Posted on: May 4th, 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Ryan’s Review]

There’s no doubt that X-Men Origins: Wolverine fits into a certain category of film and would probably be successful at what it does; action, explosions, super-humanity, et al. Even after a much publicized leak of the film – well, most of the film – the flick was almost certain to be a huge blockbuster, for all intents and purposes. Well, 87 million bucks this weekend says to me that a film devoid of any real theme or story, saturated with superficial, needless characters and utterly ridiculous writing  can warrant a hit. Apparently all you need is a franchise and Hugh Jackman with (CG) claws. To pick on these points is moot though; this is nothing new in film business. It just completely shocks me that so much can be put toward something that doesn’t pass quality control.

Oh where to begin.

Be forewarned, there are heavy SPOILERS afoot from here on out.

To say that Wolverine demonstrates clumsy writing would be an understatement. I would classify it as not just stupid, but incredibly lazy. I cannot accept that writers David Benioff and Skip Woods care an ounce for this film, nor the characters portrayed and their legacies. There were moments throughout the story that left me literally with my mouth open, in disbelief of what was happening. Here are just a couple examples of said stupidity…

Wolverine gets his adamantium skeleton through the most incredibly unremarkable way. It played out a little something like this:

Wolverine: I’m gonna find that Sabretooth and kill him, and then I’m coming after you, Bub.
Stryker: Wait, wait…. you can’t beat him.. but I can give you the tools to do it (wink, wink).
Wolverine: Yeah?
Stryker: Yeah.
Wolverine: Sure. Okay. Sounds Good.

Yeah… just how I figured that epic scene would play out.

Wolverine unremarkably escapes the Weapon X compound immediately after the adamantium bonding – no killing, no thrills. No cool Weapon X helmet. Nothing like how I imagined from the comics, or the animated series, or how it was hinted at in the previous films. In essence, nothing like how it should have been.

Apparently, this adamantium is indestructible. So when Wolverine goes awol from the program, how do you stop him?! Wait for it…. adamantium bullets! Of course! Because he’s a fucking mutant werewolf, how silly of me. Oh but wait… the adamantium bullets won’t kill him? But you said… ohhhh you have to put it in his brain so as to erase his memories. Oh well that makes sense.

That’s the laziest piece of shit writing I’ve ever seen. Take one of the paramount events in a character’s mythos and take a huge steaming shit on it.

Also, can adamantium cut adamantium or block it? Apparently it can do both, selectively. Throughout the film we see said bullet penetrate his brain, we see Wolverine lock adamantium blades with Deadpool’s, and then we see him chop his head off later on? And what about cyclops’ optic blasts? In the previous films, his blasts are the source of some serious concussive force, hell in this one they even show them cutting through a school and a nuclear reactor… but not if you’ve got claws! Wolverine blocks a full-force blast from Deadpool (yeah I’m getting there).

Continuity, where the hell are you?

Since we’re on the subject of claws, there’s another shameful part of Wolverine – the CGI is atrocious. How bad? Well for starters, Wolverine himself had computer generated claws. Yes, you read that right. It was so painfully obvious. There is a scene in which Logan takes a minute to examine his claws, after getting the adamantium, and I was right there with him. Instead of thinking “cool claws” however, I was thinking “what the hell is he doing with cartoon claws?!”. It looked toon-town ridiculous folks. That’s not even the worse part.

There’s a scene at the end of the flick, you know, after Wolverine saves the little kiddie mutants, where we hear a familiar voice… and our geek antennae stand up… and what do we get? Is it Professor X? Patrick Stewart himself?


May my eyes deceive me, we are visually assaulted with the most terrifying CG rendition of Professor Xavier. Imagine a lifeless, frightening alien of a man, who sounds like the Professor, but ain’t. Think The Polar Express or Beowulf and you get the idea. I actually heard the entire theater’s collective brow furrow when that hit the screen.

These specific criticisms aside, the film just doesn’t have a point. It does nothing to further develop Logan as a character. The brief scene we are shown at the very beginning – he and Victor as children – doesn’t count for anything. It’s fluff. And we all know this and support it, because all we want to see is a berserker rage. This is only proven again by the film’s finale – introduce a last minute villain, have Wolvie and Sabretooth “defeat” him, and then they part ways with almost a handshake? Where’s the arc? Where’s the resolution? Well, there has to be a compelling obstacle to begin with. Wolverine serves as a 107 minute fanboy porn, anchored only by money shot to money shot. It’s just illogical.

