Friday, May 1, 2009
REVIEW: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It's officially the summer film season.
Last year, the summer season got kicked off, or launched more like it, by the solid surprise of the year, Iron Man. With a combination of action, special effects, and great performances, not only was that film a fun way to start the blockbuster season, but it also gave us a film that is worth it's weight in crime fighting metal.
However, in 2009, the film is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and along with controversial re shoots, a faltering studio backing it, and the death blow, a leaked copy of the film a whole month prior to its release, this has been about as action packed of a release as he film itself. Did it live up to the long weight, or does the failing franchise get the final slice to kill it off?
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or just Wolverine as I will call from now on, tells the tumultuous tale of Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine. Set as a prequel to the X-Men film franchise previously done by Brian Singer (and yeah, Brett Ratner, but we can forget that one ever happened), and is 10-15 years before X1. It looks at Wolverines violent past, including his relationship to Victor Creed (Sabretooth), Team X, and how he became the indestructible adamantium beast that he is.
When talking about the character of Wolverine, the conversation starts and ends with who is on screen, Hugh Jackman's back muscles...umm, I mean, Hugh Jackman. When he is in the outfit and those stunning sideburns, you can really tell that he loves this character, and that he is having a blast digging into this character. He's witty and intense, and sure, at moments it's comical, but really, the character has always been a bit out there, so it really fits.
Then there are the cast of thousands it seems, ranging from Gambit to Emma Frost. The film looks at his time with Team X, and therefore you get to see many a mutant, most of which have never been seen on the big screen, including the capstone of the crew, Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool. The Merc With A Mouth is a perfect role for Ryan Reynolds who, when his mouth isn't sewn shut, just oozes charisma, the main reason the character is as popular as he is. He is easily the best part of this film, and the pace of the film really falls flat once he leaves the screen. It starts as a comedic, almost B-level film, but in a really fun way. However, he leaves the film, and enters the full story.
This is where the film falters. From the very outset, you can tell where this film will go, and where it will end. It's a cliche ridden film, as well as a cliche ridden screenplay, full of cheesy one-liners and really awkward interchanges between Logan and his love, Silver Fox. It looks at what a man will do for revenge, and what happens when he does. Sure, it's a standard plot, but throw in some claws made of indestructible steel, it makes it a bit more interesting, right? Not when talking about this film.
However, that has been a flaw with the character as a whole, when making a jump to the big screen. In the X-Men film franchise, the character of Wolverine has been misused as a romantic lead, with a love triangle between he, Cyclops, and Jean Grey, which makes the characters mentality a lot less important.
Sure, that's not why you are in your seat, but in a film chock full of mutants, based around a team, there really isn't much of a storyline pertaining to the said team. It not only comes off as flat, but also comes off as a bit awkward, in that the blatant disregard for these important characters is an obvious pull to make spin offs, particularly with the character of Deadpool, which, with the "bonus" ending, should be getting his own film sometime very soon, especially with the monster box office this film is set to claw in.
However, the action definitely makes up for some, not all, but a little of that, particularly a really well done and very intense final action scene between Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Deadpool. The effects work, while monstrously cheesy, worked for the most part, especially the mutant power effects, the teleportation effects being the leader of the pack. The director, Gavin Hood, didn't rely on silly cut aways or other crutches, and just let the action lay on screen, which made for a much more fluid of an experience. Yes, some scenes fail, mainly a weirdly shot battle between Wolverine and Blob, but for the most part, it nails it.
So, what I am trying to say, is that this film will not give you any more intelligence than you walked in with. However, it is a really fun film, that has a few very strong action scenes, and Ryan Reynolds steals the show. It's a cliche ridden film, top to bottom, but then again, with X-3 being around, this is definitely a step above that. See this with some friends, or wait to rent it, so you get ALL of the Easter egg endings.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE - 5/10
Not a great film, but fun. Worth a rental at the least.
Go see something good!
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