Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wolverine was a disappointment.

[Posterity note: Is it hackneyed to use the word "hackneyed" twice in a single post? No? Boffo.]

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a disappointment. I don't want to say too much more than that, because I want others to form their own opinions without prejudice. That being said, I feel some need to prepare others for what awaits them.

I'll start with some of the brighter sides. Jackman still plays a great Wolverine. His Wolverine is probably the best, and possibly only redeeming quality of the entire film. He maintains the qualities and personality that make the character great.

Schreiber does a good job as Sabertooth, though his motivations throughout the movie are somewhat inconsistent. The movie starts with a montage of Wolvie and Sabertooth as half-siblings and eventually brothers-in-arms (which, at least as of yet, never happened in the Origin comics) before joining Team X. And this is fair enough. A couple of things happen, Wolvie and Sabertooth have a falling out and Wolvie leaves, and then, for whatever reason, Sabertooth starts killing off former Team X members. And this is supposedly due to Wolvie breaking his bromance with Sabertooth. Whatever. as Wraith was fine, I guess. As were Dominic Monaghan as...some guy who can control electronics (who was never part of Team X in the comics), and Agent Zero.

The Blob. Why was the Blob in this movie? You will soon as yourself the same question. He was never in any of Wolverine's origin stories, nor was he ever involved in Team X, Department H, or anything remotely relevant. Okay, fine, turning off fanboy mode. Was he an asset to the film? No. And his fight scene with Wolverine was just awful. And pointless. You'll see.

Gambit. I like the guy who played Gambit. I guess. People made a BFD about him finally being in an X-Men film. And I'll point out that, like the Blob, Gambit has absolutely nothing to do with Wolverine's origin story. I guess it took the studio three X-Men films to realize people wanted Gambit involved, so they decided to throw him in the next project, whatever the hell it'd end up being.

*Origin story about Magneto?
Throw Gambit in there.
*No? Storm's origin?
Sure, maybe Storm goes to a restaurant and Gambit is the chef, or something. Cookin' up dat' hot gumbo.
*Naah, the studio is going with Wolverine, guys.
Okay, maybe he'll be at a casino playing cards or something, and Wolverine comes to roust him for information.
*Cheers! Excelsior!

Too bad he's only in it for about 10 minutes. No, he doesn't die or anything like that. He's just not in it as much as the commercials would lead you to believe.

Deadpool. Poor Deadpool. Okay, I can't say too much about Deadpool without spoiling, but what I will say is, for what little it is worth, Ryan Renyolds does a good job portraying the merc with a mouth during the first 15 minutes. But what they do to his character, I believe the word "bastardized" is appropriate.

Which leads me to the main plot. If the film were an accurate or even approximate translation of Wolverine's origin story, I'd excuse the hackneyed plot. And to be honest, for the first 2/3rds of the film, it really came very close. The film then falls into the oh-so-familiar ---

Wolverine - I'm looking for X! Tell me where he is!
Random mutant you'll only see on screen for a total of 8 minutes - No!
Wolverine - I'm gonna fight you!
Random mutant - Okay you win! I don't know where X is, but here is a similarly useful, though comparatively deficient piece of information to help you continue your search!
Wolverine - Boffo.

And ultimately, when you do find out the ultimate goal of the villanous William Stryker, you sir, you, fine, fine sir, will realize how it feels to pay someone 10 dollars to take two hours of your precious life away.

At this point, I really, really, REALLY want to tell you what his goal is. Because it is so insultingly hackneyed.

But aside from that, I think my biggest complaint is that I feel they were so bent on fitting in as many mutants into the film as possible, that each mutant's presence is reduced to little more than a glorified cameo. If they had stuck with the core characters (e.g. sans Blob, Gambit, electric guy) there may have been more time and opportunity to develop the characters of some of the lesser known (but accurate) members of Team X, such as Wraith and Agent Zero (who is Asian in the film but unmistakably German in the comics, but whatever.)

There could have even been time to develop a less-hackneyed plot!