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I'll state my credentials up front: I'm a chick. I have read X-Men
comics in my past, but it's been years. I don't remember every detail
of every relationship and back story, so I'm not a huge X-men expert. I
LOVED the original X-Men movie and X2.
I was so excited when I heard they were making a Wolverine movie. He and Gambit were my two favorite characters from the comics, and Wolverine was by far the best written and one of the best acted characters in the X-Men franchise. I thought, "This should be good!" I counted down the days until it came out. And I went to the theatre, and came out not disappointed, but not excited either. It was a middle-of-the-road movie, which seemed to not know what it wanted to be. But I would say go see it if you're an X-Men or Hugh Jackman fan.
The main crime committed in Wolverine is in the writing. I always say writers don't get enough credit on a good movie. But no amount of good acting (pretty much everyone in Wolverine does well with what they're given) and okay directing can cover up crappy writing like this. The script was all over the place. It didn't have any of the jaunty yet edgy feel of the first two X-Men movies. Wolverine's wisecracks and smart wit were all but forgotten. That would've maybe been okay if they had chosen to make Wolverine the dark, nearly evil character that he was supposed to have been before he lost his memory. But they didn't. He was neither good nor evil. This was ambivalent Wolverine. Kind of Emo Wolverine. Not above doing bad, but not really into it because it made him Feel Bad. No really interesting lines or plot points either way. The writers didn't seem to even know how to develop the relationship between Wolverine and Sabertooth. And was the love story put in by the studio just to satisfy us chicks who wouldn't go a see a comic-book movie without it? If so, the studio did us a great disservice, because if you wanted to make a story about Wolverine the lover (which, hey, I would go see), this movie wasn't that either.
And when I saw in the trailer that Gambit was in the movie, too, I was thrilled! Gambit in a movie, at last! But here he is, the underdeveloped and kind of confusing Gambit. Couldn't he at least have had his New Orleans accent? The cards were cool, but he was mostly underutilized and didn't feel like Gambit that much.
The movie does have some good moments in it where you actually say, "Yes!" I'm not putting spoilers, so I won't tell you what they are, but for me, they made the movie worth seeing. While I wouldn't put it anywhere on my worst-movie list, I wouldn't rank it with X-Men and X2 on my favorites list, either.
Like fellow 2009 superhero release Watchmen, Wolverine is that rare
comic book film which almost appears inevitably more likely to please
audiences that are not fans of the source material. However, unlike
Watchmen, which adhered so closely to its source material that a
falling short by comparison proved inescapable, Wolverine's inevitable
backlash of fan outrage stems from its flagrant disregard for its
source material. The film casually mutilates and re-writes the comic
book context of its source material with the cold disdain of its
protagonist, hacking one of the most genuinely compelling, subversive
and horrifying superhero back-stories into the worst kind of safe,
familiar, PG rated commercial dross. All of Wolverine's compelling
comic book edginess is distilled into a flaccid script which forgoes
exhilaration for only occasionally impressive fight/chase/explosion
scenes, complexity for eye-rolling cheese and broad humour, and story
cohesion for an attempt to cram in far too much subject matter and
avoid the true dramatic meat of the story.
While further focus on the Wolverine/Sabertooth dichotomy could have yielded a narrative volumes stronger, the film continually broadens its scope, seemingly attempting to bank on the in-jokey winks to fans of the comics by hinting at broadening the Marvel universe in further sequels demonstrated in 2008's Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. But while their fan nods were tasteful and enjoyable, Wolverine's attempts at matching them appear to be building up to an almost sinister bid for Fox's superhero franchises to compete. Recognizable X-Men characters are continually shoehorned into minuscule parts (fans of Deadpool, Blob, Gambit or, *groan*, Cyclops don't go in expecting much but disappointment) for seemingly the sole purpose of leapfrogging off Wolverine's story into their own spin-offs. However, such an overflowing mass of secondary characters only serves the dual purpose of both derailing Wolverine's story and not even serving to satisfy comic fans clamouring to see their favourite characters on screen, as the fleeting, shallow depictions hardly prove satisfying character development by any stretch of the imagination. If the filmmakers choose to tackle established characters to appease fan expectations, doing nothing with the characters (let alone doing them far from 'properly') hardly seems a suitable way to satisfy a demanding audience.
