Oh my, oh my. I traveled to Stuttgart to catch X-Men Origins: Wolverine in English, not wanting to miss out on any of the glorious nuances of such a fine piece of cinema. Prepare yourself for some serious ranting from a rather dedicated X-Men comics fan. Let me just start off with a huge siiiiigh, and we can begin. Spoilers ahead, etc, but you should really know what you’re getting into here.
So here are some things that happen in this movie: Baby Wolverine is a sickly child in like the 1800s, and there’s an asshole older boy who hangs around- he is the son of some hairy guy, who was I think a stable worker/farm hand-type in the employ of Baby Wolverine’s dad. One night asshole boy’s dad is manhandling Baby Wolverine’s mother, strikes down BW’s gentlemanly dad, and confesses that he is in fact BW’s real father. BW is angered by this information, pops out his bone claws for the first time and kills his father in a rage, then gets a whole “NOOOOOOO!” moment when he realizes what a freak he is. Baby Wolverine and asshole now-brother (who has gross claw fingernails and a healing power) run away and pledge to stay together forever. There’s a montage of various wars they fight in side by side, all grown up and portrayed by Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine) and Liev Schrieber (Victor/Sabretooth).
When they’re sentenced to death by firing squad but do not die, they’re recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston), who’s “putting together a special team of special people like you”, etc. We fast forward a few years later and sort of meet the team, or at least we view them briefly, as they perform a job hunting down a special kind of metal. There’s John Wraith (will.i.am, if that’s the correct way to write it), who can teleport, Frederick J Dukes (Kevin Durand), who doesn’t seem to have powers?, Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), who is good with a gun, Bolt (Dominic Monaghan), who can control electronics, and Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who has badass sword skills and a nonstop mouth. Eventually Logan gets sick of the nonsensical violence employed by the group, and runs off to lead the quiet life of a lumberjack in Canada, leaving his brother to stay with Stryker and give in to his darker tendencies.
After a few years Stryker shows up to warn Logan that someone who is most likely Victor is picking off the old team, as Bolt and Wade were recently found dead. Wouldn’t you know it, Victor shows up and kills Logan’s girlfriend Kayla (Lynn Collins), just to piss him off. Logan becomes Weapon X after Stryker persuades him it’s the only way to defeat his brother, allowing adamantium (the metal they were searching for earlier) to be bound to his entire skeleton in a really painful process. He hears that the plan is to extract his healing factor DNA and wipe his memory so that another super powerful soldier can be produced, and escapes before they have a chance. Totally nude. Into a waterfall. Now he’s on the hunt for Victor, who has been working for Stryker this whole time, extracting mutant powers from the ones he’s killing.
Logan meets up with Wraith and Dukes (who is now very poorly CGI-ed into The Blob), who point him toward Remy LeBeau aka Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) aka a big reason I was excited for this movie. Turns out Stryker and Victor have been up to some crazy mutant children stealing and experimentation on an island with nuclear reactors, from which Gambit had escaped. He drops Logan off there in his plane (yeah, Gambit is a pilot?) and now it’s all “oh hey look what you did to me you killed my girlfriend wah wah wah I could really punch something”. But whoa mindfreak! Kayla is alive! She’s a mutant with persuasive powers who pretended to be dead so Stryker could convince Logan to become Weapon X. Her sister Emma is one of the kidnapped kids. As is, by the way, a young Scott Summers aka Cyclops. Ugh. I can’t go on. But I must. Some of the stupidest stuff is coming up.
Logan and Kayla free the kids, but before they can get very far Stryker unleashes Weapon XI aka Deadpool (Scott Adkins), who is actually Wade Wilson with his mouth sewn shut, an amalgamation of mutant powers, and no mind of his own. So just like in the wars, Logan and Victor team up against a common enemy. On top of a nuclear reactor. It’s pretty boring. The kids are led out by Professor Xavier’s mind messages so that Patrick Stewart could have his weird younger-age cameo. After Logan beheads him, Weapon XI falls into the reactor and is presumed dead. Stryker realizes the best thing he can do is shoot Logan in the head with adamantium bullets, because, literally, “His brain will heal. But his memories won’t”. Oh. My. God. Gambit finds him all disoriented, and tries to help him out and get him to leave, totally psyching me up for a possible Wolverine/Gambit buddy movie, but no, Wolverine just wants to be by himself and figure it out without any stranger’s help. Buh. Kayla dies, so sad, but not before persuading Stryker to “walk until his feet bleed, and then walk some more”. Victor just sort of runs off. My secret scene at the end credits was Logan hanging out in Japan (one thing vaguely accurate about the character! great job “writers”!) drinking hell of alcohol. No, he is not drinking to forget. He is drinking to remember.
Oh my god typing out that long-ass summary just brought back the numerous feelings (well mostly feelings of “anger” and “that was so dumb”, but in large quantities) I felt after just seeing it. I mean even from a non-comic fan’s perspective it sounds stupid right? What isn’t stupid is just tired, or not done well. There were a bunch of characters introduced for seemingly no reason, and given little to do. The only one of Stryker’s team that stuck out in any way was Wade, and that’s mainly because he actually had lines. I didn’t even catch the names of some of the other team members, and they served very little purpose to the plot. Waste of screen time. X-Men 3 had similar issues with an overabundance of characters and no one knowing what to do with them. Also the whole “kids are being experimented on, let’s save them!” aspect was so pointless. I felt it was added on as almost an afterthought, since for the most part the focus had been on Wolverine’s revenge, which should have been enough. Then suddenly we’re supposed to care about a bunch of faceless children, one of whom happens to be a whiny jerk from the other movies, and that becomes a part of the movie’s big ending scenes? Really?
