the Professor had been home, for instance, he could (and probably would) have just frozen all of the soldiers without harming them. But Wolverine doesn’t have that option. His first priority is to protect the kids, and he does that the only way he can.

The fact that there is this debate is pretty much at the heart of the Wolverine character, IMO. He frequently finds himself on that line, his nature is violent and aggresive, and he must actually fight to keep that under control. But when his rage unleashed, justifiably so, in this case, he may stil go to far because iit is hard for him to control it. This is the very complex nature of Wolverine.

I cheered in that scene. It’s not because my bloodlust was so satiated that I had to applaud - I was cheering because someone in a movie finally started killing. I am so goddamn sick of Sci Fi movies where every bad guy has to be accounted for / attended to / saved. The very fact that this movie was willing to ignore all the pressure behind that morality was quite a relief.

I was very surprised when Wolverine gakked that first soldier. I went into X2 expecting a sort of GIJoeish “Huge, violent battles where no one gets really hurt” sort of thing, pretty much like the first movie. This one was way more intense and distrubingly violent. Especially when Magneto kills the guard by sucking all the iron out of his blood stream. Nasty, nasty way to die, although the character certainly deserved it.

At any rate, I think Wolverine’s actions were entirely appropriate. The mutants know that their lives are on the razor’s edge; at any moment, the normals might start up a bunch of pograms to get rid of the “mutant problem.” With that hanging over my head, if a bunch of soldiers suddenly show up and start shooting people like me, I’m taking off as many heads as I can. It’s a kill or be killed situation. And despite the fact that the soldiers were using darts, they were still (perhaps unwittingly) part of a larger plan to kill all the mutants on the planet. Yeah, Wolverine didn’t know about the plan yet, but it wasn’t hard to intuit that something really nasty was going down.

FWIW, I didn’t interpret Pyro opening fire (heh) on the cops as foreshadowing of him going evil. I’d have done the same thing, under the circumstances.

I felt bad for the soldiers, but you can’t really blame Wolverine for their deaths; you can blame Stryker. Same deal with Jason.

Um . . . you kind of missed my point there. I wasn’t disturbed by the fact that Wolverine killed people in the film, I was questioning the heroism of his killing THESE particular people in THIS particular situation. Had these guys been, say, Mr. Sinister’s Marauders, I would have been rooting for Logan to make Julienne fries out of ‘em too. But that wasn’t the case.

But remember, Stryker asked permission from the President before proceeding with the mission. That’s sounds a whole lot like they were operating under government orders to me; unless I missed something, they even obeyed the President’s request not to kill anyone.

Exactly. It’s an illustration of the central reason X2 didn’t impress me as much as X-Men. In the first film there was a clear difference between the morality of Xavier’s side and that of Magneto. Xavier’s less-violent approach (let’s face it, we can’t really call it non-violent) is the polar opposite of Magneto’s “get-them-before-they-get-you” doctrine. It’s always been a central theme of the X-Men stories. Yet, until the conclusion of X2 we don’t see a strong distinction between the two sides: Logan slaughters the soldiers with his claws, and later Magneto blows ‘em up real good.

In fact, the whole idea of the X-Men’s cooperation with Magneto came off as too automatic. There should have been SOME reservation expressed about joining up with a known terrorist, the very antithesis of Xavier’s philosophy (not to mention a guy who’s tried to kill them all). It’s only at the end, when Mags goes bananas and tries to kill every human on the planet, that any real distinction is made between the two sides.

And the fact that some audience members reacted as such is exactly why the implications of Logan’s actions should not have been ignored. Have we fans learned nothing from the Professor? :rolleyes:

What I find disturbing is the OP’s correlation between this scene and the incident at Waco. Although there’s a lot more to it than should be discussed here, troops went into Waco because they were essentially starting a militia, had a huge store of (illegal) weapons, and were being charged with child molestation, amongst other things. The soldiers sent in there weren’t going in to gun everyone down, they were going in to protect people and stop a horrible situation. The fact things got way out of hand is horrible, and the end results is worse, but the soldiers going in to the Waco compound should not in any way be compared to the troops invading the X-Mansioin. We were upset with their deaths because they were killed trying to put an end to something that was morally wrong and harmful to a lot of people (including children).

The troops in X-2 were going in, maybe without the intention to kill the children, but definitely to put them into a life of servitude, which many would consider just as bad, if not worse. They weren’t just blindly following orders, either. I’m pretty sure they were briefed that they were going in to apprehend children, along with the occassional “chaparone”, and they were all aware that many of them possessed highly deadly abilities. That’s what makes these people “bad guys.” They weren’t lied to and told “We’re going in to stop a meth lab, so expect some opposition.” They knew what they were there for and what to expect, and they knew to some extent what the future held for the kids once they were captured (and it wasn’t a free trip to Disney World).

Wolverine is not a murderer in this sense. A murderer kills for no reason, and often for the enjoyment of it. He’s a soldier, he was protecting the children from a potentially leathel threat, and he was doing what he was trained to do. I’m pretty sure anyone in his situation would have done the same. As stated earlier, if someone bursts into your house with machine guns blazing, you don’t check to see what they’re shooting before you decide to fight back. It’s the same situation in any action movie. Anytime the good guy shoots up a bunch of guys working for the gangster or evil villain, he could be shooting someone with a family who’s really a decent guy just hired to watch the door and is only shooting because someone’s firing at them. Doesn’t make him a murderer.

Amen! Wolverine is dead sexy, and I think it was great that the movie didn’t pull punches. I’m sick and tired of everyone, bad guys included, being just a little bruised by the end of a movie.

And as far as Stryker’s soldiers knew, they were going in because they believed Xavier was “essentially starting a militia” and “had a huge store of (illegal) weapons” (I’m sure they considered mutant powers as such, not to mention the Blackbird jet). So in response to this they “weren’t going in to gun everyone down, they were going in to protect people and stop a horrible situation.”

See? :smiley:

And since you were “disturbed” by my points, I should add that I hope you realize I’m sort of playing Devil’s Advocate here. I’m not directly equating the morality of the real-life ATF with the morality of Stryker’s goons – I’m just saying that the same logic could be used to justify, or condemn, both cases.

There was no question in my mind that some audience members would react in exactly this fashion. Means nothing. This is a fun fantasy movie. I watched plenty of “bad people getting killed” cartoons and movies when I was a kid, and it didn’t turn me into a raving psychopath. Where is your thread decrying the implications of the actions of Freddy Krueger? :rolleyes: