Monday, 4 May 2009

Of X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Warning Thar Be Spoilers Below

Wooo HD trailers FTW. Alright so I just went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A movie I haven't been excited for, at all. However because I have seen EVERY comic based movie of the past decade (give or take perhaps one or two), I went to see it. Luckily I didn't hate. I didn't love it, but it wasn't the mind blowing suck fest that was X-Men: The Last Stand (yes IaSg14 it's awful). So what we got was a passable action movie. It isn't amazing but they're are far worse movies to go see *cough*Hannah Montana*cough*

First up the praise. Sadly they're isn't much to praise, whilst not being awful the movie doesn't have any overly clear redeeming features. For starters Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He was pretty much born to play this role and continues his great performance here. Whilst he has shown some amazing acting skills in other movies *cough*The Fountain*cough* he still is the star of this movie and makes his presence known. Then there were some pretty cool sequences. It seems superhero movies must always have brilliant openings now. Following on from Watchmen's inspired opening we get a visual dazzling opening where we cut through all the wars Wolverine and Sabretooth thought in through the years. Secondly we got a pretty awesome final fight scene. I'll get onto the other fight scenes later but this final scene is particularly awesome and I'm sure it'll end up on youtube sooner or later so make sure you check it out!!

Now the bad points. Well I think we can say the effects are pretty shocking throughout. Whilst they actually showed superpowers *cough*Heroes*cough* stuff such as Wolverine's claws looked like blatant CGI and far worse than the special effects of X-Men: The Last Stand three years ago. However this movie doesn't have the all star cast that movie did. The fight scenes also suffer. The final fight scene feels different to all the others, almost like the entire budget was used on it or it was a different choreographer but the others feel a bit hashed together. In particular the helicopter scene in all the trailers. It just doesn't mesh very well. Unfocused camera work and the special effects really do feel quite sub par at moments. However I think we can chalk some of this up to Gavin Hood the director. Gavin Hood doesn't normally direct these movies being more of a drama director (similar to how Christopher Nolan did Dark Knight and Jon Favreau did Iron Man) and doesn't have a knack for action scenes. Whilst the final fight scene is brilliant the other action set pieces are a bit of a let down.

My main complaint with the movie is too much fan service. A little fan service can go a long way, too much can kill a movie. X-Men: The Last Stand proved this by having so many mutants in there with little to no development for any of them. On the other hand Doctor Who last year with the episode "The Stolen Earth" was a tremendous episode that proved how fun fan service can be. Wolverine falls squarely in the middle. There are a couple of cool moments such as "Oh look it's Gambit/Blob/Deadpool" but that's really all they are. There are so many characters that very few actually get enough screen time (Lost's Dominic Monaghan gets killed off in the first twenty minutes). In fact the movie has some great actors in quite small roles. The previously mentioned Dominic Monaghan, Kevin Durand (Lost) and Ryan Reynolds all sort of get short handed with this movie. Kevin Durand proved he has severe acting chops last season on Lost (playing the deliciously evil Keamy) but here he plays The Blob in all of three scenes. Same for Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, very good acting in about two or three scenes (his character might be in the last third of the movie but it definitely isn't Ryan Reynolds). It just seems like a complete bitch slap. Get rid of all the little cameos and give us some actual development!! Yes it was cool to see Gambit but not only have you fucked up the timeline but he could have been so much better in X-Men 4. Same for Cyclops, he wasn't necessary to the plot other than a brief Patrick Stewart cameo. He still gets killed in the most pussy way in X-Men: The Last Stand and whilst it does make that final fight a bit cooler it just wasn't needed.

X-Men and X2 worked better because it was a contained cast. Everyone got a bit of development and only a controlled number of new characters joined in the sequel. However two movies in a row we've got copious amounts of brand new character for no reason other than to appease fans. However as we all know fans are fickle bastards and any changes you make to the story is going to piss them off. For example the Deadpool stunt, whilst leading to that awesome fight scene completely changes who the character is and since he is a fan favourite you sort of shot yourself in the foot there.

So please 20th Century Fox please take note, if you want a good action by all means have some fan favourites but don't fill the movie with 20 of them meaning they get minimal screen time and we're left wanting more. I wanted to see Blob and Deadpool do more but sadly you just didn't want to. Please take note. Less of and more Dominic Monaghan. Some of the actors feel like wasted casting in an otherwise decent movie.

Oh and plot. Well if you've read the comic you'll know it's pretty much everything apart from Wolverine's time in Japan (and even that is set up). Yes some stuff is moved around and pasts changed with lots of pointless cameos thrown in (Emma Frost? Cyclops' wife? cameo?) In the end the movie has to come together with a nice ending to show why Wolverine has amnesia. A nice twist is involved here but it does muck up the first movie a little in terms of Sabretooth. However people bitching about Cyclops, he was blindfolded and never saw Logan, not a continuity error.

So overall the movie is enjoyable but just suffers from an overblown cast and cheap special effects. The actors are still great but only Hugh Jackman has time to shine, which is a shame considering the pedigree. If they cut out a lot of the fan service or got rid of a few un-needed characters it could have worked a lot better (there was no need for It is a whole lot better than X-Men: The Last Stand because at least one doesn't go around killing off every character you were attached to from the first two movies for no reasons. A decent but seriously flawed superhero movies saved mostly by Hugh Jackman. 5.5/10

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