Director Gavin Hood (known for excellent African drama Tsotsi of all things) has been vocal about his clashes with the studio over the film, and one can only assume, given his excellent credentials, that most of his proposed changes would have been for the better. As it is, Hood demonstrates a shaky directorial presence at best, masking his action scenes in whirling cameras making it near impossible to see, and complimenting most tense or dramatic scenes with a cascade of Harry Gregson-Williams' tiresomely banal and clichéd musical score. That is not to say the film is entirely devoid of quality, but it is reduced to occasional fleeting moments (sporatic bursts of creativity during fight scenes, a promising African raid plot point, and an undeniably gripping if under-explored sequence of Wolverine going through the Weapon X program). But, like the irritatingly freeze-frame beset but otherwise clever opening montage (showcasing Wolverine's progression through numerous world wars) such quality is often overshadowed by cringe-worthy prevailing flaws making it all the more difficult to appreciate.
Ironically for the film situating him most justifiably in the lead role, Hugh Jackman gives his weakest performance in his foundational role as Wolverine. While Jackman's natural charisma and steely credibility still make him a far more sturdy enough lead than his film deserved, his under-exploring of Wolverine's feral ferocity and darkness still leaves an ultimately unsatisfying taste in the mouth. Despite initial skepticism of miscasting, Liev Schreiber proves far more resonant as Wolverine's animalistic adversary Sabretooth, providing a savagely threatening yet controlled performance, which, despite falling short of the true animalistic frenzy Sabretooth should have been, proves one of the more successful attributes of the film. Similarly, Danny Huston provides a welcome dash of class as Machiavellian military official William Stryker, managing to overcome the shortcomings of an underwritten character with an impressively realized, wonderful presence. Surprisingly, Ryan Reynolds also proves welcomely appealing as twisted mercenary Deadpool, thankfully managing to suppress star showiness in favour of suitably manic humour - nonetheless, Reynolds remains tragically saddled in a far too brief role. Taylor Kitsch does not prove as strong as fan favourite Gambit - while not an outright disappointment, Kitsch stunts the character's legendary suave charisma as much as his Cajun accent, doing little to justify his character's near pointless addition.
While it may function suitably as mindless summer entertainment, the inherent complexity in Wolverine's backstory makes its reduction to such a near outright insult to fans of the comic source material. If left as a standalone film, Wolverine might have been dismissible as a mostly harmless disappointment, but with such blatant spin off begging, it evolves into something far more objectionable. While the film has its moments, as a cohesive unit it can be considered nothing less than a tragic waste of potential, floundering any inherent quality in gaping plot holes and unnecessary obvious comedy or "tearjerking" scenes. Wolverine's adage of him being "the best I am at what I do" could hardly be farther than the truth when applied to his film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
All of the X-Men movies were great. And I mean all of them, including
the long hated X-Men 3. They had solid characters (Magneto and Xavier
were the best ones, in my opinion), and a good story arch.
I was all excited when I heard this movie was on production, and my expectations grew bigger and bigger until I saw the movie. I was so disappointed.
Hugh Jackman is not a bad actor (his best movie is The Fountain, although you won't hear about this movie when they talk about the actor), and his acting is not what screws the movie up.
The whole film is plagued with lots of meaningless characters that add nothing to the plot (like Blob or Gambit), which were tossed there to make fans believe that the film makers had read the original comics.
I am a fan of XMen, I have read many, many of their stories and this movie respected none of them. None. Not even the continuity. It doesn't respect Weapon X project, or the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth, or Emma Frost, the motivations for wolverine are plain stupid and seen in millions of movies: Revenge for the death of a loved one.
Oh. What I was expecting the whole darn movie was a Berseker moment for Wolverine similar to the one he has in X2 in the school when Stryker men come in and he alone decimates the enemy forces, but hey, this is Fox, this a family flick and you will not see explicit violence from the most violent and gruesome Marvel hero.
Besides, I had a feeling of constant dejá vù with this movie because Wolverine's Origins are already explained in X2, we already know how he got his adamantium skeleton so it kind of does not make sense to make a movie of something we already know.
I personally believe that wolverine is one of those few characters that does not need a solid back-story because mystery is the nature of the character. Do we really want to know how the Joker got his scars?
The superhero genre reached a higher echelon in 2008 with "Iron Man"
and "The Dark Knight," and considering the success of 2/3 of the X-Men
franchise so far, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" can certainly be held to
those standards, especially a movie whose title alone suggests getting
right down to its hero's adamantium core.