Now, let’s do a cast role call, shall we?

Jackman can carry a film, there’s no denying it. Has he nailed the character? Not quite. But it’s close enough and his effort was the most valiant of the film.

Liev Schreiber’s role was probably my favorite of the film. He pulled off the James Spader role from Wolf pretty well, with a little Jack Nicholson to boot. He played the jealous, embittered big brother role well to Jackman’s holier-than-though “Jimmy”.

Col. William Stryker – It’s Brian Cox, but younger! And nowhere near as awesome as Brian Cox! Danny Huston does an adequate if not sterile performance as the orchestrator of Wolverine’s ultimate bad day. It was cool to see some nods to X2, like Stryker’s son and the birth of their history together, but this Stryker merely fits the big bad bureaucrat role.

Kayla Silverfox
– I didn’t even realize this was the Silverfox character until I imdb’ed it. Like the rest of the cast, she merely fit a role to have more people in frame. Go back and read some of the older Wolverine issues with Silverfox, Logan and Sabretooth, then you’ll see what I mean

Blob – Like most of Stryker’s team, this character was stupid and pointless. Take a comic book character, who’s obvious physical flaw (inhumanly obese) is actually a mutation, and turn it into a sight gag. The character now has an eating disorder as the cause for punch-resistant flab. And the visuals were ineffective, I was reminded instantly of every other actor in history to have donned a ridiculous looking fat suit.

Bolt – Who? Oh wait, it’s the guy from Lost. And he serves no purpose whatsoever.

John Wraith – Just one more to go and all of the Black Eyed Peas are actors! And just like the others, he fucking sucks. Everybody, everybody, let’s get into it. Get stupid. Get retarded, get retarded, get retarded. Let’s get retarded (ha), let’s get retarded in here. Let’s get retarded (ha), let’s get retarded in here. Let’s get retarded (ha), let’s get retarded in here. Let’s get retarded (ha), let’s get retarded in here. Yeah.

Agent Zero – The one mutant who’s super-power is the ability to shoot the hell out of anything (including Logan’s cigar, woah!) and he actually can’t shoot for shit.

Gambit – For a staunch non-Gambit fan, I actually found this character to be one of the more stomachable of the cast. The actor did a decent job, and I argue that if he had laid the french on any thicker and it would’ve been so cheese, let’s face it mon cheri. Still a pretty irrelevant character in this case.

Wade Wilson/Deadpool
– Dare I need to go into detail on the raping this character took? As far as I’m concerned, Deadpool wasn’t in the flim. Wade Wilson was, for about four minutes, and that was fine and  dandy, though they could have given him more lines. Ryan Reynolds performance was basically Hannibal King v2.0. It just happens to be that Hannibal and Wade Wilson are incredibly similar. So Fox reamed Deadpool into an unrecognizable, mute turd with retractable adamantium blades and optic blasts. That’s just great. I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m completely speechless. It’s a gag. It had to have been Howie Mandell. Had to. No studio is that inconsiderate and disrespectful. Maybe he wouldn’t have been so bad if they simply gave him his one true defining trait – his mouth. As comic book fans, we are used to having our favorite characters visually effed with. We can get past that, to a degree. I would feel a little better about the Deadpool situation if at least they gave him the dialogue.

There’s a lot of chatter online regarding a Deadpool spin-off film. You want my prediction, it ain’t happening. But if it does happen, I wouldn’t hold onto that hope. Look what they did. They could not treat the character with an ounce of accuracy for seven minutes of screen time, do you think for one second they will do a full-feature properly? I doubt it entirely. The damage has been done, the character soiled as long as the property lies at Fox. If I were a serious Deadpool fan, I’d be sharpening my trident right now. I said it in the comments of Brett’s review, it’s similar to having a Batman film in which Bruce Wayne appears the entire film only in the balaclava mask like in Batman Begins. But then again, that was respectful to the source material. It’s with that I’ve given up hope for any Fox property, be it more Origins films, a Deadpool solo film, X-Men: First Class or god forbid that wretched Gambit spin-off.

