A summation ... or better yet, a ballad to the unlimited supply of male aggression harbored in Wolverine ... and why it really doesn't make for that great of a flick.
If you know me or any of my closest friends, one of the first things you may be told is "oh, guy is a total film snob. He doesn't really dig the summer flicks or the spring flicks, the fall flicks he likes, and the winter flicks he tends to adore." This is kind of true. Rarely have I seen a film that I absolutely love before May. But I can tell you that there are a handful of flicks that have come out over the past couple of months that I really, really like. I Love You, Man, was one of the strongest comedies to open this year. Observe and Report was one of the more thoughtless-ly thoughtful fiilms to come out during the spring, and I firmly believe that both of those movies will be placed firmly in the pantheon of off the wall, comedic flicks.
If you want to read an article about them, you should go check them out. From me, they're pretty well recommended. If you don't give a damn about what I think (and I would hope most of you don't) you should also go check out the latest X-MEN flick X-MEN Origins: Wolverine. This title suggests a number of things. One: It suggests that it is the first in a long, long list of X-MEN Origin flicks to come, and this could be very, very interesting. There are a number of X-Men who have gone unexplored because there are a large amount of them. The second thing is that this movie is going to be specifically about Wolverine, which I suppose could be interesting enough if Wolverine were actually worth an hour and 45 minutes of my time. I don't know what it is about him, but I've never felt that sort of that human connection with that character, mainly because the portrayal of a troubled human being was never what Wolverine was about. Wolverine is supposed to be completely feral, and his actions are as primitive as they come. This movie wasn't made for those who want the sort of art house exploration of the character, it was made for people who want to see Wolverine kick a whole bunch of ass. I can't complain when it comes to how closely it resembles the comic, but even in that regard, some of the fanboys were especially upset. And, in fact, it's my assessment that a film should stand on its own merits as a piece of art. I know for a fact I didn't do that with Watchmen, and I may come off as a bit hypocritical, but ... ... ... ... okay, so anyways:
Besides the whole Batman Begins angle, I'd have to say that the plot is semi-non-existent. Mostly because we are learning about good old Wolverine, most of the time. Of courst that only happens when we aren't watching elaborate (and ludicrously contrived) action sequences. The basis of it all is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), is in hiding up in the Canadian woods somewhere. Somewhere being the operative word, in that he doesn't want to be found by Striker. (Danny Houston) For, you see, Wolverine took issue with several of the methods used for gaining information from a handful of enemies. We are introduced to a number of colorful characters, the most interesting being Deadpool, played with vicious irony by Ryan Reynolds ... which really isn't that big of a step forward in terms of his thespian ability. For Reynolds, though, it doesn't matter because Reynolds interpretation of deadpan irony is pitch perfect and impeccably timed.
However, things there don't really work out to say the very least, and Wolverine goes into hiding. He is found by his brother Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber ... in kind of a ... not good performance) and kills his girlfriend, whose exsistence in the flick serves nothing more than a courtesy to the plot in more than one way. The rest of the film is Wolverine running amok with his claws, seeking to exact revenge on his brother, and to stop Striker from harvesting mutant powers and pooling them into a single person. Weird, I guess, but the end result turns into a pretty interesting climax. And by interesting, I mean you get to see Deadpool fight again. The biggest sin is that he doesn't speak throughout the entirety of the battle. His discourse in the beginning is fun, and silencing the most interesting character was kind of a fatal mistake. Whatever, the plot isn't even interesting, and the flick knows the plot isn't interesting or engaging in the slightest. We're supposed to be interested in Wolverine who strikes me as a dude who can cause a lot of damage ... but engage in a dialogue about linguistics or theology, the man seems like he'd be stumped. There's nothing interesting about Wolverine. Well, I suppose there could be, but his film life seems to be taking nose dive. He seemed sort of interesting and mysterious in Singer's X-Men. That really about covers it.
To keep it short and sweet, there are two characters that are worth my mention: they are Gambit and Deadpool. Wolverine is as bland as a paper bag, and Sabretooth is a sinister as Chucky from Child's Play. I'd much rather see a movie about Deadpool because it would do nothing but please me to watch an entire film about a smartass played by Ryan Reynolds, whose comedic timing is impeccable. Gambit was kind of cool because he was just straight up mysterious. His position was confusing, and you never really know what side he's on until the very end of the flick, but to make a long story short, Gambit struck me as the kind of person who should probably be left alone, considering the fact that his ambiguity is more an issue than kicking Striker's ass ... which is pretty much the whole point of the movie. Either way, this movie is a long, drawn out Batman Begins wannabe, without incorporating any sort of philosophy, wit, or any of those wierd Freudian pseudo-elitist interesting film-y things that American audiences tend to shy away from. But who am I to dash one's "Americanism" when they would rather see X-Men Origins: Wolverine as opposed to Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece There Will Be Blood? Some folks just wanna go to a film and turn their brains off. That's fine.
