Thursday, April 02, 2009

REVIEW: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Year: 2009
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Rated PG-13

This is a review for the film footage that was leaked earlier this week. The footage I saw was essentially done expect for a few special effects being finalized. I will update this review once the film hits theaters. X3 wasn't as bad as some say. Sure it wasn't as great and coherent as X-Men and X-Men 2, but it was still entertaining. Fast forward to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that's essentially a spin-off of the Marvel X-Men character, Wolverine. Twentieth Century-Fox had just finished the X-Men trilogy off with the third film and wanted to continue the series more further simply because it made them a boat load of money at the box office. This wasn't easy to do because alot of the characters from X3 had been killed off so Fox had to find another way to cash in on the X-Men property. They thought they can focus on Wolverine simply because the Marvel character had such an interesting and somewhat long back story. Not only that, but Hugh Jackman who played the famous character in the previous X-Men installments, was interested in reprising the role that made him famous.

Plot Outline:
Leading up to the events of X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the story of Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), and the ominous Weapon X program run by William Stryker (Danny Huston). Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a prequel to the first X-Men film and focuses more on the character of Wolverine. While we do get to see what Wolverine's past was like, these sequences don't last long. Most if not all of Wolverine's back story is mostly told in the beginning as part of the intro credits. Honestly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine feels like a bad edited film. The film never seems to stay coherent with its story and just simply feels like a bunch of ideas smashed together. Sure we get some awesome action scenes here and their that really shows us Wolverine's true aggressive nature, but even these scenes cant help a bad movie from not being bad. On top of that, the dialogue in the film seems really off by X-Men standards. They are really cheesy and simply just don't go well with Wolverine's aggressive look. Ill admit that character development here is better than it was in X-Men 3, but the characters we have in this film just aren't worth giving a damn. Yes, we get the awesome Marvel character Deadpool, but even he isn't worth caring about. His character in this film doesn't resemble his comic book counter part and also has one of the worst build ups I have seen in some time. It reminded me of the awful build up for Phoenix in X-Men 3 which didn't live up to expectations. Yes we do get more mutants such as the long awaited Gambit along with a younger Scott Summers/Cyclops, but they aren't worth caring about. Not only that, but most of them seem awfully weak compared to everyone else in the film. The ending is also a mixed bag and honestly, takes the easy Hollywood way out. I do like that we get a surprise cameo by a special mutant at the end, but even that feels as if it never happened since this is a prequel to the first X-Men film.

Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him famous, Logan/Wolverine. He gives a solid performance as the character, but since his lines are mostly cheesy, they don't come off good. I once read that Jackman was going for a more violent and darker Wolverine for this film, but what we have here is hardly anything I would call dark. We have Liev Schreiber playing as Victor Creed/Sabretooth. Tyler Mane who played the character in the first X-Men movie wanted to come back for this film, but the director felt he needed a more younger and creepy looking Sabretooth. Schreiber does the best he can, but with bad dialogue, his character feels rather one dimensional and hardly as cool as he was in the comics. Danny Huston plays as William Stryker and he does a fairly good job at it. Brian Cox played the character in X2 and wanted to return using CGI to make him look younger the same way it helped Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the opening flashback of X-Men 3, but that didn't work out. I kind of liked Huston's performance as Stryker and enjoyed the edgy tone he brought to the character. Ryan Reynolds steps in the shoes of Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Reynolds does tend to talk alot and annoy the rest of the cast like Deadpool would, but his later scenes as Deadpool are so unfufilling and nothing like the Marvel character we all know and love. We also have Taylor Kitsch playing as Remy LeBeau/Gambit. Kitsch played this character to whatever the script required for him to do, but his impersonation of Gambit is really lame. I don't remember Gambit being so bad at fighting and hardly using his techniques the right way.

I will update this section when the film hits theaters because the footage I saw was still in final stages of production. The special effects weren't as nearly done as they could have been, but the rest of the film was basically completed. The visual look of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is probably the films only advantage over the previous X-Men films. Being the newest one released compared to the previous three X-Men films, Origins: Wolverine benefits from a cleaner film source. I didn't notice any film grain and everything seemed as smooth as it can be. Colors seemed natural and didn't get in the way of my experience. The film doesn't come off as eye popping or colorful as other superhero movies, but I thought the colors were in the right place. Black levels were also pretty strong and held up pretty well in some of the darker scenes. Flesh tones seemed more natural and slightly muted. Detail was definitely on the strong side which shouldn't come off as a surprise considering its a new release. Close up shots looked really good with alot of detail exhibiting on the screen.

I will also update this section when the film hits theaters because the footage I saw was still in final stages of production. The films score wasn't in place and other stock music was used instead. The films bass on the other was in tact and it simply blew me away. Considering that the film is an action movie at heart, it shouldn't come off as a surprise that the film does have some aggressive bass usage. Every gun shot and explosion was loud and clear as it could possibly be. Dynamics were spread out pretty evenly and it didn't seem like most of the work was coming only from the front. While I'm sure the film will rock even harder in theaters, what I saw was still pretty damn fantastic. X-Men Origins: Wolverine definitely kicks it a up notch in the bass department and It should sound even more better on Blu Ray once it streets later this year.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine could have learned a thing or two from the previous X-Men films and become something special. Instead, the film focuses somewhat on Wolverine's interesting past, but also makes him an action hero. The story is a mixed bag and really ends in a lame Hollywood way. The dialogue is bad and never seems to take these characters seriously. Deadpool fans will be severely disappointed with what the film has made him into. While the film can be fun at times simply because you get to see Wolverine kick alot of ass, these moments cant save the film from all these issues. The cast seems to work for the most part and I enjoyed most of their work, but the dialogue really makes it hard for you to care about their acting. The visual look of the movie is great and features a really good amount of detail. The film also has a very strong amount of bass and packs quite a punch. I cant really recommend this film because it has alot of problems. Even if your a fan of the series, I would probably wait for the DVD/Blu Ray release so you can give it a rent. Compared to the other X-Men films, in my opinion I would rank X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the worst in the series.

Grade: D+


Anonymous said...

Agree 100%. Won't be seeing this in theaters, but may rent the DVD when it comes out

Jaccstev said...

Wow, you're fast..
Is this film really that bad?
But I'll still wait and go see it in theater.

Farzan said...

Yeah, its the leaked version that got leaked early last week. I normally wouldn't review unfinished movies, but this film was essentially done except for a few special effects here and their. The reason I wanted to get a review out was so people can read it and think twice before they watch it in theaters. Its not a horrible movie, buts its certainly has a ton of problems and I found myself enjoying the previous X-Men films instead of this.

micky said...

woah, i cant believe they fucked this film up. it looked so cool from teh trailer. thanks for the heads up farzan. ill wait for it to come to dvd.

Jitters said...

I wonder if Hugh (Huge) Jackman will be able to be anything but Wolverine now that so much of his career has been consumed by this role

Monique Elisabeth said...

I guess you're more attached to the authenticity of the original concepts for these characters than I am. I just looked at it like an isolated movie, and it wasn't that original or special, but it was still fun. Although I do agree about the dialogue. At least three times, it sounded like it was stolen from a 1980s movie.