But "Wolverine" plays more like a spin-off, defining "origins" as the back story and not the psychological workings of the character. It's weak on themes, but loaded on more new mutants with new powers, explosions and plenty of subplots. Basically, it fails where "X-Men 3" did, trying to do too much at once, rushing the plot along and sacrificing the deeper reason audiences are drawn to Hugh Jackman's character other than he's cool and has a crude, sarcastic sense of humor. However, it succeeds much of the same way X3 did and beyond: more explosive action and creative use of an immense visual effects budget. Although director Gavin Hood doesn't bring more insight into the film with his work, he certainly has as good of an eye for the stylish as anyone.
The first sign that you know this movie isn't going to be top tier for superhero flicks is the number of mutants/villains. For a story about one, singular X-man, there are way too many other characters to follow: Col. Stryker is their ringleader, but Sabretooth (Schriber), Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Reynolds), Bolt (Monaghan), Gambit (Kitsch), Wraith (will.i.am), Agent Zero, the Blob and young Cyclops (not to mention a slough of extras) make the film dizzying. Especially at the beginning, we need to see more Wolverine -- it's his movie.
To the film's credit, its quick movement makes it easy to watch and entertaining and there's some surprisingly good comedic timing on Jackman's part for an action movie. Seriously though, it must have been a blast (no pun intended) on the set during action sequences because they actually destroyed everything they possibly could: CGI, real and both. This film is the beginning of what will surely be mind-blowing visual effects at the movies this summer. Hood gives new visual strength to the franchise and provides a much more epic feel to this film -- it's clearly about this grand journey for Wolverine, even if it's more spectacle than introspective.
Surprisingly, the ending was the most satisfying part of the film. All the subplots converge, it makes sense and the loose ends that fans of the first three films will notice get tied up fittingly at the end. For the whole first hour of the film you're juggling Wolverine and Sabretooth's rivalry, Stryker's team of guys with powers, Wolverine's romance with Kayla out in the wilderness, what's happening to the team of guys with powers ... why the heck kid Cyclops is in the movie ... it's not overwhelming, it's just not as enjoyable when you can't focus on one thing or character as much as you'd like. Still, the ending justifies the strange means, at least in terms of the epic battle that ensues.
"Wolverine" is not a travesty for the genre, but it certainly doesn't meet the expectations for a thorough superhero movie experience. You get amped up action and style over meaning and that makes it entertainment more than catharsis. Expect to be entertained and little else and "Wolverine" will satisfy your itch for the summer movie season.
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Wolverine is a decent movie. It is worth the price of admission and the
2 hours of screen time. The movie works well as a prequel of the events
of the X-Men movies. However, to enjoy the movie, one must suspend
knowledge of the comic book material. The movie was made for the
average movie-goer and a little for the ultra hardcore X-Men comic book
reader. The story has everything anyone could want: family, a little
romance, love, comedy, revenge and plenty of action.
I was pleased with most of the acting. I will admit that some dialogue seems forced from the minor cast, but the main characters - Wolverine, Sabretooth, etc. - all work well together. The story did seem a little rushed and choppy at times, however. The 1:45 time goes by quickly enough to feel like maybe the movie could have - and should have - been closer to 2:00.
The movie is as good as the first X-Men movie, and better than X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand. I am actually looking forward to seeing how they handle the Magneto origins movie that's being made. And I am really hoping that all of this work brings it together for a possible X-Men 4. I know you agree with me because after all, I know everyone is dying to see Apocalypse as the bad guy.
My only real complaint of the movie is that Gambit (my favorite X-Men character) did not have as much screen time as I'd hoped. He better either get his own movie, or make an appearance in a later Marvel movie.
Ignore the syndicated critics and the negativity surrounding this movie. I'm glad I did. Go see it. Don't let people scare you away from spending your money on this movie. Form your own opinions. Oh, and if you go, stay after the credits.
Forget the reviews that focus on dialogue (it's a comic book character, of course it's clichéd) or other types of thing you may look for in movies like a Room With A View. In this movie you want to see cool action, cool use of superpowers, great fights with CGI that is not obvious and some tension about what happens next. This movie has it all. Academy awards? No. Amazing plot? No, but enough to keep it very interesting, with answers like where Adamantium comes from, Sabretooth and Wolverine relationship, introduction of Deadpool, early view of Cyclops, and much more that keeps the movie going along just fine. This is a solid action film, better than most.
I saw this movie over the weekend. When it was over, I kind of sighed,
shrugged and said it was okay.
