X-Men Origins: Wolverine
One of the biggest problems that a possible blockbuster faces is high expectations from fans. We walk in hoping to be blown away, and if we’re not, that spells doom. Such was the case for Wolverine.
Now don’t get me wrong – this movie will easily make over $100 million, and will be listed as the “first real hit of the summer.” But its abilities to get repeat business and recoup its costs are less likely, at least domestically. I fully expect that the overseas market will help the producers tremendously, as will DVD buyers that need a little more Hugh Jackman in their collection.
Speaking of which, the film does deliver on one main expectation that a certain segment of the fan population had – seeing plenty of Hugh looking hot. He delivers that in spades – bulging muscles, snarling face, and some brief moments of nudity. Jackman rises above the material to deliver a solid performance, as usual. He really is a star no matter what he’s in.
Also of note is Liev Schrieber who plays against type, consistently smiling with devlish glee, as he attempts to eviscerate any and all who stand in his way as Wolverine’s half-brother, Sabretooth. He makes a good foil for Jackman, and if the movie was just the two of them I probably could have handled that without complaint.
The real issue is the plot – it’s poorly written. The movie is supposed to be the origin of Wolverine. So the writers took a few disparate plot threads from the original comic books, tried to string them along to match up with the existing script from the original X-Men film, and then threw in whatever else they liked. That means a romance (unnecessary), a revenge plot (overkill), and random mutants both from the comic books and made up. Again I’ll say that those with low expectations that never read the comic books may take less issue with the plot. But those of us that grew up on those books are stuck feeling frustrated. (He can’t have crossed paths with Cyclops before, COME ON.)
All that being said, the action was still good when it was there, and the final sequence packed a real punch. Jackman was a sight to behold and the special effects were top-notch. I also really enjoyed the way Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) was shown using his powers, but would loved to have seen more of him.
Overall my rating is a mere C+. I know that sounds harsh, but as I said before my expectations were high. For the average moviegoer with lower expectations, it would probably come out more as a solid B.
This all begs the question – is the X-Men franchise dead, or is there still potential? Can another origin story come off better? I’m holding out hope that they go way out in left field to tackle the origin of an X-Men villain. Imagine how great it would be to see the story behind Mystique!