So what do you do when you have the most popular X-Men character of all time, two great leading actors, legions of diehard fans, and a huge production budget to work with? Well, what you probably shouldn’t do is strip away any shreds of personality from the lead characters, eliminate pesky things like character development and dialogue and focus solely on packing as many clichéd action movie moments as you can into the shattered dreams of comic book fans everywhere. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what X-Men Origins: Wolverine does.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a bad movie that goes wrong in so many places it’s hard to focus on any one. But let’s start with the title for example. “X-Men Origins,” ok so this is going to tell us about the origin of Wolverine and that mysterious past of his which was hinted at heavily in the previous X-Men movies, right? Wrong. In the ultimate example of a contradictory misnomer, this movie actually raises more questions than it answers.
We learn Wolverine is possibly the oldest mutant alive, yet we learn nothing about the actual origin of the mutation. We learn Wolverine’s real father kills the man Wolverine had believed to be his father yet were left in the dark as too why. From there Logan (Wolverine) and his brother Victor (Sabertooth) go on the run. From who? who knows. We watch a fun montage of Wolverine and Sabertooth fighting in every war from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam but why they do this is a mystery. Everything else we learn isn’t new to anyone who’s seen X-2 as much of this movie is essentially the flash back cut scenes of X-2: X_Men United stretched out. In fact the only question it does answer is how Wolverine got amnesia, and that wasn’t very exciting or climactic either since we all knew it was going to happen.
The biggest problem with the film lies within its characters and the character development, or lack there of. Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber are two great actors whose talent goes underappreciated in Wolverine. In the film, Hugh and Schreiber are reduced to snarling and growling brutes that are light on dialogue but heavy on grunts. The entirety of Hugh’s dialogue can be summed up in his brief moments of exposition about his feelings. “Grrr i’m mad, Grr i’m fed up, Grr i’m sad.” The supporting casts of actors are equally wasted as for the most part, they simple pop in to show off their mutant powers and then are either just forgotten about or killed off.
There is almost no redeeming quality to this movie. The action scenes are many in number but less then spectacular, (the helicopter scene from the trailer is pretty much as extreme as it gets). There is no reason to care about any character in the movie since the main characters can’t be killed and are emotionally devoid and the remaining characters are on screen so briefly you don’t even learn many of their names. The missing CG elements from the leaked version probably made it more aesthetically pleasing than the final copy. In certain scenes Wolverines claws are rendered so terribly it will leave you wondering why they didn’t just save the early 90’s CG and just go with a physical movie prop.
The overall polish is missing as well. In the previous X-Men films we saw Wolverine get wounded and watched in awe as the cuts, gouges, and broken bones healed before our eyes through the wonder of movie magic. It really added a sense of believability to the character’s healing ability. In Origins, these minute details are not even present. Hugh stays picture perfect throughout the film, not even shedding a single drop of rendered blood let alone a ripped article of clothing. The list of flaws goes on and on.
To make a movie this bad, you have to consciously go out of your way to do so, and I’m convinced either Gavin Hood (the director) intended to do or he was bitten by the corporate greed bug. Considering Wolverine is franchise gold, I’ll assume the latter. What really is the point of developing a well polished and thought out movie with internally conflicted, round characters and real world social dynamics as a back drop like in X-2, when you can just take the fan service route and basically shove as many mutants into 107 minutes of film in an obvious plea to generate more spin-off franchises knowing you’ll make millions in the end, simply off the name Wolverine?
Don’t see this movie. The leaked unedited version is pretty much as good as it gets.