X-Men Origins: Wolverine has had a painful birthing process. The thing seemed to take forever to get made, was plagued with rumors of problems post-production when the director ordered reshoots and some yahoo at a special effects firm thought he was being a hero to the people by putting a hacked up cut of the film on Pirate Bay.
Considering all that, the amount of money that the film has made this weekend is pretty damn impressive. However, this is now going to convince the producers that A) this was a good movie and B) they should make more. Neither of these statements are true, and let’s take a look at just why that is.
We start with young Jimmy Howlett, a sickly young lad in the mid-eighteen hundreds. His father is shot by a man with killer mutton chops who claims to be his real pa, and he discovers that his childhood friend, Victor, is actually his brother. After revealing his little bitty bone claws (still long enough to impale his newfound dad), he lets out one of the film’s way-too-many skyward howls.
A few World Wars later, and Jimmy (or Logan as he’s called now) is recruited by secret government branch to do secret government things, like kill African diamond czars and find adamantium meteorites. His team is all-mutant, and features the likes of known Marvel-ites Deadpool and Blob, with guest appearances by Guy-who-controls-technology, Guy-who-is-essentially-Neo-from-The–Matrix and Guy-who-teleports-but-in-a-way-that-costs-less-money-to-shoot-than-Nightcrawler.
But Wolvie wants out after a few innocent Africans get their necks snapped and he hightails it to the Canadian Rockies where he hides out until Victor comes calling and kills his newfound love (cue another skyward howl). To get revenge he lets Colonel Stryker pump him full of adamantium, giving him razor sharp replacements for his pansy bone claws.
Kill you? How about I just run around naked and jump down a waterfall?
Upon completion he finds out he’s the target of a memory wipe, he gets the hell out of dodge and his subsequent investigation reveals Stryker and Sabertooth were in cahoots all along, and Logan’s now planning to unleash a hurricane of whoopass on everyone.
So why doesn’t all this work? What could possibly sabotage a movie about everyone in the world’s favorite comic book character? Ah, where to start.
Everyone’s always complaining that “dark” is the new annoying buzzword for superhero flicks. The Dark Knight was “dark” and made more money than God, therefore all other superhero movies should follow suit, and now we have rumors of a dark Hulk and dark Superman revival in the coming years.
Well guess what, a Wolverine movie needs to be ****ing dark, OK? The current iteration of the film spends the majority of its time waltz-ing around trying to be a family friendly popcorn flick, all the while forgetting that the man of the hour is a razor claw wielding maniac.
Logan is not Tony Stark, and “family-friendly” and “Wolverine” should not be in the same sentence. Putting a muzzle on Wolverine with a PG-13 rating is like re-shooting Pulp Fiction with nerf guns. He’s one of the most dangerous, violent superheroes out there, and the complete and utter absence of blood in a movie starring a guy with six Ginsu knives poking out of his hands is not just annoying, it’s downright criminal.
These restrictions severely limit the options for action, which is all the film really has since dramatic tension is replaced with growling, clever banter with sneering and thoughtful silence by, you guessed it, skyward howls.
There are only so many fight scenes I can watch between two people you know full well can’t die. Seeing Logan and Victor bloodlessly stab each other over and over again only to be healed four seconds later grows tiresome, and the worst things Wolverine actually does with his claws the whole movie are cut Gambit’s stick in half and ruin a nice old couple’s bathroom sink.
I think he’s cheating. Fun Fact: Those cards were all different in the actual movie. Probably the film’s best use of CGI.
Alright, he does slightly more than that, but they took the entire Weapon X massacre, and made it into a quad streaking run, with only one guard and one research assistant taking a claw in the neck. I can only imagine what a truly epic and memorable scene that could have been outside of the confines of a PG-13 rating, but I guess if I want that, I’ll have to actually read the damn comics.
Wolverine also falls victim to some truly awful CGI, with computer rendered claws that don’t understand what “reflection” means, a giant blubbery man who looks like a less believable version of a Hutt and a de-wrinkled Patrick Stewart cameo that has taken up permanent residence at the bottom of the Uncanny Valley.
But before I sink this review into negative star category, I do have to give them film credit where it’s due. Certain scenes are particularly well done including the opening credits war montage, the pre-escape Weapon X injection scene, and the whole Genosha island plotline wasn’t a bad idea to base the movie around. I even dug Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Taylor Kitsch as Gambit (but please don’t give them their own movies), and the “final boss fight” as it must be called, was, in fact, pretty damn awesome.
The film also attempts to do fans of the comic some service by including little-known characters like Emma Frost, but anyone who’s a die-hard fan of comic-book Wolverine will absolutely despise this neutered version, and onscreen Frost isn’t hot enough to change anyone’s mind.
I firmly believe there is a way to make a good Wolverine movie, and though Origins teeters on the brink of doing so occasionally, it’s held by back by the studio’s permanent X-Men mantra of “more mutants, less blood.” I’d beg for a halt on X-Men movies if I thought it would do any good, but with the amount of cash this thing has hauled in, I know that First Class and Magneto are going to get pushed to full steam ahead.
I’m sorry Logan, you deserved better.
2 out of 5 stars
Yes, that’s Emma Frost. NOT HOT. And Cyclops looking the tool as always.