Sunday 3 May 2009

Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Year: 2009
Director: Gavin Hood
Screenplay: Skip Woods, David Benioff
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Renolds, Danny Huston#

Film Synopsis is here

So we all know about the whole hoo ha about the fucking work print being leaked, the reviewer who watched it getting fired and the rest of it. Lets feel bad for a studio trying to make an buck on a popular franchise. And lets also lambaste the same studio for insulting it's paying audience by giving us a weak ass film that almost deserved to be watched for free.

No don't get me wrong.I didn't expect it to be a masterpiece or classic, I didn't even expect Wolverine to be the exuberant film that X2 is. But I did expect it to be fun. I didn't want it to take the piss out of me for watching it. I expected the filmmakers to release that I have watched The x-men series to see that I would invest time and effort into watching their movie.

While I understand a film like this wishes to stand it's own two feet and not need the help of their counterparts to prop them up, I don't want aspects of story changed willy nilly just for the sake of it. Wolverine is full of little issues that make the film more ridiculous than it already is. This is a film about a indestructible man....silly right? Well at least make it coincide with the other silly films featuring said indestructible man! The screenplay is full of inaccuracies that made my viewing of the film and depressing one. Much like Lucas when he wrote the "already written" prequels, we get a screenplay that has appeared to have missed the very films that it's based on. I won't go into too much detail but I will say: HOW DO YOU KNOW THE BULLETS WILL DO THAT? When a film gives me questions like this I get annoyed. The reason: Lazy ass writing.

The lazy ass writing also gives a shed load of characters with nothing to do. The screenplay gives us cliched cheese ball lines that were amusing the first time you heard them (back in 1989) but not any more. We are giving a script that reminds me that even if your film is a big dumb actioner, you still need structure, you still need to be witty and you still need to give a damn about who your writing about. I saw none of that here.

But what about the action? the effect shots that were missing from the bootleg etc...Well they're nothing special. In fact expect for the last climatic fight, they're rather flat and forgetful. The CGI is weak and looks far better in X2 (6 years ago) than now.

However, despite this being one of the worst films I've seen this year, some of the acting was very enjoyable. Liev Schreiber has a great time chewing on scenery as Sabretooth and is easily the best thing about the film. Hugh Jackman plays what I can only say is a softer Wolverine than before, but in softening the character he loses some of the the ruggedness that made him so watchable in the first two Xmen films. Ryan Reynolds shows why a Deadpool film could be a great laugh in a role that is nothing more than extended cameo. Talyor Kitch plays fan boy favourite with a lot of urgency but as a character with no real purpose other than to make comic fans grin, we find him quite wasted. Danny Huston does his best Brian Cox impression and ultimately fails, which is a shame as I find him quite an overlooked actor.

Wolverine is big and dumb, but it has forgotten it's fun at the door. Despite having some OTT comic book moments and it's light tone, it has none of the identity issues and depth which made the first two xmen so memorable and none of the spectacle that Brett Ratner tried to place in X-men the last stand. In the end the film is the most lackluster entry to the franchise. The imdb ratings say something different from what I've said and that's fine but lets just say I'm happy enough never to grace the film with my presence again.