X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Synopsis: This pulse-pounding action thriller sinks razor-sharp adamantium claws into the mysterious origins of Logan/Wolverine: his epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), and the ominous Weapon X program that unleashes his primal fury. Along the way, Wolverine also encounters legendary new mutants, including Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). You’ll go “berserker” for this deeper, darker, more-spectacular-than-ever chapter of the X-Men saga!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine 3.5

For those of you with time constraints, let me get to the point. This load of bollocks movie can be reduced to but a few words:

One word: Jimmy
Two words: Ryan Reynolds
Three words: will.i.am

That’s three reasons why this movie sucks @$$. If that’s not clear enough for you, let me explain:

Item one: Logan has always been a perfect name for Wolverine. Jimmy is a debilitating name for a character such as Wolverine – and we shouldn’t have had to hear it for half the bloody movie. That’s like calling the original Terminator “Billy” (think about that for a moment!).

Item two: Van Wilder. Need I say more?

Item three: The moment a Black Eyed Pea is in your superhero film, you know you’re in for a world of pain. I like some of their music, truth be told, but they’re NOT actors. Sure, it’s a notch above Hilary Duff or Busta Rhymes – but anything is. It simply shows just how desperate the moviemakers were to attract a pop audience.

Another indicator that they were fishing to catch a mainstream audience is the title: they couldn’t just call it ‘Wolverine’, which is succinct and cooler. They likely figured that the average person wouldn’t make the connection and think it’s a wildlife film. Or, god forbid, a horror film. No, they had to associate it to the popular X-Men franchise first and foremost. That way they were guaranteed that families would go see this instead of The Hannah Montana Movie. Urgh.

And nothing says “piece of crap movie” like filmmakers doing everything imaginable (selling everything out) to appeal to the masses. Profit over art is always a bad recipe.

Okay, so only a few words are needed to justify avoiding this film like the plague. But, if for some reason you should remain unconvinced, let me give you a few more.

(Sigh… where to begin…?)

First let me start by explaining Wolverine in broad terms:

Wolverine is NOT a hero. He’s an anti-hero. Not quite a villain, but certainly not someone who plays by all the rules. Not someone you would bring home to meet the folks, you know? He’s a shade darker than Dirty Harry, let’s say. Wolverine is feral and is not easily tamed. Wolverine is a short, stout, hairy, ugly, mean sonovabitch.

So when Hugh Jackman was (mis)cast as the character, it was already hard to take. He played the part relatively well, but he barely looks it. Taken to an extreme, I’m sure Michael J Fox could play a mean Hulk, but would he be ideal for the role? Not so sure. With Jackman on board, Wolverine is more like a grumpy fox.

In his hands, Wolverine is almost as amiable as Clint Eastwood was in ‘Any Which Way But Loose’. You may be a fan of the movie, and it was a box office smash, but you have to admit that it wasn’t Eastwood at his best. It was a far cry from Dirty Harry, for instance. And, let’s face it, Wolverine shouldn’t be amiable.

He’s so cuddly in this film that we discover that he had himself transformed only to get revenge for the death of his girlfriend. Warms your heart, doesn’t it? He did it for Love! Wait-a-minute… he did it for Love? He did it FOR LOVE?!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! WTF! Wolverine is NOT sappy and mushy. And this clichéd take is SO stale it makes me sick to my stomach. Honestly, how many times have you seen THAT before?

Then again, he’s called “Jimmy” in this version of the story. I hate to harp on it, but you could only wimp him out more if you gave him a girl’s name. Like ‘Sally’ or ‘Betty’. Imagine for a moment fighting wars side-by-side with a calloused grunt named ‘Ginger’. Doesn’t work, does it? Neither does “Jimmy”. It works great if you want to go play catch with him – but not if you’re gonna go carve up the enemy.

Speaking of grunts… has anyone ever noticed that Jackman’s arms are too slim to hold three massive blades in them? The original, stocky character could easily conceal these blades, but my impression is that Jackerine’s arms have got to be completely hollowed out without those blades in ’em. But that’s movie magic for ya, isn’t it?

The story revolves around his relationship with his brother, who is also supposed to be Sabretooth. Except that he’s only called Victor in the film – which is a step up over Jimmy, but which inspires very little dread. Plus which he looks like a scuzzbag, whereas the original Sabretooth looked the name (as did the one from the original X-Men films, actually). If only Schreiber had donned long hair, that would have help a little bit. Wearing tan and brown instead of black would have been another good thing.

