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Claws Of Crap

x-men-origins-wolverine-20080227111119180_640w So no, I’m not going to talk about the fact that “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” leaked on-line, nor about the fact that that this will kill the film’s box office takings. This will just be an honest, impartial review of the film. Personally, even just from the ads, I’m irritated at how they seem to have forgotten all about why these films are being made, all about the other films in the series, all about the original comics, and all about the original characters in them. So instead, the fan-boy in me looks at “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” as a film that shouldn’t necessarily have been made.

Having watched it, I’m glad that my opinion hasn’t been unfounded: it really validated my incredibly low expectations of it. I honestly don’t know how films this…okay, I’m not gonna say bad, but I don’t know how films this mediocre can be made, passing through so many producers, actors, directors, writers…

Anyway, my ‘proper’ review is below: I really rather hope it encourages you not to go see it…but maybe that’s cos I’m a bit mean. Short answer: 2/5.

Let’s face it: Hugh Jackman might have breathed significant life into the character of Wolverine in the first three X-Men films, but he hasn’t been particularly successful in carrying movies as a lead, from “Australia” to “Van Helsing.” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” might be the most recent entry in an ultra-successful comic-book-movie franchise, but it’s also, at its core, a Hugh Jackman film. And in keeping with that fact, it’s easily one of the least impressive comic book movies in a long time.

Much of the plot of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” has already been seen in the first two movies: a prequel of sorts, the film follows the titular Logan/Wolverine’s life from his youth through to his initial confrontation with William Stryker (played by Brian Cox in “X-Men 2” and by Danny Huston here.) By his side throughout is brother-in-arms-to-become-mortal-enemy Victor Creed (Schreiber, again playing fill-in for the role originally played by Tyler Mane). After serving alongside Creed and Stryker on a special operations team, Logan leaves to pursue a normal life with love interest Kayla Silverfox (Collins.) But when his former team-members start to turn up dead, Logan is brought back into the fold, subjected to experiments to enhance his powers and make him capable of hunting down the killer. Yet all is not as it seems, and Stryker’s ulterior motives soon become apparent, turning Logan’s mission into one of revenge.

One of many problems that “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” has is the fact that there is never any threat in this film: not only have we seen much of the story already, but we’ve seen the characters too (though they might be played by different actors.) We’re already aware that Logan cannot die, and that Stryker and Creed must return to be villainous in the future, leaving what little emotional weight the film has depending on Logan’s relationship with Kayla. If you haven’t guessed how that ends from the glimpses of the future we’ve already gotten from the other films, then you haven’t been paying much attention.

There’s something disappointingly stubborn about the film when you consider this, and it spreads to other parts of the film as well, for both story and characters: despite the rich history that the character has in the comics, focussing as it does on these specific parts of Logan’s history offers only a tiny picture of a greater whole. The film’s attempts at humour are laid on thick and clash awkwardly with the more serious tones, making you wonder why they’re included to begin with. Even the usually admirable special effects and action sequences are over-reliant on fancy jumping and explosions. Last but not least is the inclusion of some fan-favourite characters like Gambit (Kitsch), Wade Wilson (Reynolds), and even keep a red eye out for Cyclops, Emma Frost and Professor Xavier. Unfortunately, none of these characters are treated with the dignity they deserve, for the most part becoming little more than cameos and ignoring the basic facts that have earned them their fans to begin with.

It’s a small example of the bigger problems with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” that just proves that the film-makers have gotten so much wrong, taking their cues from the disappointing “X-Men 3” and throwing far too much in, making the film they think fans want to see, rather than taking the time to do it properly and make a good film.

A disappointing addition to a franchise that deserves so much more, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” might be bland enough to keep some people happy, but also manages to undo all the hard work that the first “X-Men” films did for the franchise, and is even in danger of undoing some of the hard work that’s been done to make comic book movies respectable to begin with.

  1. May 5, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    God this was bad. I’ve really ripped it a new one on my review.

  2. morethinking
    April 30, 2009 at 8:24 AM

    Man. And I loved the first X-Men film.

    Honestly, the trailers and TV spots made it look kinda bleh, so perhaps my inner Good/Bad Movie Detection Meter is working properly.

    • burnallzombies
      April 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM

      I was a huge fan of the first, but loved the second one and I’ll even forgive the third one for its failings because of the Dark Phoenix stuff

      But yeah, it’s a sad day when even the TV spots don’t sell it. Unlike Star Trek (fear not, the review’ll be up soon, and it’s awesome!!

  3. Hedgie
    April 29, 2009 at 9:02 PM

    Fair enough really. I was intending on seeing it Friday – not that I suspect it will be any good but, gotta see something right? – and I still might but at least i go in knowing that what I expect is more than likely what they will deliver.

    Go Fox.

    • burnallzombies
      April 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM

      If you can find a way to see it for free without actually paying (I suggest sneaking in, or paying for your ticket with sexual favours) then I will approve.

      I ultimately have to admit to wanting Marvel to get the rights back to make an X-Men movie with Iron Man levels of quality.

      • Hedgie
        May 1, 2009 at 4:25 PM

        Saw it tonight and it was just as awful as I anticipated. Shame really as it had potential.

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