I realize that in saying Wolverine is one of my all time favourite characters doesn’t make me incredibly unique, but it does mean that when you make a movie about him, it better be good.
I’ve been keen for X-Men Origins: Wolverine since I first laid eyes on some promotional shots and teaser footage. So it was great, as always, to finally get to watch it but be warned, this article contains spoilers.
I must say, the beginning had an incredibly cool intro. It showed Logan’s life through the ages, from World War, right through to Vietnam, alongside his comrade and brother Victor, who we know is in fact Sabertooth. As the intro plays out, you witness the evil side of Victor’s character and the steady decline of his humanity, contrasting that of Logans’. Victor’s unbridled feral nature inevitably causes him and his brother to be incarcerated on accounts of treason. After they are imprisoned, Logan and Victor are given a second lease on life and are both invited by Stryker to join, a “special team, with special priviledges”, to which they accept. Soon after, Logan leaves the team as it becomes clear to him that the group are willing to do anything it takes to achieve their goals, even if it means killing innocent people.
The movie moves on to Logans new, quiet and slow life with his wife in Canada, which I appreciated. It was done well and didn’t feel rushed. It’s classic Wolverine really. Reminded me of the X-Men cartoon series which I loved so dearly. I have to say, the woman who played Silverfox, Logans wife, looked absolutely gorgeous. Lynn Collins has such a great smile, suiting imagery for Logans new perfect life. Then of course the turn happens. Sabertooth loses the plot and helps stage the death of Logans wife, thus destroying his new life.
Here’s where things start getting a bit fucked up. Logan then reunites with Stryker — in the hopes of avenging his wife by killing his brother whom he thought was responsible — and takes part in the Weapon X program. Where “X” is the roman numeral for 10, because Logan is the tenth experiment. I don’t remember that being the case in the comic or cartoons storyline. Especially since there were other characters involved in the Weapon X program, such as Sabertooth and Deadpool. Which kinda blows the whole numeral system out the water. Nevertheless, this was where Logan’s skeleton was laced with Adamantium and Wolverine was born.
Hugh Jackman is a near perfect Wolverine, albeit a tad too tall. In fact, Hugh is getting better and better for the role as he ages. You can see Jackman devoted himself to the role. He buffed up, worked on his rage induced growls and naturally pulled off saying “bub” a couple of times. Also, I noticed the hair stylists did some fine tuning. His hair was more rough, less squeaky clean like in the X-Men movies. Even the minor raises of unshaven hair that occur when the sideburns meet the moustache. A level of detail I really appreciated. Furthermore ‘ol Hugh is a talented actor.
Wolverine had more of a heated temper in this film when compared to the other X-Men movies, barring a few scenes from X-Men 2 where they really let him loose. But it’s all kinda useless because he’s all bark and no bite. Throughout the film he’s “holding back”. I understand that Wolverine wrestled to control his temper, but he didn’t always win. It’s one thing to say he has a temper and have him growl with an awesome scowl, but if you don’t display his failures every now and again, it’s kinda moot. This gets so chronically bad that, after hell bent on revenge and stating and I quote, “I’m coming for blood, no code of conduct, no law”, when he finally finds Styker he… walks away. Wow, fierce. Atta go tiger. Sure Stryker proves his wife was not, in fact, murdered and was still alive but who gives a shit? Fabrication or not, he only ruined your life. Not to mention he hunted you down and killed everyone around you. Lets not forget that a moment ago he just told you, while standing next to the operating table, that he’s creating a new experiment called Weapon XI with the sole purposes of killing all mutants. That he admitted he captured mutants and was conducting experiments to combine all their powers into this one über mutant. That it would be a drone, following his commands unconditionally. The only reason Wolverine turns back from his pleasant meander away from the mad scientist, was the fact that he heard his love, screaming while in the clutches of Sabertooth. This brings me to the next fail.
