X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Why It’s Not as Bad as You’d Think

Yes, I realize that this movie came out in May and I’m just now posting the review. Quiet, you.

I did not like X-Men: The Last Stand, so I was understandably apprehensive about the idea to delve into the origin stories for various mutants from the X-Men series.
X-Men_Origins _Wolverine
Fortunately, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is lightyears better than The Last Stand, although it doesn’t quite reach the first two in terms of quality.

In Wolverine, we’re following the (surprise!) backstory of Wolverine. Who is he? Where did he come from? What is his relationship with Sabretooth and Colonel Stryker? Why doesn’t he remember any of it in X-Men?

Wolverine addresses and answers those questions, some satisfactorily, some not so much.

The good:

Really, I was pretty surprised by the cast in this movie. For the whole two minutes that he gets to do anything, Ryan Reynolds steals the show as Wade Wilson. Seriously, somebody get this man to do more action movies. He’s hilarious, and he can pull off badass.

Also a pleasant surprise was Liev Schreiber. I still think of him as “the guy from the Scream movies who was kind of a dick,” so it was a shock to see him cast as Sabretooth, mostly because he struck me as more intellectual than Sabretooth. However, he did a really, really good job. Suitably fierce and feral, and a good foil for Wolverine.

Speaking of Wolverine, Hugh Jackman is a fantastic actor and he really gets to kick some ass in this movie. He also has a great tendency to run around 1) in a shirt without any sleeves, 2) without a shirt, and 3) without any clothes at all. So, ladies, enjoy your fan service.

Taylor Kitsch was an excellent choice for Gambit, and it was good to finally see him in the movie. I only had two problems with him (one being a fangirl “wah, lack of screentime” complaint, and the other being detailed below), but other than that, I liked him. I really don’t get some of the vicious Gambit hate I’ve seen online.

The middling:

The story. It’s decent, but it could’ve used some smoothing out. Certain threads pop up unexpectedly, and some of the resolution feels needlessly convoluted. Not “you need 20 minutes of explanation to even remotely understand” convoluted, just “I’m pretty sure there was an easier way to do that” convoluted.

At times, it tends to feel like mutant cameo madness. Not because they have a lot of mutants, but because they try to give nearly every single mutant in the movie a special “Yay, use your powers!” scene, which ends up feeling overdone. But, while this slightly bothered me, the two friends I saw the movie with didn’t feel that way. So, take that as you will.

Also, some cheesy dialogue. Again, this is kind of expected for just about any action movie (and most comic movies, for that matter), so it’s not a real dealbreaker.

I don’t have much of a problem with Gambit’s accent, but I wish they’d picked one and stuck with it. Southern? French? Cajun? None? Just pick one and at least get some points for consistency.

The CGI in this movie is also a little more obvious than it was in the others. There are times when Wolverine’s claws look fake, such as the bathroom scene when he’s first examining them. Those moments don’t come up often, but when they do, it’s a jolt.

The verdict:

Better than X-Men 3, not quite on par with the first two. Definitely an enjoyable film and a fun summer movie.

And tomorrow, I’m watching Star Trek. Excuse me while I go hunt down a pair of Vulcan ears.

Author’s Note: I’ve watched the ’90s animated series religiously, but I’ve only read a handful of the comics. Therefore, I can make no testaments as to the comic accuracy of this background story. However, one of the friends I watched the film with is familiar with comics, and he was happy with story and the changes they made, given the medium and the time constraints.

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