X-Men Origins: Wolverine:Rated “PG-13” (107 Minutes)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Well, Wolverine’s prequel back story to the extremely-popular X-Men trilogy proved to be nearly as popular (and controversial among fans) as the films with the full contingent of mutants themselves. Needless to say, it was —quite frankly — everything that this reviewer figured it was going to be (actually, in spite of reading comics for 45 years, it was only just prior to the film’s release that we discovered that Wolverine was like 150 years old. I mean, we knew he was old and fought in WWII but that was about it.) Needless to say, this is that back story. The film is supposed to capitalize on all of that rich (and often extremely convoluted) sequence of events in just a couple of hours, giving viewers all of the excitement of an X-Men comic (film) without the complete cast.
Does it do it? Well, far as this reviewer is concerned (in spite of the all of the faux fanboy whining that surrounded the film’s release), it totally delivers the goods. While we did enjoy the back-story which let us in on the fact that Wolverine(and his brother, who winds up being Sabertooth— surprise!), are both some 150 years old, and then we watch at the two lads grow up fighting in virtually every single armed conflict from the mid 1800s to Vietnam, which is when the real story begins. (Interestingly enough, the opening sequence felt a bit like the opening to Watchmen, only with not as cool a soundtrack).
The film is fast and furious and plays well to the legions of fans who already know who Wolverineis (hey, we’ve been reading comics since the very early ‘60s and as stated, didn’t realize that Wolvie had this much back story (to be sure, we stopped regularly reading X-Men in the mid ‘90s, so that could be some of it). Anyway, even though many of the characters were recognizable (a couple that couldn’t completely place, and may have been created for the film) and was aware of much of the plot threads that ran through the film, we still rather enjoyed what was going on in the film version of his past.
The interaction between Logan (Jackman) and Creed (Liev Schreiber) plays well and you can see some of the animosity that will keep them at each other’s throats throughout all of time. We get to see how an already clawed Logan has Adamantium (a super-cool, wicked-hard comicbook metal) is infused into his bones, and why and how he lost him memories (which he doesn’t fully regain until the X-Men trilogy).
On the down side, those of you who don’t know as much about his visceral past might find some of this film a tad tedious, plus as this is all prequel there are no colorful costumes, and many of the characters that you might have gotten used to seeing in the first films simply aren’t here. Some folks might feel that most fans coming to view the film might want to see more of the kind of large-scale action from the first films, which is missing from this film, as it is much more of a personal story, plus, we personally could have done without the (too) numerous “howling at the sky from overhead” shots that seemed to pepper the film
As for spoilers, and/or snarky fanboy comments, well we have a few of those if you care:
- Impossible as it is to believe they cast the perfect actor for Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), and then take away the one thing that makes him an ideal fit for the character, his ability to talk smack.
- Then they further degrade the appeal of the character of Deadpool by taking away his twin swords and implanting them into his arms! (Unavoidable aside, those things are simply too long to fit into his forearms).
- When we first meet Remy LeBeau (Gambit) he looks more like the very British Alex from A Clockwork Orange than any Frenchman we’ve ever seen, and of course, he has no French accent.
- Sabretooth’s loping attack style was a bit too much Twilight for my tastes.
- As stated, the opening sequence very Watchmen, only without as cool a soundtrack.
- When Logan left the special team of Stryker’s Mercs in Africa we couldn’t help but to flash on a similar image from more than one WildStorm/Image comic featuring Team 7 from the ‘80s.
- Given the “immortal” nature of Logan and Creed, whenever these two went at it a little voice in the back of our head kept saying “There can be only One!”
- We really liked the Three Mile Island reference to the story, as we think it fits into the actual timeline of Wolverine’s back-story as well as of this film
- Another reviewer questioned why Logan & Creed, as Canadians would keep fighting in U.S. based wars. Our response to that is — what other country has been in more wars over the past 150 years?
- When Creed finds Scott Summers at school, Scot is in detention conjugating a Spanish verb 100 times on the blackboard, in a visual that calls up Bart Simpson