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Friday, May 1, 2009

Movies: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Friday, May 01, 2009 Posted by Unknown , , , , No comments
This is really late, but I have some time before I go to bed and school begins tomorrow so I thought I might as well review the summer's first big comic/nerd blockbuster.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine--A Review

Before watching the release date of the actual film, I followed this movie like a hawk. Subscribed to feeds, read news articles, watched every single clip I could get my hands on. I did everything short of downloading the illegal workprint that was uploaded on torrents. Reason? I wanted to watch a complete version of the film and was hoping that it would live up to my expectations and the $9.50 ticket price.

It did not.

Was it fun? Sure. It had big explosions, funny lines of dialogue, and a good use of mutant abilities (as a Gambit fan, I thought his staff slam scene was fantastic). But when you dig past the films action-movie surface, you're left with very little substance. I wasn't expecting Godfather or anything, but I wanted a comic film that at least left my amazed and thinking after I left the theater. The only thought I had in my mind when I left was what happened to being faithful to the material?

My biggest gripe about this diversion from the source is two fold: the Sabertooth and Wolverine dynamic that they choose to explore and Deadpool's (Ryan Reynold)character. I won't spoil the Deadpool part because it's significant to the story that they are building in the movie, but let's just say the powers that he is given in the film are NOT at all what he has in the comics.

I can however critique Sabertooth and Wolverine since the "Brothers" clip sets it up for the viewer. Essentially, the writers and producers decided that it would be too difficult for viewers to connect with a "Brothers-in-Arms" kind of story so they chose to remove the "in-arms" part and made them biological brothers instead.
This is wrong.
I understand they wanted to create a relationship that would make the realize how similar the two men are and that Wolverine chooses to not embrace the animal, but that could have been done differently. It was not necessary for them to make them blood brothers because, in the long run, Fox has shot themselves in the foot. Wolverine will never kill Sabertooth because if Wolverine is supposed to be a compassionate version of Sabertooth and if Sabertooth and Wolverine are rival but their blood is what keeps them from killing each other, then the moment where Wolverine decapitates Sabertooth in the comics (Wolverine vol. 3 #55) can't happen because Logan wouldn't kill his brother in fear of unleashing the animal. This is a beautiful moment in the comics that concludes their long standing rivalry that can and will never happen on film because of the relationship forged in this movie.

That's a long run plot problem that I just did not agree with, but why am I talking about all of this in a review about the movie as a whole? Couldn't that have been overlooked in the film was a complete and enjoyable product? Yes! Unfortunately, the movie was not complete. Reason being, this was the only relationship that was really created in the movie that had a resonance, and it was incorrect to begin with. The other mutants (Kestrel, Blob, Gambit, and Silver Fox to name a few) are used as plot elements to advance the story while introducing cool new characters for the every man to cling to, having a big explosive fight, and leaving the viewer stunned with another "Hugh Jackman slow walk into the background". I've seen it before. I've seen it in THIS movie. And I don't need to see it repeated in the same film.

The only thing that redeems this movie are the fights and the usages of abilities. With the special effects (the ones that look polished and not clunky) used with Kestrel, Gambit, and Blob, the movie was fun to watch. And I do think that this can also be attributed to the performances by the supporting cast. Ryan Reynolds was one of the most memorable ones for me. It would have been nice for Taylor Kitcsh to throw in more accent but still solid. And the special effects/make-up for Blob was a lot of fun to see.

But all in all, the movie was disheartening. It proved to me that the franchise has a long way to go before it can get rid of the funk they got themselves into with X3.