X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Movie Review)

Note: Guess who just got back from a midnight screening...
5/1/09: I reworked the second paragraph (and other bits), so I'm calling this the polished version.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The first question that ought to be asked by the prospective audience of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is, "can the lead actor carry the film?" If the answer is yes, then all that's left to ask of the film is that it goes through the list of requisite action/superhero clichés in a neat and orderly fashion. If the answer is no, then prepare some blunt nails and a wooden cross 'cause it's crucifixion time!

Actually Origins narrowly escapes a critical thrashing because Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is perhaps the most compelling and charismatic bit of adamantium-lined cardboard to ever grace the silver screen. Though despite having two hours to focus on the origin of a highly revered superhero, Wolverine is just as flat and monotonous a character as when he was merely first among the X-Men. More, in fact. At least the trilogy films had Wolverine coping with teamwork, friendship, and responsibility (the first two films anyway) as the mutants were searching for their place in the world. Wolverine's back story is all about revenge and violence as a brainless montage of uninformative war scenes over the opening credits quickly sets the tone for the rest of the film. Besides, tracing Wolverine's back story isn't all too difficult proving you're aware of how the first X-Men film nine years ago established amnesia as a key aspect of his character.

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Indestructible government funded amnesic weapons... now it's starting to sound more like a Jason Bourne origin

I was under the impression that Wolverine deserved a film dedicated to the character's history because it was an engaging tale worth telling. Sadly, this isn't the case. Apparently Logan's childhood was a domestically troubled one (beginning 150+ years ago, oddly) followed by stints in all the major world battles with his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) at his back. They kill a lot of people, growl a fair bit, murder a few of their comrades, get sentenced to death by firing squad (which apparently tickles), whereupon they are recruited into a secret special operations team with other mutants. All goes smoothly for a while, that is of course until Logan gets a crippling case of the morals and abandons the team for a life of peace and solitude. Six years later, the old gang has dissolved and are being picked off one by one by Victor, except it seems that it's not Victor's doing alone.

The purpose of this film is to explain the origins of the X-Men characters, particularly Wolverine, which is why I'm amazed that the film does a rather lame job at doing so. Logan is characterized as a revenge driven animal after his sweetheart dies, which admittedly is all he really needs, but that's only half the story. What about Victor, the antagonist? Why has he gone kill crazy and turned on his brother? The proposed answer fails to satisfy this and other questions, such as what the root reason for his abandonment of fraternal obligations he so heavily espoused earlier, and what his overreaching ambition or goal is. Without a strong and defined antagonist, the hero has very little reason for being. I understand the desire to chiefly focus on the character for which the film is named after, but a little attention to detail with regards to the motley mutant crew would be nice. Without it, the stench of fan service overwhelms and characters feel interchangeable, relying on powers and not personas to colour them.

But the main cast is likable, despite my lack of concern for characters I don't immediately recognize. I didn't grow up reading comic books or watching the X-Men animated series, so truth be told I only knew a handful of the mutants. Wolverine, Sabertooth, Gambit, and a young Cyclops are the only ones I can identify. I have no idea who Agent Zero, Wade, Deadpool, the Blob, and countless others are, though they are appreciably well presented. Frankly, I find the main failing to be that the film wants to capture too much, and ends up coming up short in the process. A narrower scope more focused on a handful as opposed to a massive entourage would've satisfied both crowds that the film must cater too. The diehards would get their faithfully adapted beloved back-story (presumably), and the rest of us would get a solid and engaging action flick. As it stands, Wolverine starts off promisingly before getting tangled in a muddy mess of fan service.
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There's a clip after the credits that you may be interesting in watching, so I recommend staying if you're the type who cares.

You have no idea who Deadpool is? Really? Are you absolutely serious?

Hope crap. I mean, damn. He's like the most awesome mutant of them all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadpool_(comics)

It's like if Wolverine had a kid with Spider-Man and Joker. Regeneration, immortality, kickassness, wise-crackingness and breaking of 4th wall.

Abedeus:
You have no idea who Deadpool is? Really? Are you absolutely serious?

I knew people were upset because apparently they "fucked deadpool up hard" (not my words), but prior to that I had absolutely no idea who he was. Like I said, I'm only a passing fan.

Maet:

Abedeus:
You have no idea who Deadpool is? Really? Are you absolutely serious?

I knew people were upset because apparently they "fucked deadpool up hard" (not my words), but prior to that I had absolutely no idea who he was. Like I said, I'm only a passing fan.

Deadpool is the greatest marvel hero ever. He deserves his own movie but unfortunately they massively underappreciated him when it came to screentime.

Maet:

wait wait wait wait wait...which clip are we talking about? The one after the military picks up Stryker? If that's the case...damn my theater got the crappy one.

Dr_Baron_von_Evilsatan:
wait wait wait wait wait...which clip are we talking about? The one after the military picks up Stryker? If that's the case...damn my theater got the crappy one.

Apparently there's multiple clips at the end of the credits (according to Wikipeida).

Maet:

Dr_Baron_von_Evilsatan:
wait wait wait wait wait...which clip are we talking about? The one after the military picks up Stryker? If that's the case...damn my theater got the crappy one.