Now where was I…? Oh yeah…

Sabret… uh… Victor, is supported by what has to be some of the worst rope-work in recent memory. They made him leap about like some kind of animal-man, but it looks so unnatural that it was a total eye-sore. You’d think with all that money, they’d be able to make the guy look like gravity has an effect on him. Sadly, he looks worse than the average CGI character, virtually floating about on all fours.

Thankfully Schreiber wasn’t fully miscast; he chews it up a bit, but he’s alright. Sadly, aside from Jackman (who is respectable, if uninspired), we were treated to b-grade acting from almost everyone involved. The only way to make these types of character real is to provide actors who can make the audience feel. This cast was so shoddy that even the somnambulists in the ‘Fantastic 4’ movies were award winners in comparison.

…Ryan Reynolds and will.i.am are only symptoms.

Two of many.

Anyway, Jimmy Wolverine is all upset because his girlfriend gets killed and he buys wholesale into an old boss’ plan to supe him up so that he may exact his revenge. No questions asked, no fine print read, no nothing. Well, nothing comes for free, bright boy! Obviously, at the very least, they’re gonna ask for something in return. But nooooooooo! Our Jimmy has complete faith, is blinded by hatred, or both. Gah!

So what they do to him is add adamantium to his bones. He already has keen senses, healing factor and his claws, but now he’s indestructible on top of this. The process of lacing adamatium to his body took 5 mins. 5 MINUTES!!! Covering his WHOLE skeleton with metal should have been a process that takes months, if only because it’s not as simple as injecting it (like they do here) – it requires MASSIVE surgery!

But I guess the filmmakers couldn’t afford months of footage, and were worried that the audience might doze off while they waited.

And then what happens? Jimmy Wolverine recovers immediately. Like, right away! C’mon, even in the comics, despite having healing factor, he sometimes needed recovery time after sustaining his injuries. And this is MAJOR stuff he’s gone through. Or, at least, it should be. He also doesn’t even bat an eye when his body, now inexplicably covered in metal (he didn’t know what he was signing up for!), should have been weighed down like mad. He probably would have needed rehabilitation to adjust to his new frame.

But, again, the filmmakers probably thought that days or weeks of real-time rehab would bore the audience.

It’s like the whole aging thing. Due to his healing factor, Jimmy Wolverine lives much longer than the average person. In this version of the tale, he was born in the 1800s. As was his brother Sabret… Victor. Except that they both become adults really quickly and then remain the same age forever. So what gives? I thought it would have been a slow process to get to adulthood and that he would have aged slowly his whole life – so he couldn’t have been born in the 1800s, or would at least have been a kid for decades.

Of course, after Jackerine gets his adamantium, he decides to run away (it’s too convoluted to bother explaining). The people who did this to him try to catch him (or were they just trying to kill him?). Obviously they should have known how futile an exercise this is, seeing as they fully know his abilities (old and new). It’s stupid enough that they didn’t have some safeguards in place to prevent him from escaping, but to bother trying to kill him afterwards is absolutely ridiculous… I mean, it’s a solid steel dumb@$$ thing to do.

Honestly, there are far too many issues on so many levels in this film to even bother continuing. After the midway point in the film I just gave up and stopped taking notes. Suffice it to say that this is a bigger load of horse droppings than I ever could have imagined. And I knew it was supposed to be a dismal affair long before watching it.

Seriously, if you strip away the budget and the so-called big-name actors, what you’ve got here is a b-movie of the sort I’ve seen all too often lately. It’s about the same quality as the ‘40s/’70s/’90s Captain America shows, the 2011 Wonder Woman TV pilot, the 1994 Fantastic Four movie, the 1940 Batman and Robin serials, …etc. There is worse (think the ‘80s ‘Supergirl’ movie), but this beast should have been put down before it did any damage.

To think that Wolverine was once my favourite character. But they diluted him into a shadow of his former self; everything I loved about him is completely gone.

Well, on the bright side, at least they didn’t have him sing and dance (I know that Jackman likes to do that sort of thing!). And one really good thing came from this viewing: I ate some fantastic tomato sandwiches. They were truly delightful – especially the one with the Smokin’ Stampede Mayo on it. Yum!

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