The film makes it known that Sabertooth has somewhat of an edge over Wolverine. During the course of the film, Wolverine had a couple encounters with Sabertooth, with Sabertooth walking away with the victory. So when the moment finally came for the now Adamatium infused Wolverine to fight Sabertooth, I was psyched. This was the moment I had been waiting for, the epic fight between two arch enemies that has been chronicled through cartoons, comics and trading cards. This, was the fight I had been waiting for. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had another idea though. Wolverine and Sabertooth exchange a few blows, Wolverine then tackles Sabertooth sending them both flying through a window. Wolverine then quickly recovered after the hard fall, with Sabertooth still lying in pain. Wolverine, now filled with anger, readies himself to stab the crap out of Sabertooth’s face. But, once again, Wolverine holds back his anger and spares Sabertooh’s life. Another anti-climax. The scene was so brief, that I hadn’t even finished getting amped before it ended. So much for the epic battle finale I’m sure everyone wanted to see.
The film had a knack for building up momentum and then going nowhere with it. Always with the damn anti-climaxes. A veritable roller-coaster. I haven’t experienced so many in a movie before. Without exaggeration, I would say the trailer brought me to a greater adrenaline high than the movie did. The movie felt to a large degree, pointless. Additionally, many critics have noted it’s an action soaked, full of ‘splosions and special effects movie. What they don’t mention though, is that the special effects in Wolverine are terrible. Wolverine’s claws couldn’t have appeared more CG if they tried. There’s this one scene where Wolverine is in a toilet, staring at his new Adamantium claws that will have you covering your mouth with your hand at the horrible craftsmanship of the CG effects.
Moving along, you come to find out that Wade, now Deadpool, is in fact the major bad guy fight scene. Deadpool, instead of being this cunning, smart-mouthed mercenary, was a horror with no mouth. The movie had previously done so well to bring Deadpool’s humour to the table, so what do they do with that, they take away his ability for utterance. Deadpool, who is now Weapon XI, becomes your generic, vacant of all personality, science experiment gone wrong. No awesome ninja-esque suit, no wicked mask, just a half naked guy that looks like he ran off the set of Silent Hill much to Christophe Gans’ dismay. I’ve since read up on the character and understand that in the comic book story, he was disfigured, but you never see him like that in the comics. Not often anyways. Furthermore, instead of wielding samurai swords, a single sword-like blade comes out of each hand in the same manner as Wolverine’s claws. This pissed me off. Hollywood has this fetish to make all bad guys in these comic book movies have all the attributes, and more, than the heroes abilities. Also, General Douche who’s responsible for everything, controls Deadpool via a computer, typing commands such as “DECAPITATE”. Seriously, are you kidding? No, really, come now.
Together, Wolverine and Sabertooth end up kicking Deadpool’s ass. The young band of mutants, the captured ones that Wolverine frees, finally escape the facility and are met by Professor Xavier, who arrives in a helicopter with rescue in mind (see what I did there). If you have to see this movie, watch it simply for Patrick Stewart’s brief appearance. You can’t help as the viewer think, “what the hell”, when he stares at the camera with skin so tightly stretched around his skull, I thought it was going to fold in on itself. Either that or propel his skull into orbit.
Wolverine’s story is one of solitude, he’s a loner, and instead of trying to fill a roster of characters they could have focused more on the few important ones. In my opinion, Stryker had far too much camera time, he’s merely the architect, from there, the consequences of his actions form the tragic stories of everyone involved in Weapon X. Instead of adding nonsense fluff like Emma Frost, Gambit and Scott Summers, more time could have been used for longer and more awesome fight scenes. The fact that Scott Summers (Cyclops) appears in a Wolverine origins movie is beyond me. Cyclops brings images of Wolverine’s well established future in the X-Men and his path in attempting to work in team. The mere fact that Scott Summers is in the film feels like a major time clash. This goes for Gambit as well, whom Wolverine is only supposed to meet after he joins the X-Men. The only purpose he served in the film was providing Wolverine transport to the super secret island. Which I’m sure they could have figured out some other alternative without including Gambit.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine reminds me of Tab or any variant of those fake colas out there. As you take your first sip and continue to drink it fast, it tastes just like Coca-Cola, but once you’re done, you get this nasty after taste. That’s what this movie was like for me. As it ended, I thought, at best, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was fantastically average. But as I pondered about it more and more, I became increasingly more disappointed with the movie.
I’ve become quite disillusioned and depressed with the film industry lately. There’s just been such a long line-up of disappointing movies that should have been great. Cinema is a graveyard. Silver screen is where all good things go to die. To be honest, I actually had more fun watching Dragonball: Evolution.