Monday, May 4, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

by Dave

It is generally accepted that one of the biggest burdens of a comic book adaptation is the hero's origin story. Instead of focusing on high-flying, ass-kicking adventure, the film has to get bogged down with radioactive spiders and frantic escapes from Krypton. Luckily, after two fantastic X-Men movies (and one that's not worth really mentioning), one would think that Wolverine's character would need no more significant back story. One would, unfortunately, be sadly mistaken, as the execrable new film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, focuses all its energies on a trite, boring back story for a character who would be better off with a shadowy past.

Wolverine! (and some other people)

The film begins in rural Canada in the early 1800s. Young Wolverine is sick in bed and his playmate, Victor (aka Sabertooth), is keeping him company. They comment about how they were/are both sick frequently, a point that seems important and yet never resurfaces. Speaking of plot points that go nowhere, in the very same scene Wolverine's father is murdered by his friend's dad, a fellow sideburn enthusiast, who is in turn murdered by kid-Wolverine. Only then do we learn that the murderer is actually Wolverine's dad, and that Victor is his brother. Nothing is ever made of Wolverine's true father either, so we must presume that it's being saved for the sequel.

Churning up convenient plot-points only to forget about them minutes later is one of the films biggest problems, and that's saying something, considering most of this movie is an exercise in how not to tell a story.

The opening credits are without a doubt the high point of the film: a highly stylized montage that shows Wolverine and Victor as young men participating in a series of cinematic wars, from the US Civil War, through both World Wars, and finally ending in Vietnam where, after some hi-jinks, the mutant brothers are to be executed by firing squad. The execution, as one might imagine, is ineffective, and soon they are put into an elite, secretive squad of mutants under the Army's Department of Evil, in which they go around breaking stuff and killing people with reckless abandon. When our hero decides that all this shadowy villainy isn't for him, he leaves the unit, finally setting the movie's plot into motion, but not before we spend a seemingly endless amount of time watching Wolverine and Mrs. Wolverine living happily as a blue-collar family deep in the forests of Canada.

From here, things just get worse. Wolverine borrows a few things from the later Rambo movies wherein the hero is given some comfort and companionship, just so that it can be taken away to send him on a killdozer-like rampage. The bad guys are boring, unsympathetic, and, worst of all, stupid at almost a retarded level. The fight scenes, which should have made this movie worth while, looked more like elaborate dance sequences, with bits of action frequently interrupted so that the characters could pose, presumably for the fashion photographs lurking somewhere out of frame. The less said about the writing, acting, special effects, and camera-work, the better.

The real tragedy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is that it was going to finally feature Gambit, a character who was mysteriously absent from the previous films. Instead of the cocky Cajun we've grown to love, the actor playing Gambit decided to eschew the accent and make him just another stock character who just so happened to walk around with a sweetass pimp cane and throw playing cards at people.

Unless you're looking to have you intelligence insulted, don't waste your time or money on X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Need more proof? How's this: adamantium bullets become a fairly major plot point near the film's disappointing ending, which is set at Three Mile Island for some reason.

Original here

1 comment:

Nomad said...

I wonder if Hugh (Huge) Jackman will be able to be anything but Wolverine now that so much of his career has been consumed by this role