This movie made me: Kinda Pissed
I think we can all admit that the X-Men franchise took a big step backwards with X-Men: The Last Stand. That retreat continues with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where Hugh Jackman once again finds himself as the moody antihero surrounded by clichés, explosions, and a whole lotta nuttin’.
Logan (Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) are two seemingly ageless brothers fighting in every war they can get their hands on. Both of them are blessed (cursed?) with unusual powers – including the bony claws that extend from Logan’s hands. Soon they are drafted into a ragtag bunch of mutant fighters, led by Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston.) But that life doesn’t appeal to Logan, so he takes off to life in isolation with his true love (Lynn Collins.) But Logan’s is a power that can’t be ignored, and those who want to rein him in will stop at nothing to get him back.
When someone shouts “NOOOO!” while the camera takes off into the air every ten minutes, you know you’re veering more into The Last Stand than X2. The filmmakers throw as much as they can at Wolverine without wasting time for explanations or anything. Even when he is finally injected with the adamantium coating (which takes too long to get to, by the way), we’re not even really sure why he did it. More than once, he simply glares at someone and asks, “Why?” The answer is always, “Because it’s a movie! That’s how it’s supposed to happen!”
We get one glimpse of a shiny rock early in the movie, and about a half hour later Stryker’s been able to manufacture enough adamantium to coat an entire skeletal system. No explanation other than, “You remember that rock? Well I found more.” The script zips from here to there, never quite deciding what it wants to be. It starts off as a comic (albeit unfunny one) adventure about a bunch of quirky mutants. Five minutes later, it changes its mind and morphs into a “someone’s-hunting-down-mutants” thriller. Five minutes later… let’s make it a revenge movie instead.
It’s to Jackman’s credit that this film is even slightly watchable – he’s still the perfect Wolverine. He can simultaneously balance strong heroism and dramatic angst, no matter what bile he’s stuck with. Unfortunately, he’s the only saving grace. Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, and Ryan Reynolds have mere minutes onscreen, and none of them have the chance make the best of it. And as the doomed love, Collins pretty much just looks nice and spews out a bunch of cringe worthy “love will always find a way” speeches.
Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) has no idea how to make a big-budget action movie. The explosions look pretty, but that’s the best you can say about the action in this movie. You’ve seen everything else before – and much better, too. Couple that with some terrible CGI work – Wolverine’s claws sometimes look like three lines drawn on screen with a silver sharpie – and you’ve got one big summer bust.
As sad as I am saying this, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is even worse than The Last Stand. At least that one had some fun set pieces to offset the sucky. Wolverine is just morose and mind-numbing. If this downward spiral continues, the X-Men movies could soon be on the level of Batman and Robin – they’re already in the Fantastic Four danger zone. It’s not the humans who need saving anymore. It’s the X-Men.