There were a few things I liked. I’ve always thought Hugh Jackman makes a good Wolverine, despite his height, and he was consistent here, and looking great. Liev Schrieber, though far too neatly-shaven for the role, did a surprisingly good job, bringing a certain underlying viciousness and cruelty that is integral to Sabretooth. And though their time was short, I thought Wade Wilson and Gambit were really done well. Ryan Reynolds has the sarcasm and pluck, as well as impressively-jacked arms, to do the character. Gambit is a favorite of mine (and most X-fans, I’d wager), and I dug Taylor Kitsch in the role. He didn’t do the accent strongly enough but he definitely had the charm, confidence, and skill with a staff down. I liked the Bolt character despite my aversion to Dominic Monaghan (ughhhh Charlie). Also in general I found this movie pretty funny. I know it wasn’t supposed to be, but the laughter helped fight back the frustration. It was definitely entertaining, in its way. And the action scenes were decent.
Continuing on the awful things about this movie, here is a list of things from the comics they fucked up beyond forgiveness, at least that I care about (surely there’s a lot I didn’t catch). Most of you probably aren’t interested in this and you are free to skip to the end, but gosh darnit it’s my blog and I would like to complain. So thanks, in advance, for putting up with me. Beware many cuss words.
-First of all. Emma Fucking Frost. My god. She is one of the best ever characters, both as a villain and X-Man, and they changed her so much it didn’t even make any sense! She was barely in the movie, yet still they managed to do everything wrong: give her the wrong power (turning into her diamond form is her secondary mutation, which developed much later in life, and which she rarely usues because her telepathy is so strong that it is usually all she needs), fabricate a sister, make her generally useless (when usually she is a woman who Gets Shit Done), and oh, she wasn’t even that hot. Sorry, Tahyna Tozzi, but you are no Emma Frost. Though I am willing to blame the writers for most of the character’s issues. What was the point of even having her in the movie? None whatsoever. They just wanted to invoke my ire. Well great job guys, ire is officially invoked.
-I don’t even read Deadpool but, really guys? REALLY? Show a pretty good Wade for five minutes then take a different actor, give him a shitload of powers, sew his mouth shut and call him Deadpool? What? An all-powerful enemy is bad enough, but they could have at least just made him another dude. It could have been some random guy they found and renamed Weapon XI. And now there’s plans for a Deadpool movie, and I hope they retcon the hell out of it and they make it an actually good movie so we can forget this movie ever happened.
-Give Gambit red eyes. It’s so easy, you guys. Come on.
-Sabretooth and Wolverine are not brothers, and never have been. It is dumb to say that they are, and fabricate some deep connection between them. They have always been enemies from their days in the Weapon X program due to their conflicting ideologies and inability to best one another. That is good enough, Wolverine writers. We don’t need to add more to it.
-As much as I don’t like Scott Summers, do we really need to change his backstory? Now he’s part of some secret experimentation crap? And that’s how he met Professor X? No. Also, the glasses he wears do not cover his entire eye area (only the front, not the sides), and I hope we know what that means (obviously the filmmakers did not). Yes, it means his concussive force blast would be popping out of the sides of his glasses! It’d be mad hectic! Get it right! It’s the little things, really.
-The Blob. looked. so. awful. I don’t know if it was CGI or a bad fatsuit or a combination, but he was just so poorly done. So fake. Also, The Blob did not start out as a muscle guy and then eat too much and become impossibly fat. Part of his power is his size. He has his own gravitational field for goodness sake.
– I’m no Wolverine expert, but I’m pretty sure he’d have sensed that Kayla wasn’t really dead. It’s not a big deal, since I understand it was like a main thing of the plot that he want revenge for her, but come on. That Romeo and Juliet shit would not work on Wolvie’s super senses.
-Adamantium Bullets? Really? This isn’t even a comic-related thing, I guess. But my god it is just so so so so so stupid I have to comment. I’m pretty sure they forgot about the whole memory-loss thing and threw in “adamantium bullets will destroy his brain memories!” while they were in the middle of shooting. Buh.
-Laaaaame secret ending. Though I’ve heard the other one was more interesting. Deadpool putting back on his own head, or something? Though that makes me nervous that the Deadpool movie will actually involve this stupid monstrosity version of the character.
Yeah sorry this has been quite a rant, I guess. Anyway, this movie is pretty bad, but some of the cast members do their best to make tolerable. If you’re not a comic fan it might be more to your liking, but honestly it was pretty dumb in general. It tried to be serious and could have succeeded, if it hadn’t been written and executed so poorly. Too bad. Maybe the sequel will suck slightly less, and won’t be such a sausage fest (will someone please for once in their goddamn lives write a decent role for a super heroine in a movie? Please? Elektra is really not enough, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend definitely doesn’t count).
2/5 (.5 extra for Hugh Jackman’s butt?)