Murphy’s Law – A SFW review of Wolverine XXX

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

About halfway through Wolverine XXX, there is a scene where Rogue (Allie Haze) has what the French so eloquently describe as a ménage à trois with Spider-man (Xander Corvus) and Deadpool (Derrick Pierce). As any comic book fan can tell you, this is a problematic situation since Rogue’s mutant power involves draining the strength (or mutant powers) of anyone she touches. As she tragically learned as a teenager when she accidentally put a boy into a coma just by kissing him, any contact with another person can be potentially fatal.

So how is she able to have her tryst with the two costumed pugilists? She touches Deadpool, absorbing his healing power, which “overrides” her own, allowing both men to freely touch her.

This is what I have come to love about Axel Braun. Anyone can put a bunch of porn stars into cheap Halloween costumes and call it a XXX superhero parody, but it takes a true auteur with precise attention to detail to find solutions to the answers most porn directors wouldn’t even think to ask. In fact, not all Hollywood directors think to ask these things either, which was one of my problems with The Wolverine, a film that seemed to play fast and loose with the rules of its protagonist’s established abilities.

Wolverine XXX isn’t a parody of The Wolverine or X-Men Origins: Wolverine or any of the films featuring Hugh Jackman. Instead, it stays true to the comic book version of the characters, pulling from a variety of different iconic stories that hardcore fans would expect to see. It isn’t just a series of vignettes though, it is a cohesive story that uses flashbacks to touch on important moments in Wolverine’s (Tommy Gunn) past. Of course, being a porn, the screentime devoted to the actual plot is minimal, so it feels more like the opening act of a story than a finished film. (The ending is a giant cliffhanger as well.)

Obviously, I will always be an advocate for sticking closely to the comics when making any film adaptation. However, this film made me realize that potential drawbacks of being slavishly devoted to the look of the comics. Wolverine’s costume, for starters, is absolutely ridiculous. Braun has made a faithful reproduction of the costume, which is commendable, but it doesn’t keep it from being an eyesore. It’s a giant mess of yellow spandex with a ridiculous yellow leather mask on top. It really undercuts the whole “savage antihero” aesthetic (and hurts the films premise that women actually want to sleep with this guy).

Most of the other suits feel the same way. Somehow Spider-man’s costume works on-screen (as it has in the big budget Hollywood adaptations) and Domino’s (Aiden Ashley) black leather getup looks great. But Rogue, Jean Grey (Andy San Dimas) and Lady Deathstrike (Maya Hills) all look like they are headed to an 80s jazzercise class in their bright spandex attire. And Sabertooth (Evan Stone) looks like he lifted his costume directly from the set of Ron Pearlman’s Beauty and the Beast.

This film also made me realize just how much Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart add to their roles. Tommy Gunn and Mike Moz, who plays Professor Xavier, are both adequate and they look the parts but – to borrow another French phrase – they lack that certain je ne sais quoi that their Hollywood counterparts possess. Xander Corvus is charming as Spider-man and he has the whole wise-cracking rhythm to the character down. He and Derrick Pierce’s Deadpool have a great back and forth (no pun intended) as well. Aiden Ashely is quite enjoyable as Domino and Lexington Steele is a pretty convincing Nick Fury. (As always, I continue to enjoy the way these porn parodies, which don’t have to worry about the various licensing agreements Marvel has with different film studios, are able to populate these movies with a wide selection of characters from different Marvel comics.)

This may sound silly, but as good of a job as Braun does with the little details, the one thing that felt off to me is the ease at which Wolverine is able to get Jean Grey. (Perhaps I should have prefaced that with a “Spoiler Alert,” but come on, we all knew that Logan was going to get to finally seal the deal with Jean in the porn parody.) Their entire relationship is built on this unrelenting sexual tension. Yet in the film, their “encounter” is practically a forgone conclusion, which is incredibly disappointing. Make him work for it, Axel.

All in all, I once again appreciate what Braun has created here. Woverine XXX left me wanting to see more (of the plot, you perverts), which is more than I can say for either The Wolverine or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Perhaps Hollywood should reach out to Axel Braun the next time they want to take a shot at a standalone Logan film.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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