14 October 2009

First Impressions: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

You may be wondering why I am just now talking about the film that launched the Summer 2009 Blockbuster season. Well, the simple truth is that I had no desire to see this shitfest when it came out last May. Last week though, on a whim I ordered it On-Demand and was so offended and repulsed on multiple levels that I felt compelled to rant about it here. Let's begin, spoilers to follow, but who gives a shit -

First of all, there is absolutely nothing in this movie that wasn't in the trailers. Literally there is not a thing. There is essentially no reason to ever pay for this movie because every single scene worth seeing you have already seen if you ever turned on a television in April, May or September. I could have pieced together the entire story from commercials and it honestly went a lot better in my head.

The preceding paragraph is the least negative feeling I have about this movie so if you're a fan at all, turn back now.

The greatest sin this movie commits is that every single character is completely wrong. Now I know movies stray from comics many times (I think of Peter Parker's natural web generation in Spider-Man [2002] as an example of this being progressive) but this movie made far too many mistakes for any comic fan to follow. Hell, Gambit has one line in a Cajun accent then drops it! That's his biggest character trait! He's a renegade Cajun! Blob and Kestrel's relationship doesn't make any sense, Blob wasn't even in Weapon X, later when Wolverine interrogates him it seems like Kestrel doesn't even know who he is but they had been training together for six years, it's bizarre to watch. Not only that, most powers are fucked up, Agent Zero (Maverick) and Kayla (Silver Fox) are completely redesigned, it really pisses me off. Emma Frost's much cooler telekinetic powers are ignored and for some reason she's tied to Silver Fox, which is completely insane, there's no end to my frustration. I know I sound like a whiny fanboy here, but it's nice sometimes when a director will at least acknowledge that he or she read the source material and for good reason went in a different direction. None of this occurs in Wolverine.

Let's move on to the Sabretooth / Wolverine dynamic which should rule, but instead makes little sense. The comic Origin (2001) does a really cool job in making this relationship vague at best, hinting but not saying forthright that Dog Logan is a young Victor Creed. Wolverine tends to be in no way ever subtle or ambiguous in this regard or in regard to the rest of the story. It is a big, loud, dumb movie above all else. Sabretooth and Wolverine should have this rivalry dynamic that has a lot of cool elements, like Creed hunting Logan every year on his birthday, most battles drawing or siding towards whoever has adamantium in their skeleton at the time. The film captures some of this but makes Creed out to be this petty, jealous older brother instead of a cunning sadistic killer. It's like a slightly more violent Everybody Loves Raymond. Sucks.

Schreiber and Jackman might be the only actors well cast for their roles which is the only saving element of the film. Will.i.am's Kestrel is laughably bad as is Taylor Kitsch as Gambit. Kevin Durand is alright as Blob, but most others fall flat. Danny Huston and Daniel Henney have as much depth as a midget boner and Lynn Collins is nice to look at but as boring as a kid on Paraquat. Finally, Ryan Reynolds is immensely underused as Deadpool. In fact now might be the time to chat about Deadpool.

Deadpool is awesome. Great character, incredible rip-off of DC's Deathstroke, only made original by pumping up the cocky assholery and breaking the fourth wall all the time. This is a perfect Ryan Reynolds character. Picture Van Wilder as the world's greatest assassin and it's an exact Deadpool match. Instead he is given no funny lines at all, no attitude and completely dethroned, emasculated and fubar'd during the final scenes. It really is completely unforgivable. I wanted to die.

The little things in this movie were painful, too. Bad dialogue works in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) because it's self-aware that it's pretty bad. Mostly Michael Bay acknowledges that he's going for "pure awesome" and milks that as hard as he can. That's what makes his movies so unbelievably fun. The dialogue in Wolverine doesn't make any sense when it's really trying hard to. There's a scene when Stryker is trying to convince the Wolverine to re-join Weapon X and "become the animal." Watching this scene, literally every other sentence these two gentlemen say contradicts their own motivation. It's insane to watch, my head wants to explode. Comparing again to Transformers, the special effects in Wolverine were absolutely horrible. Wolvy's claws looked better in X-Men (2000). Transformers, even as a structurally poor film, works to some extent in at least keeping the viewer in the bad film through its excellent special effects. When Jackman looks like he's got ReBoot claws on his hand, it takes the viewer out of the story. Sucks.

Lastly, most of the action sequences in Wolverine weren't that good either. In a movie like this you expect it to be pretty dumb but at least entertaining. The biggest thrill was maybe the motorcycle escape chase, which essentially was done better in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). There's hardly anything new here. It's getting tougher and tougher for movies to effectively pull of action sequences that seem fresh and original. I will however, point to Star Trek (2009) which had me on the edge of my seat during the Vulcan Planet Bodysuit Re-Entry. That was an original, breathtaking action sequence in a movie that came out but weeks after Wolverine, giving the producers little forgiving for their shoddy action scenes.

So basically I absolutely hated this movie. I regret watching it, it was one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life, I encourage all those reading this to buy as many of the DVDs as you can and destroy them to no one else has to sit through what I did.

Thank you and have a night.

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