X-Men Origins – Wolverine: Entertaining yet Underwhelming

Posted: June 24, 2009 in Everyone's a critic
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From L to R: Wade Wilson, Gambit, Wolverine, Victor, Kayla

From L to R: Wade Wilson, Gambit, Wolverine, Victor, Kayla

Wolverine is to Marvel what Batman is to DC. Both are immensely popular and immensely complex characters, with their share of personal tragedy that has molded them into the heroes that they are. With the commercial and critical success of The Dark Knight, pressure does fall on upon a movie like Wolverine to replicate that success and to its credit, Wolverine has achieved commercial success (though not on the lines of the Dark Knight) but has disappointed on the critical aspect.

SNIKT

SNIKT

Wolverine, from start to end, is a movie that moves at a breakneck speed allowing no time for the viewer to sit back nor allow time for any serious characterization. The movie starts with the young Logan’s manifestation of his powers (the retractable claws) after which he runs away from home along with his brother Victor. Their history is captured through the wars they serve in from WW-I to Vietnam where in Logan (Hugh Jackman) grows weary of all the killing while Victor (Liev Schreiber) enjoys it all. The brothers are given a further chance under William Stryker (Danny Houston) who has formed a strike team of mutants. After a mission, Logan walks away from it, to the utter disgust of Victor and settles into a life of peace and bliss in Canada with Kayla Siverfox. Stryker attempts to recruit Logan back, only to be rebuffed. However, the death of Kayla at the hand of Victor drives Logan back to Stryker for revenge. Stryker fuses Logan with adamantium and makes him the ultimate killing weapon. How Logan, who now take the name Wolverine takes his revenge forms the rest of the story. Thrown into this fray include a whole host of cameos right from Wade Wilson, Agent Zero, Gambit (the fan favorite) to a young Scott Summers, Emma Frost and Professor Charles X Xavier.

X-Men Origins – Wolverine is a typical summer action movie. Loads of explosion, great action scenes, impressive CGI effects and a storyline that does not sag provides ample entertainment. Hugh Jackman has invested a lot in this role. Its worth noting the difference in Wolverine from the first X-men movie to this one. Hugh Jackman now has that almost V upper body shape. Jackman has got into the skin of the character of Wolverine and essays an almost perfect portrayal of Wolverine. (The only complaint is that Wolverine is a “runt” in the Marvel world but Jackman is comfortably 6 feet tall). Liev Schreiber delivers an impressive performance as the perfectly loath able Victor Creed, while Danny Houston does look every inch the cunning, willing-to-achieve-at-all costs William Stryker. Taylor Kitsch as Gambit has a small cameo (pretty much what the trailer covers) while Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson (a role he fought for ages) is perfect.

Logan2There are loads of moments in the movie that are fan boy targeted. Jackman gets to mouth the famous Wolverine line ” I am the best at what I do but what I do isn’t pretty” to the word “Bub”. He even gets to wear a yellow and
brown jacket, a nice nod to his X-men uniform. Wade Wilson’s penchant for the blades as well as for being a mouth is well depicted. Plus you have a very classic Gambit moment (set to a brilliant rendering of the New Orleans theme). All these provide fangasmic moments. A really cool moment was why Logan takes the name Wolverine

However, with so many things going good for the movie, there are a few aspects which tend to pull down. One is obviously the way the movie is shot. It seems more like highlights of Wolverine’s life, snapshots rather than a story flow. Plus, we do know that Victor and Stryker are part of the X-Men movies so they cant die and also Wolverine has to forget it all. So the ending is fairly predictable. Its fairly underwhelming in the sense that no scene really touches and leaves an impression on you. Also, it is surprising that while the fights are brutal with claws and swords and what nots, there is no sign of blood. This might be as the movie was a PG-13 or just plain laziness.

Dark Knight and Watchmen have clearly defined that there is a market for superhero movies that are all not just action. Wolverine disappoints on that scale that it is just an action movie without enough characterization for a character like Wolverine who has a rich back history. But then, a friend of mine whose history with Wolverine extends only to the X-series movies enjoyed it immensely and rated it very high. Ah! I guess Ignorance is Bliss sometimes.

Rating – 6.5/10

PS: Stay back to catch an after the credit scene of Logan. While it does contain an extremely cheesy line, it is an interesting hook for the next movie as it takes place in Japan, where Logan’s most interesting adventures take place.

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