X-Men Origins: Wolverine


Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Problems. The first of Fox’s X-Men Origins movies, Wolverine, is riddled with problems, problems and more problems.

First, the plot. Wolverine has no plot. There is more plot-progressing story in the opening five-minute montage sequence than there is in the rest of the movie. Wolverine opens in French Canada in the mid-1800s when child James Logan first experiences his mutant powers – three sharp bones that emerge from between the knuckles in both hands. After killing his biological father, Logan and his also-mutated brother Victor head into the wilderness to escape the wrath of the pitchfork-wielding “normal” people. For over one hundred years, the two mutants-in-hiding sharpen their combat skills by fighting together in every major war.

During Vietnam, when the government realizes the self-healing powers they both possess, the brothers are turned over to a special secret agency comprised of other powerful mutants sent on impossible and unethical missions. James (Hugh Jackman) – now going by “Logan” – defects from the operation to live a simple life in hiding with his girlfriend. Victor (Liev Schreiber) on the hand, goes M.I.A. and begins hunting and killing other government mutants, killing Logan’s girlfriend along the way.

At this point, you’re about 30 minutes into the movie. The entire remaining portion of the movie is about Logan doing what he needs to to get revenge on Victor – now known as Sabertooth. In order to do so, he unexplainably acquires his adamantium skeleton from the agency who employeed him. And other than that, nothing else ever happens. The rest is pointless action and introduction to unnecessary characters. While many people consider X-Men 3 to be the worst of the franchise, I’ll give it this – at least X-Men 3 has a plot. It may be swiss cheesed with plotholes, but at least it’s there. Wolverine has got nothing on X-Men 3. And a mysterious origins story about a nearly-immortal man with metal bones should be more than a simple revenge story.

Second, the character cameos and winks. All of the characters shown in the trailers – young Scott Summers/Cyclops, Gambit and others played by Will i Am (The Black Eyed Peas), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, LOST), and Ryan Reynolds (Blade Trinity) – are featured for no purpose than small cameos. They do not further or change the plot in any way. Several of them come off as over-the-top cartoon characters whose only purpose is to appease the fans who want to see their favorite characters mortalized. And the whole movie is filled with numerous little “winks” like this at the audience that say, “We knew you always wanted to see Gambit in a movie, so here he is!” or, “Look at how this is going to tie in to…” and “Remember this from…?” Even the anticlimactic end fight sequence feels like it only takes place on Three Mile Island as if to say, “Tah-dah! This is how the Three Mile Island incident occurred!”

Third, Wolverine doesn’t meet it’s potential. Bryan Singer’s original X-Men movie did something unique – it was a comicbook movie that appealed to everyone. Even my parents like the first X-Men movie! Unlike the Batman movies of the late ’80s and ’90s, X-Men took itself seriously, yet still had fun. There was a certain realistic dynamic that existed within this completely fictional world. It connected with its audience. X-Men paved the way for the über-successful Spider-man and rebooted Batman franchises. Wolverine is stripped of that element. Instead of featuring the wise-ass Logan that we’ve grown fond of seeing Jackman play, Wolverine gives is an always-serious, never-fun Logan. This movie is all-explosion, no-emotion. It’s a mindless action flick. Nothing more.

Who’s going to enjoy X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Teenagers, women who want to see a bare, yet hairy, Hugh Jackman and anyone who enjoyed X-Men 3. For everyone else, if you’re dying for a Wolverine, X-Men or Hugh Jackman fix, then revisit the first two movies. Wolverine isn’t worth your time or your money. But that doesn’t matter. It’ll still make a killing at the box office. Millions will see it (millions have). Some will enjoy it.

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