Saturday, May 23, 2009

Movie Review "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"

So after three X-Men films, 20th Century Fox finally decided that they will do an origin story for the most beloved character out of all the X-Men, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). In "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the audience is supposed to learn why and how Logan becomes the mutant he is today. If you are a die-hard comic fan boy, you will be feeling one of two ways. Either it's "Wow, tell me something I didn't know," or "Did they really just tweak his back-story?"

Logan discovered his powers when he was a little kid in 1845. When he is directly responsible for a couple of deaths, one of them being his father, he and his half-brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) decide to run away and never look back.

We are then told, through a montage of war clips, that the brothers fought in the Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War for the U.S. One has to question how this can happen when they are Canadian.

Both then get recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston) to join an elite team of mutants. After a couple of trial runs with the group, Logan doesn't like the direction this team is heading and decides to leave.

Six years have passed and Logan is now a logger, living in the woods with his lover Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Somehow Victor tracks them down and kills Kayla in the process. Logan is out for revenge, but Stryker insists on helping him out so he can track down Victor. So Stryker puts adamantium into Logan's body and the results are perfect.

For an action film, there really isn't a lot of buzz or excitement. When action is taking place, especially with special effects, we are suppose to be jaw-dropped and gazing with amazement that technology can do such a thing. Instead, it's more of a sigh then a cheer.

What people will notice are more mutants introduced into the film, with a big list that includes Gambit, Deadpool, Agent Zero and an early Cyclops. That's an orgy of mutants, but they do nothing with them. We see a couple of cool tricks, but that is it. It doesn't make sense to add characters into a film if you're not going to divulge a little bit of who they are or what they are capable of.

There are two reasons that keep this movie from being an utter failure. Jackman and Schreiber both fit perfectly well as Logan and Victor. In Jackman's fourth film as Wolverine, he has perfected the mannerisms that are needed to play this character. Whether it's summoning his claws, delivering one-liners or having that angry stare, Jackman brings life to the title character.

Schreiber is a good fit as Victor. Victor has always been the one that is out for blood without thinking of the consequences. All he wants is to kill and Schreiber gives that evil touch to Victor that is sorely needed. It's a good thing when we want both Logan and Victor on screen together.

What ultimately makes this film unsuccessful is inevitably. Given that this is a prequel to the first three X-Men films, we all know that Logan will lose his memory and then go on his way to find out who he really was. So there has to be some type of incentive to watching this film when we all know the end.

This is a lot like "Star Wars Episode III." In the final chapter of the prequel, we all know that Anakin will become Darth Vader. But Lucas kept enough emotion and action to distract us to what we know will be the undoing of Anakin. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" didn't do that. If anything, the audience will leave the theater, scratching their heads and thinking, "that's it?"

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