After multiple warnings from friends, colleagues, and random fan-boys/girls, I braved the movie theater all those years ago and hoped that the critics were wrong about how horrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine was.
It was even worse than I’d imagined. So bad, in fact, that MARVEL may never touch the X-Men Origins line again.
For the most part, the X-Men movie franchise has been good to us. Somehow, FOX Studios® and Marvel® had created a movie brand that not only appeased the old comic-book lovers of the franchise, but was also able to draw in new blood. Everybody liked X-Men. The franchise had gotten so big that prime-time television is on its third season of a hit spin-off, Heroes. They drew in so much new blood that they started releasing new comic-book spin-offs of the X-Men, and everyone and their grandmother bought them.
Hey, I’m not complaining. I enjoyed the ride.
Then, they got greedy. The producers decided to “go back in time” to explain the origins of Wolverine. It wasn’t a bad idea. Out of all the X-Men, both heroes and villains, Wolverine’s back-story is probably the most interesting, aside from Angel/Archangel, and even Jubilee (who’s surrounding story of The Reavers is much more interesting than the character herself. Excuse me, my dorkiness is showing.)
Unfortunately, the producers didn’t feel the same way, and decided to “Hollywood it up” into the piece of drek in theatres today.
I cannot blame the actors. Across the board, I had no complaints. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Wolverine efficiently. He still has that angst-ridden animal nature working for him. Liev Schreiber recasts Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth) well, although he bounces around a little too much like “a cat.” Ryan Reynolds surprised me with the brief time he was on-screen as Wade Wilson (before becoming Deadpool). All his lines had a bit of dry comical wit, just like the Deadpool I enjoyed reading back when I read comic books. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job. Except maybe Jason Lee (from My Name is Earl, Mallrats, etc.) I even enjoyed Dominic Monaghan’s (of LOST and Lord of the Rings fame) short stint as the fearful technolith, Bolt, and Kevin Durand’s Blob. Unfortunately, these latter three characters barely had any screen time. They could only do as much as the script, and a last minute rewrite, allowed them to do.
A major problem seemed to be script and directing. The movie’s intro was a huge step away from the end of the original X-Men trilogy. Instead of the dark drama, that coincided with the death of Scott Summers and the rise of the Dark Phoenix, continuing, the franchise reverted back to comic-book goofiness, where action drives the story and character development plays second fiddle. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that the action is sparse, too. Having Wolverine and Sabretooth run through 4 wars is a nice idea, but looks way too forced on-screen as an intro. It is continued with a short government task force stint, a lot of walking around and lumber-jacking, until finally Wolverine receives his adamantium infusion. And the story gets worse from there, until the final fight with Deadpool himself, which is a travesty to anyone who enjoyed the “merc with a mouth.”
Another thing that bothered me, however small, was the depiction of Wolverine’s claws. I remember the past movies having some decent looking claws coming out of Hugh Jackman’s fists. For some reason, this time around they reminded me more of what they would look like in Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Cool World. This was especially prevalent in the bathroom scene. They looked way too cartoonish. I don’t remember them looking that bad in the trilogy.
I give this movie 1-1/2 smacks upside the heads of Marvel’s and FOX’s producers. Actually, shouldn’t it be 10 out of 5 smacks? Whatever. This crap was bogus. Rent it if you really need to.