X-Men Origins - Wolverine Reviews
The only pesky gripe I have with this film is how one of my favorite X-Men characters, Gambit (a New Orleans Card Hustler who charge anything he touches including his playing cards into explosives) was totally underused. In all honesty the character wasn't even needed. I think the film makers threw in the character to please more ardent fanboys than I. With that said however the actor who played him seem to fit the bill.
Hugh Jackman as always is perfect in the roll of Wolverine and Liev Schreiber plays an interesting nemesis. Schreiber provides a portrayal of Sabertooth that is more human and intelligent than previously suggested in the X-Men franchise. He is not the quite the hulking monstrosity he is in the original film but he is very lethal and enjoys making the kill. You definitely see the seeds for a transformation into something more fantastic and typical of comic book lore. Perhaps his transformation into the beastly mutant will be touched on in the sequel; but at the same time, it is not a necessity as Sabertooth's jealousy over Wolverine's acquired abilities is rather apparent and would seem like an obvious conclusion that the villain subjected himself to similar experiments Wolverine went through to manipulate his powers.
If they do a sequel I hope it steers clear of any dealings with X-Men. Remember in the first film when Wolverine first meets the team he knows nothing about them. It was cool seeing cameos of a couple younger versions of X-Men including the Professor but if the characters had gotten any closer in proximity to Wolverine it would seem to be a major contradiction of the overall story arc.
El mejor personaje de los X-Men en la peor y más innecesaria historia de la saga.
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.
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"I'm the best there is at what I do" could hardly be further from the truth.
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. Ryan Reynolds also proves perfectly cast as twisted mercenary Deadpool, thankfully managing to suppress star showiness in favour of suitably manic humour - nonetheless, Reynolds is criminally wasted in a far too brief and insultingly warped butchering of his comics incarnation. Taylor Kitsch, conversely, gives a bland, dopily flat take on fan favourite Gambit, the character's legendary suave charisma as nonexistent as Kitsch's 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.