Written by David Benioff and Skip Woods
Directed by Gavin Hood
Running Time: 1:47
for intense sequences of action
and violence, and some partial nudity.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a decent film but not nearly as exciting as I had hoped.
After accidentally killing his father, James goes on the run with his older brother Victor. Because of their mutant powers, they barely age and go through over a hundred years together, fighting side by side. They are recruited into a program with other mutants like them, led by a man named Stryker who may have a few bad tricks up his sleeves. When James realizes he's going down the wrong path, he leaves the group. Six years later, his brother, now known as Sabretooth, tracks him down and kills the woman he loves. Blinded by the need for revenge, James agrees to enter the Mutant X program led once again by Stryker. James, who now prefers to go by Wolverine, has his bones binded to an indestructible metal known as Adamantium, which makes James himself almost immortal. But things are never quite what they seem and soon Wolverine is fighting to save not only his life, but his soul.
I can't say I was hugely excited to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and I'm not really sure why. I was a fan of the X-Men Trilogy (yes, all of them) and this seemed like a logical choice to continue the series. Take the characters we've grown to love and let's see how they got there. But for some reason, this movie just didn't sit well with me. It was kind of cheesy and overly predictable. And to be honest, I didn't find Wolverine's backstory all that interesting. For an action oriented series/movie, he became who he was because of a woman? Isn't that the plot to all romantic comedies?
The movie opens with a moment that is pretty serious but is glossed over very quickly. I loved the opening credit sequence as we see James and Victor throughout the decades, fighting in war after war after war, never getting any older. As a side note, at what point in their growth do they stop getting older? Early 40s? Does that make any sense? Or do they just get older more slowly, so that 4 years in our lives only equals 1 to them? Anyway, during the opening, we see how James is the 'nice' one of the two brothers while Victor enjoys using his mutant abilities to hurt as many people as possible. Obviously this led to a point where the two brothers separate and move on. But in reality, James can't simply walk away from his life and soon it catches up to him. And then the rest of the movie is spent with his head spinning left and right trying to figure out what's real and what's not.
The movie just wasn't very compelling. I didn't get into the story much and I like Hugh Jackman and the Wolverine character. I think in the other movies since he was with a lot of other big stars and big characters, it was easier to like him, but now that he's the central figure there was too much pressure on him. None of the other mutants really got their due. We're introduced early on to handful of them, with some really familiar faces (Dominic Monaghan, Ryan Reynolds, will.I.am) but within minutes they disappear. They all return in some form or another later in the film but are there for a very brief time before going off again. And I think that may be while I liked the Trilogy more - because there were more cool characters to watch. Some of these guys are interesting abilities but the movie (obviously) focused completely on only Wolverine and we already know him. We know a lot about his story already so the writers really needed to hit me with something new to keep my interest.
The one new mutant who was very exciting was Gambit. He shows up about 2/3 of the way through the film and has a small but important role. He's got a lot of charisma and since he hasn't appeared in any of the other movies, it was interesting to learn about him. I know they won't do it because he's not as well known, but it would be much more fun to see an Origin movie about him. Magneto is apparently next on the block but I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy him since again, we already know a lot about his character and more important, know how he turns out. It's kind of like watching Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars - it was kind of cool seeing the creation of Darth Vader but since we've already seen how he turns out, there's not a ton of excitement.
The other big issue I had with the film was that it didn't look very good. I'm not talking about the lack of Hollywood gloss because that I didn't have a problem with. I actually liked how down and dirty it felt. The problem was the special effects looked really mediocre and at times, downright awful. I didn't feel the movie had a good pace to it and it seemed the director was overmatched for this kind of film. There has been a big trend recently to find 'serious' directors, the kind who do critically acclaimed independent features, to come and do big-budget blockbusters. Sometimes it works, as evidenced by a certain Dark Knight, but other times the directors can't keep up with the material and it feels very flat (Chris Weitz comes to mind, going from the well received About a Boy to the mess that was The Golden Compass). Gavin Hood did a tremendous job with Tsotsi but in my opinion, wasn't right for this film.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall I really wanted to like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I couldn't get into the movie. It has some good action sequences, and Hugh Jackman is always fun to watch, but all in all I was disappointed.
Netflix DVD Rentals. Only $4.99 a month. NO LATE FEES; Free Shipping. Try for FREE!