Friday, May 01, 2009

Wolverine Review

Thanks to my good buddy Jesus (no, not that one), I got to see the new "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie at a midnight showing. I'll cut right to the chase: it's a fairly pedestrian, paint-by-the-numbers summer blockbuster. I didn't want to poke my eyes out, but I won't be lining up to see it again anytime soon.

However, if you're a lady (or gent) who is warm for Hugh Jackman's form, and you watched the scene where he's running through the tunnel in the second X-men movie with frustration (yeah, you know the scene I'm talking about), this movie has some very nice stuff for you. Just after he gets injected with the adamantium, we get to see quite a bit of Wolverine, running, jumping and all that, without any clothing or silly back-lit silhouette nonsense. For you, this movie might be worth catching on the big screen.

For the rest of us, not so much. The special effects are nice, but nothing you've not seen before. The writing is tortured, and you can feel the plot writhe in agony as it contorts itself towards an ending where Wolverine has lost his memories and both Striker and Sabertooth survive. It jumps through the expected origin's story hoops, but has real trouble making us care. If it wasn't for the residual character empathy the first two X-men movies had already generated for Logan, I'm not sure I would have cared about the outcome of this flick at all. As it is, I'll give it a solid C. Fans of the White Queen and Gambit are certain to be disappointed. Hugh Jackman fans will have fun if they keep their expectations in check.

UPDATE: Let me be clear, because apparently I wasn't. I enjoyed the 2nd X-men movie, and this one was nothing like it. Yes, it shared some characters and locations, but that's it. The second X-men movie did a wonderful job of ramping up the tension and when the X-men join forces with their foes in the Brotherhood, it made sense. (It also made sense that the Brotherhood betrayed them.)

This movie is hamstrung by being a prequel. All the tension of the second act is slowly bled away in the third, instead of being ramped up, because of the dictates of the chronologically later X-men movies. We get bizarre, clumsy exposition to explain how Wolverine will later lose his memories, for instance. The final confrontations are full of "surprise twists" that fail to build interest and suspense, and utterly undercut whatever empathy we may have felt for most of the characters.

Again, I'm left thinking that the folks writing and directing these are completely ignorant of the lessons of Greek tragedy. They wanted "Oedipus Rex" and ended up with "Meet the Thebans". :p


Chris said...

So a definite case of "I liked it better when it was X-men 2" then? Noted. Cheers.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Unfortunate. I was hoping this would be a good movie, and I was not much impressed by X-Men 2 (to say the least). I will probably still catch it before I bother to see the new Star Trek film, though. Roll on Terminator 4!

E N Shook said...

I can't imagine sitting in my favorite front row seat only to be dwarfed by the projection of Hugh Jackman's manhood, and I'm pretty certain his parents either named him after a porn star, or that's not his real name.

Is it just me, or is Wolverine increasingly emo? I can imagine him stepping into the trip scene in Pick of Destiny....

Hollywood, girlfriends!

Oddysey said...

Juxtaposing this with the "LOL WOVLERINE=AWEOMSE" comments in my Facebook feed amuses me more than it should. Haven't seen it yet, and I probably will anyway; it ought to be in the dollar theater by the time I get back to school, and I doubt I could be disappointed more badly than I was by X-Men 3.

Nomad said...

some parts of this movie were okay (like anything with Liev Schreiber or Ryan Reynolds)... but almost everything else was oozing with cheese