X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Decided to interrupt my seemingly endless film review catch-up to review the brand new X-Men prequel. Er…that’s it… Blah blah blah. End communication.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

 

It’s been a while since the last X-Men film. I’ve always thought that out of the Marvel superheroes, the X-Men suited film best (yes, even over my beloved Spider-Man), so I’m always going to be first in line for any X-Men related goodness. After the hugely disappointing “…Last Stand” in 2006, it looked like the franchise was done for. After much Ratner strangulation, Fox heard the word “prequel” and decided to kick a Wolvie film into production. However, without the back-up of a memorable team including classic characters such as Weatherella, Beam Eyes and Baldy Crippleface, would the clawed one be able to carry a film by himself?

“Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in…”

Beastly badass Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a member of elite military mutant squadron Team X, led by William Stryker (Danny Huston), before he became all Brian Cox-ish. But when he tries to leave violence behind to become a family man, he finds his past catching up with him in brutal fashion — not least his carnage-loving half-brother Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). We’re not really presented with anything new here, but I can forgive this because it adheres to the various Wolverine origin stories quite religiously in places. Hugh Jackman was as good as ever as Wolverine, but I really liked Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth, giving us a huge change from Tyler Mane’s snarling brick shithouse in the original “X-Men”. However, the Sabretooth character was a bit too much like “Heroes” baddie Sylar for my liking. Still, an improvement. Will.I.Am’s inclusion was as needless as it was baffling. I liked Dominic Monaghan’s Bolt though, but again he was largely ignored.

I liked the intro too, with the film whipping through pretty much every American war ever with a frenetic speed. Although it was a bit Dr.Manhattan, it was good to see Wolverine and Sabretooth show Spielberg how he should have done the Omaha Beach landings- with superpowers! I liked Team X too, it was such a damn shame we didn’t get to see more of Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson/Deadpool though as he was by far the most interesting character. One of my main problems with “…Wolverine” was the fact that we don’t see much of Wilson for the first act, he’s completely omitted from the second and he turns up in the third fully transformed into Deadpool. If you’re going to include a fan-favourite character, at least show him some respect. It’s like the whole Venom situation in “Spider-Man 3”.

The action sequences were very impressive, with a lot of money clearly being spent on huge explosions. The stand-outs for me were the war montage, the Wolverine vs helicopter bit and the Three Mile Island showdown. The only part that was disappointing in terms of action was the Las Vegas alley scrap between Wolverine, Sabretooth and Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) who was, like Deadpool and Bolt, criminally underused. Unfortunately, the film has plot holes you could pilot the X-Jet through. For example, Stryker states that after the operation, the only way to kill Wolverine was with Adamantium bullets, but later changes his mind and says they’ll only wipe his memory. Huh? I realise they had to wipe Logan’s memory at the end, but couldn’t they have come up with something better than that? Having said that, I liked the classic shot of Wolverine carrying Kayla (Lynn Collins) into the sunset, only for Stryker’s gun to emerge and shoot him in the back of the head.

“Logan isn’t the only piece of this puzzle.”

Overall, you could do much, much worse than going to see “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. It’s fun, entertaining and has some really decent action. Here’s hoping the success of this film persuades them to finally start work on the long- awaited Magneto origin story.

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