I gave the movie a 5 which I think is pretty darn generous. Here's the positives of the movie. The actors are very good. Hugh Jackman, Liev, Ryan Reynolds are all very good actors, and each of them play their roles well. There was action, action, explosions, and more explosions. There certainly wasn't any shortage of eye candy. I think most Wolverine fans would probably like this movie.
Here's the negatives. We all learned the hard way when X-Men 3 came out, that Fox could seem to care less about the source material. They just want to make action moves with lots of special effects. Wolverine is a testament to that same disappointing philosophy. While Wolverine fans may like the movie, "Marvel" fans will probably feel a little ill.
I'm surprised that they haven't figured out yet why Marvel's movies are blockbusters (Iron Man, The Hulk), and thiers are always sub-par. Marvel uses good stories, acting, and smart witty scripts to keep us interested. Every half baked, killed off for the movie, or completely ruined character Fox throws in there just ruins the experience for a fan somewhere. Marvel may modernize the stories, but they respect the source material. Not only does that make comic fans happy, but the stories tend to make more sense, and have more relatable characters.
On a side note, the fact that Fox apparently has the rights to Deadpool makes me want to cry. Give it back to Marvel so we can get a decent movie, without blades coming out of his arms and lasers out his eyes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Soulless milking of cash cow franchise. Generic superhero flick. CGI
showcase. Gavin Hood's "A Series of Improbable Events." Combinatoric
iteration of mutant fight scenes strung together by inane exposition
justifying formation/dissolution of arbitrary alliances. I'm not
expecting Shakespeare here but the cliché per minute meter was off the
charts: Primal scream while looking skyward and kneeling over murdered
girlfriend. Renegade military commander. Predictable double crosses.
Revenge sought for slain lover. Erased memories. Evil character
discovering morality at last minute. Misguided failures to execute
nemeses after defeating them in melee. Lover not really dead. Lover
actually acting as spy for hero's arch-nemesis. Girlfriend/spy actually
falls for protagonist. Good people work for antagonist in order to save
kidnapped family members. Evil mastermind fails to honor promises to
reluctant employees. Kindly old couple care for weary hero and get
murdered for their troubles. Certain deaths averted as third parties
arrive on scene before coup de grace. Hero reluctantly joining secret
government agency. Abandonment of elite squad in protest over slaughter
of innocents. Scientists unable to control indestructible killing
machine of their own creation. Outdated but lovable government 'secret
weapon' kills off better designed but heartless successor. Hero strolls
away from wreck and casually lights a trail of gasoline behind him.
After everyone has given up, flatlined heart monitor picks up a pulse.
Evil mastermind explains plans to hero he no longer sees as a threat.
Hero refuses to kill defeated foe because he's "better than that".
Transparent comic relief character makes hilarious understatements and
offbeat comments. Cheerful psychopath revels in random murderous
rampages. Nigh indestructible Goliaths hurl one another through a
series of walls and other physical traumas that would kill a mere
mortal. Man dispatches dozens of gun wielding enemies with nothing but
skillful swordplay. Common sense and the laws of physics, biology and
chemistry temporarily abandoned. Antagonist using loved one's murder as
justification for misguided crusade.
I could go on but this is just exhausting. If you're over the age of twelve and not living in mom's basement, there's probably nothing here for you. Depressingly enough, it's not too far off of par for superhero movies so discount all I've written if you can't get enough of the genre.
This film was slated to be a blockbuster film, and it really is. This
is the type of movie that is made to eat popcorn to and watch the
flashy graphics. With that in mind, the movie delivers, perhaps not as
well as the ultra flashy Iron Man, but well enough. Outside of the
popcorn munching action and special effects, the film drops off of the
cliff faster than Wile E. Coyote.
Many viewers, myself included, will complain about how most of the characters were severely altered, but that only makes the film a poor adaptation, not a poor film. This film is unsatisfactory for other reasons. The makers focused more on making it appealing to the eye than they did to the mind. The characters that have been long awaited and promoted are reduced to 4-scene cameos. The main characters of Wolverine, Victor Creed (never called Sabertooth in the film) and Colonel Stryker are well developed. I was pleasantly surprised by Liev Schriber's performance. The rest of the characters are tossed to the wayside to make way for the all important eye-candy. Wolverine's character is fully developed after 30-minutes, as is Sabertooth, though Victor does pull off some surprises late in the film.