As a critic and all-around movie lover, it’s really saddening and disheartening to finally hang up the gloves on any future films, sight-unseen. But I’m not an idiot. The less I invest in these films, the less I’m ultimately burned when they come out. X2 being the exception, Fox has single-handedly smothered these characters in the mainstream’s perception. I don’t mean to rip on the people or the fans who genuinely liked X-Men Origins: Wolverine; at the end of the day it’s a mindless action film that does have some escapism and fun quotient. But that’s also where I point the finger at it. It’s totally mindless. It’s totally lazy. It’s totally uninspired. And there’s no excuse. Just take a look at the giant stack of  ideas in the back issue bin.

Apparently Fox thinks the average movie-goer is too stupid for that.

Filed under: Movies, Review

9 Responses to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Ryan’s Review]”

  1. Ben Rankel Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    All I can do is *clap*. Well said.

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  3. Metallicat79 Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Man I don’t know what to say, I am stunned with shock and silence, well said mate!

  4. Jon Stephens Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Very Well said Ryan. I didn’t hate it as much as you did, but I did hate the raping of my beloved Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds was fantastic, he definitely embodied Wade Wilson. The Weapon XI was not Deadpool. It’s funny, because Reynolds has a clear soft spot for the character, and he really knows his stuff, more so than any actor playing a comic character that I’ve ever seen. In interviews for the film, Reynolds has said that he does NOT consider this character to be Deadpool that we all know and love. It is strongly implied that Reynolds only accepted this role as Wade so that he could have a chance of doing the character for his own spin off. What’s more, Reynolds said something that all Deadpool fans should love:

    He would LOVE to do a 100% faithful interpetation of Deadpool, and he will ONLY do the film if it is like that. He wants to do an out of continuity film (to do the back story the right way) with Deadpool regularly breaking the 4th wall. Sounds good to me.

    I think FOX WILL do this film. The ass hole and bastard of a man Tom Rothman of FOX has stated that the “special” endings for Wolverine were meant to show what is to come. So it has been just confirmed by Jackman’s people, and by FOX that there will be a Wolverine 2 where Logan goes to Japan, and there WILL be a Deadpool film. I know the Wolverine film will suck. I can only hold out hope that Reynolds will have enough say to produce a decent Deadpool story. I don’t expect it to be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect comic adaptation, even Marvel can’t do that. So I just really hope that it will be good enough. Personally, if they make a Deadpool film, it will be good enough for me if it meets the following:

    Ryan Reynolds IS Wade Wilson/Deadpool
    Proper backstory, complete with Killbrew and Francis/Ajax
    The traditional, everyone loves it Deadpool costume
    Breaking the 4th wall
    Reynolds’ classic deadpan sarcasm
    Swords and guns.

    Ideally, it would also be super violent and rated R, but anyone who expects these movies to be perfect is crazy. It’s okay to want it to be perfect, okay to demand it to be perfect, but it wont be, and if you think it will be…

    I may be an optimist, but I’m really hoping the Deadpool movie happens. Look at it like this: If it’s somehow good, boom! Franchise baby! If it’s bad, the rights could revert to Marvel, and they could make a movie for a character that has a strong following and now (as result of bad Deadpool movie) also has recognition to a wide audience. Either way, I’m crossing my fingers.

    Sorry to deviate from your review Ryan. Well said. I relate to your hatred, I just don’t hate the same things you did.

  5. colin Stange Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    I’ve scarcely heard something more true. Except that pancakes are awesome with maple syrup.

  6. Ryan Ferrier Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Another thing re: Wolverine… the action sequences (with exception to the end fight) are shoot terribly – far too fast and erratic.

  7. IanBennett Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    As soon as the adamantium bullets came out, I let out a big “F*** THAT” in the theatre….I wasnt too popular.

  8. IanBennett Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Oh, and when Wolverine blows up the helicopter and walks away in slow-mo with all the flames in the background….worst movie scene since the helicopter in the tunnel in Mission Impossible.

  9. Ben Rankel Says:
    May 6th, 2009 at 9:50 am

    In retrospect, I’m sad that helicopter didn’t right fuck Wolverine up. It would have been super appropriate to show a scene of Logan laying on the ground, charred and disembowel ed and healing back up. The worst they show him recovering from is a few scratches.

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