The director of this flick is a man named Gavin Hood, and he directed two other films called Tsotsi, and Rendition. I haven't seen either of them. Tsotsi I might consider seeing. It's small, obscure, and I hold no expectation because I have no idea what it is. Rendition comes less of an interest to me simply because the whole 'political thriller' thing comes down to a whole lot of repetition. They're usually all flicks about conspiracy theories involving journalists and politicians, naturally. State of Play recently came out, and even though it scored above the 80 percentile on RottenTomatoes, it still strikes me as a film that I may never see. Then again, I've been known to enjoy the occasional political thriller every now and again. Anyway!
Direction. Action-wise, I thought it was pretty well choreographed. Hugh Jackman is as buff and meaty as ever in this flick, and there is no doubt that the girlfriends riddled amongst the sea of fan boys will be awestruck with the man's physique. Ironic, seeing that the boyfriend is probably something similar to ... ah, whatever. I've grown a little pudgy myself, these days. Hood directs the film, as I said earlier, as if it were a Nolan-esque Wolverine biopic, except with a lot of Wolvering kicking ass. I've discovered that there is only one point to Wolverine's existence, and that is to thrash, punch, kick, and spew out shitty one-liners. The man really isn't all that smart, and it seems he acts only on primal instinct. I suppose that could be interesting in the hands of Bryan Singer, who Kevin Smith claims, and I whole heartedly agree, to have turned the ideology of X-Men itself into a gay parable, and how weird it is to live in a world with people who are like "eew, you're gay." Compliments to Kevin Smith. Looking forward to A Couple of Dicks.
I'll make this short: stale. Jackman (who I think is an enormously gifted performer) isn't put to any use at all here. I mean, with such talent, I'd figure directors in Hollywood would consider Jackman for a part that is worthy of his dynamic. This is a man who gave a powerfully dark performance in Chris Nolan's The Prestige. The man can sing and dance, and has a deep appreciation and love for Broadway, and at one point in his career, sang at Carnegie Hall. Carnegie ... is huge. Nobody can just walk in and say "I'd like to sing here, please." So what does Jackman do with the Wolverine character, exactly? Nothing. There's no depth to this man, and Jackman is given little to nothing, which stinks. But, coming from a movie with the sole motivation to tell the story of Wolverine's origins, I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything different. The other actors in the group, (Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Danny Huston) are generally pretty good, I guess. A special mention goes to Reynolds, though. It's no new territory for him, playing a sardonic smartass, but his delivery is so dead on that you just wanna hug the guy. Poor Deadpool. The biggest mistake in this movie was melding his mouth closed. The fuck were they thinking?
Once upon a time, on myspace, I met this pretty girl and we went out for coffee. We talked, had a nice time, and eventually went our separate ways. The immediate day after, I wrote something to the extent of, "I'm seeing X-Men Origins: Wolverine today. Laaaaaame." And she wrote me back almost immediately saying, "X-Men are bomb! How is Wolverine lame?" I literally spent the next 15 minutes trying to muscle my way through a plethora of answers that explained why Wolverine is such a bad character to capitalize on through an entire feature length. It appeared that I forgot to tell her that I'm really fucking snobby when it comes to movies. I finally came to say that I while I like Wolvy for the simple fact that he's played by Hugh Jackman, the X-Men universe has always been sort of contrived. This movie is no different, and to be blunt ... I didn't like it. It wasn't exactly painful to sit through, but I didn't like it. But she did end up having coffee with me again sometime later. I liked that.
|Originality||There isn't any. Wolverine kicking a bunch of ass. We've seen this all before.||2|
|Acting||Stale and uninspired.||1|
|Soundtrack||Provides what it must, but is nothing to call home about.||2|
|Effects/Presentation||Not even the effects were great. The presentation in and of itself seemed a bit tacky.||2.5|
|Storyline||There is one, but it's beyond the point.||0.5|
|Final Verdict: 1.33|