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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

PG-13 107 minutes

Directed by Gavin Hood
Written by David Benioff, Skip Woods

 · Hugh Jackman
 · Liev Schrieber
 · Ryan Reynolds
 · Will.I.Am.
 · Dominic Monaghan
 · Kevin Durand
 · Danny Huston

Review by Reel American Hero (Mike Keskeys)

 Much has been written about the new film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine in recent months, and most of it bad.  A work print of the film was leaked to the internet a month ago, and controversy and bad publicity for the film follwed after that.  I myself saw the work print, as I'm a huge Wolverine fan and wanted to get a glimpse of the film as soon as I could.  But, I decided to wait until I saw the finished product in theaters before giving an opinion. 

 And before I start, I'd like to say that if you didn't like any of the other X-Men movies, or you're a fan of the comics and hate what the movies ruined about your favorite characters, than right off the bat, you will alternatly either just not like, or flat out despise this movie.    So I'll save you a few minutes of your time right there.




 X-Men Origins: Wolverine starts out with an abbreviated version of the Wolverine: Origin mini series from the comics, in which young James Howlett (Troye Sivan) discovers he has bone claws that protrude from his skin.  After killing the man who killed who he thought was his father, he and his half brother Victor (Michael James-Olson) run away and subsequently fight it seems in every major conflict in American history, leading up to the Vietnam war, when Victor ( now played by Liev Schreiber-The Manchurian Candidate) kills a superior officer and he and his brother Logan (Hugh Jackman) are sentenced to death by firing squad.


  Surviving by their impressive healing abilities, they are recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston-The Number 23) to join his mutant black ops team, along with John Wraith (Will.I.Am. of the Black Eyed Peas), Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand-Lost), Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds-Waiting) and Agent Zero (Daniel Henney).  Things go south after a mission in Nigeria to recover a certain metal, and Logan leaves the team.


  Six years later, he lives in Canada with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (L:ynn Collins-The Number 23,) until she is killed by a vengeful Victor, which sends Logan on the path to becoming Wolverine and joining the Weapon X program.


    I have mixed feelings about this particular film.  More so than any other of the previous X-Men movies.  But before I get into all that, let me just say that I loved Liev Schrieber's performance as Victor Creed.   Just a great job there.  And I'm even cool with the change from the original continuity making him and Logan brothers, it fits in this story, and works for the film.  I hope if any actor comes back for a future Wolverine movie that  Liev Schreiber returns.

 Hugh Jackman continues to play James/Logan/Wolverine like no other actor could play him.  There's not a lot of emotionality to the character, and he just has mostly to look tough, get his ass kicked a bit, and kick some ass, so it's not that broad of a character to play, but that's what Wolverine is.  

 Ryan Reynolds also does an excellent job in his limited role as Wade Wilson, though I was disappointed with the changes made to his character.  A post credits sequence somewhat redeems this though, though it will take a lot of work in a future Wolverine or the rumored Deadpool spinoff film.

Gambit also finally makes his live action appearance, as portrayed by Friday Night Light's Taylor Kitsch.  His performance, is rather hit and miss, with an almost non existant cajun accent, and not really much to do but just show up, say I'm Gambit, and toss a few charged cards around.   Much like the other Marvel cameos in the movie, it's as though they were trying to fit too much stuff for the fans in and not really caring about the story.  But I suppose we can thank the script writers David Benioff (Troy), and Skip Woods (Swordfish) for that.


 Overall the movie feels rather hollow, characters are just set ups for action sequences and fan service cameos from popular and not so popular characters from the comics.   The visual effects at times also are equally hollow, and not convincing in the slightest.  














  But, and I'm sure this is what Fox was thinking when they made this movie, it's a summer blockbuster, who needs plot and exposition when you can have fight(s) and explosion(s).  And this movie offers up plenty of exciting action sequences for your buck, including an awesome chase scene, culminating in Logan jumping onto a helicopter, bringing it to the ground, and then walking away from the cliched but awesome explosion in the background.  


    I also really dug the first and last fights between Logan and Victor, the bar sequence reminded me a lot of their similar encounter from the comics.  And the last fight between  Wolverine, Sabretooth and the overpowered Deadpool on top of a nuclear reactor are pretty damn cool.   



  To sum it up, this movie is a mixed bag.  What works, namely Schreiber's performance and a few of the action sequences work really well, and what doesn't work fails miserably.  Still you could do worse if you're trying to kick off your summer movie season.  It's a time when the most shallow and hollow movies of Hollywood come out.  And I love most of them, but after seeing what greatness can be done with a comic book movie like The Dark Knight, Watchmen or even Iron Man this movie comes off as a bit of a disappointment.  I liked the film, but I wish I could say that it was better. 

954 Words Published: 2 May 2009

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