The wolverine is a small, fierce animal that’s able to kill prey larger than itself, so it’s no wonder that the Marvel Comics and movie character is namedafter this dangerous beast. On March 3, Logan (《金刚狼3：殊死一战》 ), the third and final film featuring Wolverine, hit cinemas in China. In it, we see Wolverine getthe better of many who underestimate his powers.
Yet Wolverine tells us far more about human culture and society than life in the wilds of the Northern Hemisphere, where the wild animal he’s named after lives.
Wolverine, played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman, is one member of a team of mutant fighters called the X-Men. The “X” stands for an extra piece of DNA that these mutants have which gives them special powers. Wolverine’s powers are sharp claws for defending himself, as well as the ability to heal his own wounds.
Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee called Wolverine an“antihero” – it’s a word that’s often used to describe the character. But the term “antihero” is a curious one. The word “hero” is straightforward enough: A hero is someone who fights on the good side. The opposite of a hero is a villain, someone who aims to do bad things.
An antihero is neither a hero nor a villain, but a mixture of both. With Wolverine, it’s clear that he fights with the good guys. He has a side of his character we can like, maybe even love. But he’s also a cruel killer.
His violence seems very real, not the fantasy kind of violence one used to find in comic books and films.
This realistic violence was common back in the early 1970s when Wolverine was created. Stan Lee was clear that the character reﬂected America during that time.Lee said Wolverine and another Marvel character, The Punisher, were “more reﬂective of the period they were created in, where the president [Richard Nixon] was potentially going to jail. Batman would just knock guys out; Wolverine killed people. He was the first hero we’d ever seen do anything like that before.”
And Wolverine was also a perfect character for the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975. Many American soldiers returned home from a lost war feeling angry and behaving unpredictably.
Today is a long time away from the chaotic 1970s, but Wolverine seems no less relevant in the age of President Trump. As Alex Godfrey of Empire magazine wrote: “Wolverine was created in a dark, uncertain time of political upheaval. We don’t want him going anywhere.