The "final boss" of the film is a twisted and perverse adaptation of the original character and barely gets any development to show just why he is the way he is. The filmmakers obviously felt that all they really needed to do was create a bad ass character who could do anything they wanted and slapped on the name of a popular character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
X-Men Origins: Wolverine joins a whole host of films that's become a
genre all its own in the last few years. An established film series
taking a character back to its roots to reboot the series. Casino
Royale, Batman Begins and the upcoming Star Trek are to name but a few
If you were going to choose an X-Man to frame an origin story around, there is no one better than Wolverine. He's always been the most interesting character in X-Men. Perhaps because while all the others in the team use their mutant powers for the betterment of mankind, Logan's bad attitude makes him something of a wild card. One never to be entirely trusted.
I thought the idea of Wolverine getting his own movie was immensely exciting. Especially when Hugh Jackman agreed to reprise the role. And I'm pleased to say it was worth the wait. Quite a few have been quick to poke holes in the film's script, but I didn't feel disappointed with it at all. I felt it did Wolverine justice. Its a worthy addition to the series.
To side with a few nitpickers, 20th Century Fox and director Gavin Hood have taken a few liberties. Not just with the backstory, but also by breaking continuity with the other films in the series. For one, Logan's metal skeleton has always been the result of an experiment done to him against his will. But in Wolverine, here he willingly goes through with it, to get revenge on Sabretooth for killing his lover.
Also we get to meet a young Cyclops who runs into Logan. But no mention is made of that in the first film. They act like they've never met. Still, in spite of rewriting some of what we already know, Wolverine does a quite excellent job of bringing a lot of Logan's past into focus. All through a combination of Gavin Hood's involving, kinetic direction, David Benioff and Skip Woods' screenplay, and another excellent performance from the great Hugh Jackman.
The opening credit sequence stayed with me more than anything else in the film. We watch as Logan and Sabretooth (half-brothers in this version) grow up and go to war. The Civil War. Both World Wars. Vietnam. And then finally they go to war on each other. They're both recruited by William Stryker (who you may remember from X2) to work in a special covert operations team. But while Logan and Sabretooth may seem similar, they are quite different.
They may be part animal, but Sabretooth likes it a lot more than Logan does. Nor does Logan share Sabretooth's love of killing. So when he strikes out on his own, how much are you willing to bet that it isn't long before Logan's past comes back to haunt him?
It didn't take me long at all to become enthralled in Wolverine's life history. Some people have criticised the idea of Logan and Sabretooth becoming brothers, but I felt it added an additional level of gravitas. It made Sabretooth's betrayal that much more potent. And I quite liked the way David Benioff and Skip Woods attempt to humanise Wolverine.
Some of the best scenes in the film have nothing to do with large scale action sequences or revved up pyrotechnics. Some of the most touching and most moving moments is watching Wolverine trying to fit into a normal life. Away from wars and mortal enemies. And ultimately failing. His relationship with Kayla (nicely played by Lynn Collins), a seemingly ordinary human woman is quite affecting. Watching her take on the near impossible task of taming Logan's primal side is involving. Both Jackman and Collins shine in these scenes. Or the scene when Logan befriends an elderly couple. Who pay a terrible price for taking him in.
But Hood doesn't disappoint on the action front either. Wolverine has some breathtaking action scenes. Logan being chased by helicopter while on a bike is a real adrenaline pumper. And as it moves towards its climax, in a thrilling fight on top of a cooling tower, the film becomes something that makes you want to cry out for joy. This film really needs to be seen on a cinema screen. The photography of the Canadian Rockies provides a dazzling backdrop for the final fight. One suspects the film will lose a lot in the transfer when it goes to DVD.
The acting is all superb. Hugh Jackman is expectedly excellent. He dives into Logan's animal nature with pure, undiluted relish. But more importantly, he always knows the need to dial it down too, giving us that even more crucial chance to see inside the soul of Wolverine. I was a little wary to begin with when I learned Liev Schrieber would play Sabretooth. I just couldn't envision him in the role but he's a revelation. He brings a real meanness to the part. Something Tyler Mane never had in X-Men. You can see in his performance why it is that Logan hates him so much. The two have marvellous sparkage whenever they're paired together.
There are times when the film lapses perhaps too much into the realm of the comic book (I'm thinking of The Blob as I write this), but for the most part, Gavin Hood treats the material with the utmost respect. It ends on a shocking downer that also manages to tie in neatly with the first X-Men film. The script has many surprises that leaves you as jolted and embittered as poor Logan. A highly enjoyable film that exceeds all expectations, and the best X-Men adventure since X2.
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