Apparently there's multiple clips at the end of the credits (according to Wikipeida).

Yeah, a friend and I were really mad about the whole Deadpool thing (that's why he didn't go). When I came back, he found the article, I was hoping it would be true.

Although I'm still a little mad that the midnight showing got the lame epilogue, unless they just send one to each theater.

Deadpool was the guy at the end that was a combination of all the mutants right? I don´t really remember. Still, it was a great movie filled with action since the beggining ´till the end.

I made a few changes from the review I posted last night (mostly in the second paragraph) so I'm calling this the final, polished copy.

You should point out that fans of Deadpool (most people) might get annoyed by the treatment of his chracter.

Firstly, The date was all wrong from the start Wolverine was born somewhere between 1885-1890 and also never fought in the American Cival War as it is shown in the opening sequence. He didn't run away with Sabretooth, but Sabretooth was one of the reasons why Wolverine left. I can udnerstand that maybe the director or writers wanted a different sort of beggining, but then they ruin Deadpool, one badass motherfucker, and then completely mess up Wovlerines love interest..WHO THE HELL IS SHE? shes some random mutant with a very convenient plot-devising power that was just put there so Wolverine could have something to get pissed off about...Now i knew the movie wasnt going to be great but JESUS CHRIST they didn't have to completely ruin it for the fans did they? well as long as thousands of X-men: The Movie fans are happy ¬¬

Panzer_God:

Maet:

Abedeus:
You have no idea who Deadpool is? Really? Are you absolutely serious?

I knew people were upset because apparently they "fucked deadpool up hard" (not my words), but prior to that I had absolutely no idea who he was. Like I said, I'm only a passing fan.

Deadpool is the greatest marvel hero ever. He deserves his own movie but unfortunately they massively underappreciated him when it came to screentime.

He was my favorite character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which is surprising as I've never heard of him till than. He does deserve his own movie, but he needs to ride a Heavy Metal Pony with silly hats.

Maet:
I made a few changes from the review I posted last night (mostly in the second paragraph) so I'm calling this the final, polished copy.

Don't expect any constructive comments on your review. I wrote one after seeing it on the day of release and all I got was a bunch of geeks whining about deadpool having been changed & not why that actually made the movie better or worse.
Either way good review, but I liked it. It did try to cram to many mutants in at once, like Gambit was a quick flash in & out, but I thought the acting was there. Ultimately I thought it suffered from not being more bloody/mature. Not in an immature "yay blood", but a story of revenge and passion should be mature, and with wolverine especially, it should of had a more adult theme running through it. Either way I thought it did what I expected it to, gave a mutant action-fest with a somewhat depressing ending. Personally I don't think it could have been done better otherwise it may have just been an orgy of brooding and several 15 minute CGI heavy fights.

Well, not being into Marvel comics, and thus not knowing of the Original Deadpool I thought that the film deadpool was rather badass.

Mazty:
Ultimately I thought it suffered from not being more bloody/mature. Not in an immature "yay blood", but a story of revenge and passion should be mature, and with wolverine especially, it should of had a more adult theme running through it.

A big problem with the movie is that there was no substance to it. Singer's X-Men and X2 dealt with a lot of interesting material, especially what it means to be human in a world of humans and mutants. For a summer blockbuster film, that's a lot more depth than many people are used to having which is something I thoroughly enjoyed. Origins turns the world into a sandbox for mutants and not a world where humans are mutants are trying to coexist. The only reason I didn't mention this is because it's not exactly relevant or expected, but it would've been nice and definitely surprising.

The whole film is puerile, but I can't criticize it for that because it's to be expected. It'd be like complaining that a horror film is too scary or a comedy film made me laugh too much.

Edit -- On a side note, I'm hoping that the issue of humanity is dealt with in Terminator Salvation (the half man/half machine who believes he's human gives me reason for hope) because that's the chief reason I have any interest in visiting that particular wasteland.

hmm i thought it was ok.
the stuff with deadpool was... odd... i might forgive them if they fix him up in a sequel... maybe take away all the nonsense powers he shouldnt have had. and then let him rampage around shit talking people.

i wasnt a big fan of the changes to wolverines past though. nor his new cause of amnesia.

i also really really hated gambit. one of my very favourite x-men. and yet he was totally different. he wasnt cajun. im pretty sure he was just the stoner from pineapple express. they could have done a lot better with gambit. though they did his powers ok.

and last of all... this was more annoying than anything else...
why did they make everything more american?
the whole weapon x program was Canadian. wolverine was in alpha flight during WW2... which was a Canadian spec ops team. the whole thing should have been taking place in Canada.
oh and wolverine should have trashed the place where they put the adamantium in him.

anyways.
it was an entertaining film... if you didnt focus on the things they changed(poorly) from other version of the stories.

The ending thing with deadpool was the real kicker for me. I mean he got like 30 seconds of actual fighting screen time in the entire fucking movie before he got turned into that horrible abomination of a cop out at the end. They could have just done away with him entirely, just giving that amalgam guy some shitty name like "Goliath" or "Weapon 13" or something. In reality there was no reason to have him in the damn movie. I mean, if it was fan service then why the fuck did they screw him up so much?

gah it just makes no fucking sense

 

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