X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) PG-13 107min
May 1st, 2009 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 32,765 Views
A prequel to X-Men (2000), X-Men 2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), directed by Gavin Hood (directed famous award-winning Tsotsi), written by David Benioff and Skip Woods.
The plot: A brief history of James Logan (Hugh Jackman) begins with his childhood in 1845 in Northern Territory. When his brother Victor kills their father and tells James that they are both mutants. The movie fast-forwards through the life of two brothers over the next two and a half centuries, mostly as soldiers in various wars, where they used their supermen abilities to survive and sharpen their skills. Their skills didn’t come unnoticed – they are recruited into a secret special operations military unit that includes other mutants. Over the decades, James proves to be an American patriot, while Victor begins to enjoy the killing, which ultimately leads to their separation. In the modern days, James Logan lives a peaceful private life with a school teacher. But that life is about to come to an abrupt end: his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber), now calling himself Sabretooth, has killed most of mutants from their unit and then… James’s girlfriend. Vowing to avenge her death, James goes through the Weapon X program. He is now in pursuit of his brother – just what Victor wants.
The good: Several interesting plot twists. Hugh Jackman got so buff for this role after a whole year pumping iron that even his wife said, “Hugh, this is ridiculous”. It’s funny how a guy can be so pumped and at the same time dance and sing at the Oscars… He shows his metal claws a lot and uses his superpowers to make stuff behind him explode and burn.
The best performance, however, belongs to Liev Schreiber – it is his performance and his character that the whole movie hinges on.
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson was well cast.
The plot comes together in the end with a neat transition into the follow-up X-Men movies.
Nice locations – the woods, mountains and a small town were beautiful. Nice opening sequence.
The bad: Choppy story. Over-the-top acting, even for superheroes. It would be better if they toned it down a little. Too little character development for secondary roles, even the X-Men. There’s too much focus on superhero skills, fighting and blowing stuff up, but there’s little humanity in these characters. There are only a few scenes where mutants are portrayed as freaks and rejects of society, and as the result, rather then explaining their behavior through storyline they have to talk about it a remind viewers about their circumstances. Other mutants have almost zero screen time, and as the result they are practically meaningless. The whole brotherhood as relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth is lost, and instead replaced with Victor saying twice in the movie, “we are brothers and we stick together”. Why did Wolverine leave the love of his life dead in the woods – no proper burial? Why did Wolverine try to stop his elder brother Victor from becoming blood-thirsty thug for centuries, but in Stryker’s team he quits both serving his country and trying to save his brother? Why did Stryker waste so many people trying to stop Wolverine when he knew from the start that only adomanium bullets can harm him? The Weapon X transformation was explained as “unimaginably painful” but it didn’t look like one. No interesting lines or dialogs.
Some sequences are an indication of a genius at work, but the good deed get overshadowed by mostly flashy but pointless mutants-doing-mutant-things action scenes.
** Disclosure ** – I’m not a fan of X-Men movies. I think the original X-Men (2000) were better, but not good enough to convince me to see other two X-Men movies.
The summary: This movie milks a profitable franchise for money. It adds nothing to what we already know about characters from the previous X-Men movies. A chase and action scenes are just filling the time.
The cast: Logan/Wolverine – Hugh Jackman | Victor Creed / Sabretooth - Liev Schreiber | William Stryker - Danny Huston | John Wraith - Will i Am | Kayla Silverfox - Lynn Collins | Chris Bradley / Bolt - Dominic Monaghan | Remy LeBeau / Gambit - Taylor Kitsch | David North / Agent Zero - Daniel Henney | Wade Wilson / Deadpool - Ryan Reynolds | Weapon XI - Scott Adkins | General Munson - Stephen Leeder
The crew: Director – Gavin Hood | Writers – David Benioff, Skip Woods | Producers – Richard Donner, Louis G. Friedman, Hugh Jackman, Stan Lee, John Palermo, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter | Music – Harry Gregson-Williams | Cinematography – Donald McAlpine
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