As an occasional X Men movies fan, and who isn’t I couldn’t pass up the occasion to see the new X-Men movie, X-men Origins : Wolverine. The reason I didn’t write anything on it until now is because I really didn’t have much to say on this. A big part of that has to do with the fact that not much happend in just about two thirds of the movie and what did happen was as predictable as Monday and about as exciting.
The man most responsible for this disappointment is director Gavin Hood. Not a new comer , Mr. Hood isn’t exactly a money in the bank type of director either, far from it. The movie is well under two hours, and about two thirds of that is set up. The most interesting part about he first half of the movie is the spectacular Canadian Rocky mountains scenery and that’s about it. The problem with devoting that much time to setting something up is that when the money shot finally arrives whatever portion of your audience is still awake expects a doozey. ( Has anyone else used that word in the past thirty years?). Wolverine never delivers the goods. If you’ve seen Hood’s prior work, what was that one called again, oh yeah “America Bad, Islamists Good” or some other such typical Hollywood rubbish – actually it was “Rendition” then you know what to expect. The pace of Wolverine is somewhat similar to Rendition but as there is only a limited amount of America bashing in “Wolverine” MrHood was apparently not all that passionate about it and it shows. The one hour and forty-whatever minute long flick went by like an eight hour Monday work day in late November. Writing? Yeah well, did they have any writers on this one? Messers David Benioff (screenplay) and Skip Woods (screenplay), charged with filling almost two hours of movie with a story worth at at best half an hour, decided to rely on cinematography rather than plot or dialogs. Like I said I really liked the scenery but if you are going to make a Rocky Mountains documentary let me know ahead of time. I pay for my own tickets you know and there are two of us. ( Not to mention having to justify to my wonderful wife why I dragged her out to see this after she put a long hard day at work) OK so that’s it, the directing and the writing were fittingly matched.
Hugh Jackman, is actor that you can rely upon to deliver exactly the kind of performance that you expect as long as the role doesn’t exceed his range. Now I am not saying that Mr Jackman can’t do an Oscar worthy performance, I have no idea if he can or not, all I am just saying is that I haven’t seen it; maybe someday we will. Yes he is almost wolverine but I have to tell you all the while I am watching this movie I was thinking that this role would be so cool for Christian Bale or Karl Urban. I have no idea how a director could make Mr Jackman bring out the beast in Wolverine- just in case no one told him here is a hint. Mr. Jackman seems to be a rarity in Hollywood, a genuinely nice guy, and that’s great. In a movie full of other X-Men and X-gals his niceness doesn’t really interfere with the role but in a movie about Wolverine the missing edge is sadly evident.
The cast is rounded out by Liev Schreiber as Wolverine’s brother “Sabertooth”, Danny Huston as the evil mastermind Col. Stryker and Lynn Collins. No complains here they all do a very mice job in what are mostly two dimensional roles.
Please skip the blue font if you don’t want to know the plot
There isn’t much of that plot thing going on here. Wolverine and his older brother have some super powers, and they end up on the the run. As they get older they enroll in the military and fight in all the wars from WWI to Vietnam and some special action in Africa. Wolverine , he doesn’t yet go by that name, gets tired of fighting and retires to Canada to set up house with Kayla Silverfox played by Lynn Collins ( who can blame him?) Evil Col. Stryker won’t leave him alone and makes certain things happen in order to convince Wolverine to allow himself to be given a new “adamatium” bonded skeleton. There is a plot twist there and I won’t spoil it. Stryker ,trying to develop a super mutant, rounds up a whole bunch of other mutants to study and find out how to transfer their powers to his new mutant project, Weapon 11. Wolverine rescues the mutants that Stryker is hoarding in his dungeon/lab and kills Weapon 11. That’s it, I told you that it didn’t need almost two hours.
The film would be a good TV movie but it wasn’t worth the $12 ticket price.