Thursday, 16 April 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Review

The movie industry has been quite kind to fellow comic book geeks such as myself over the past year, with such epic blockbuster heavyweights such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Watchmen, Hellboy II gaining much praise around the globe. Having already three creditable X-Men movies under their belts (say what you want, but I liked the third movie) the lads at 20th Century Fox decided to continue milking their most successful comic book franchise in their ranks and opted to create a solo movie about the character who arguably the previous three movies centred around anyways. That's right folks, everyone's favourite cigar smoking, bub taunting, claw fighter, Wolverine. On the whole Fox actually get the blueprint right for this movie, bringing in an Oscar winning director, and recruiting a commendable cast for the roles backing up the often over looked and nearly always under rated Australian actor Hugh Jackman (going for a more hands on approach this time round by partly producing the film also), who once again slips into the title role for the fourth time, and the film also goes one better by placing certain mutants in the movie that were stupidly over looked in the previous X-Men movies. So far so good. Or is it...

The story opens with Logan as a child where through certain parental difficulties he encounters his "half brother" and life long friend/rival Victor Creed (to all non-geeks out there, the villainous Sabertooth) played by Liev Schreiber, replacing Tyler Mane, who played the role of the character from the first movie. Once discovering their powers they embark on a world wide journey where they eventually come to meet William Stryker (the villain from X-Men 2, though again replacing Brian Cox, played by Danny Hustin). Staying true to comic book canon Logan and Victor become part of a team known as Weapon X, featuring various mutants from the X-Men and Marvel universe such as The Blob, Agent Zero, John Wraith and of course the stand out of the ensemble the legendary Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds). Obviously being a prequel to the previous X-Men movies, the politics of the story are slightly different, this being a time where Mutants aren't really the main focus of the world and the majority of them are currently living in hiding to the rest of the populous. For those who want to experience the story for themselves I shall not delve too much into the rest of the plot....

Acting wise Jackman as you would expect carries the film very well evoking the charisma and dark, brooding and unpredictable nature he adapted from the previous movies, and the chemistry he adapts with Schreiber and his love interest of the piece played by Lynn Collins gave the film a much deeper fulfilling experience than you would usually expect from a comic book film. However I will be honest and say the story was a little flat and revealed nothing more than what has been revealed in Wolverine's flashbacks in X-Men 1 & 2. Unfortunately for Hugh the criticisims do not end there, although he should be commended for getting a visionary director such as Gavin Hood on board to direct and David Beinhoff to pen the screenplay, their lack of experience in dealing with a big budget franchise film such as this was very much evident, although the action pieces were impressive (the helicopter sequence simply: kicked ass!) I didn't get the impression they really cared for the characters they had the chance to explore within the story. Deadpool and Gambit who are stand out stars in almost every comic book I have ever read them in were extremely under used and under developed in favour of less interesting characters. I also didn't see the need to have a cameo from a young Cyclops which on the whole did not benefit the story in the slightest. Overall one of the biggest flaws of the movie was that, it was never quite sure whether it wanted to be a single solo Wolverine film or a proper prequel to the X-Men trilogy, disregarding some elements already established in the movie-verse yet also tying certain plot points into the grand story to set up the first movie.

To summarise Wolverine was a movie that promised so much for the genre which in the end offered very little new and exciting. It's not a bad film by any stretch, the film's main character's origins are established and expanded upon to accurate effect but unfortunately the story's supporting character weren't given the same treatment which left Wolverine a slightly underwhelming experience for me. And Fox take note, next time can we have better villains?


See this if you liked...
The X-Men Trilogy.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is released in all cinemas nationwide from the 1st Mat 2009

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