Thursday, April 30, 2009

Review: Wolverine

Just caught a 7 pm showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Theater wasn't packed, but to be fair, it's a holiday here today and most people are out doing other stuff. I wasn't sure what to expect of the movie. I somewhat successfully managed to stay away from trailers, clips and stills, as I didn't want to get spoiled. I knew it's about Wolverine (duh), the great Liev Schreiber plays Sabretooth, the Friday Night Lights kid is Gambit (finally, Gambit!), Dom Monaghan is in this for some reason and Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool (what's a Deadpool?).

My brief X-Men history first so you know where I'm coming from reading this review. I've never read the comics, but I did watch the cartoon when I was a kid. Wolverine wasn't a favorite: I liked Gambit and Rogue. I liked X-Men and X2, but never saw The Last Stand.

First something that I loved! The opening title sequence. It was beautifully done. The credits played over scenes of Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) fighting in several wars, but never dying. A good font was picked too. I hate it when movies have stupid colored fonts that don't stand out from the background. Kudos to the people behind this sequence.

Logan and Victor eventually meet Stryker and join Team X. The other members are Wade 'Deadpool' Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), Chris 'Bolt' Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), Fred 'The Blob' Dukes (Kevin Durand), John 'Kestrel' Wraith ( and David 'Agent Zero' North (Daniel Henney). Or so Wikipedia tells me. It was fun seeing these guys interact. I would have liked to see more of them, but this movie is called Wolverine and not Team X unfortunately. More on that later.

Then comes stuff mostly about Wolverine and his girlfriend Silverfox (played by Michelle Monaghan 2.0, Lynn Collins), which is where the movie fell flat for me. I just didn't care enough. I kept waiting for Sabretooth to reappear to make things interesting again! That's not a good sign, I think. Though it's a compliment for Schreiber I guess.

This next bit is SPOILERY: the movie feels pretty short with a runtime of 107 minutes. This is probably just me being hypercritical but whatever, I'm just going to say it: there's a scene that feels like filler. I was actually sitting there thinking 'what is the point of this scene? who wrote this crap?' As established early in the movie, Wolverine cannot be killed by guns, him having healing powers and all. Yet there's like a 15 minute sequence where Zero tries to shoot him even though he knows he can't kill him that way. They sorta make up for it by at least acknowledging their stupidty afterwards. END SPOILERS

The ending left me wanting more, but not in the sense that I want to see a sequel. This has more to do with the movie feeling short and the final battle not being that suspenseful. This is a prequel and we know certain characters appear in the X-Men trilogy. It should not be a surprise that Sabretooth survives.

I want to talk about the other mutants a bit. BEWARE OF SPOILERS! I read a lot about Ryan Reynolds' casting as Deadpool. I know Reynolds is a fan of the character and that's why he agreed to do the movie. I love Ryan. I'm very pro-Ryan in movies. But this felt pointless. He's in the movie for 5 minutes, just like Dominic Monaghan. Come one! I know this is Wolverine the Movie, but if you include these guys, use them. wasn't bad at all as Wraith. Good choice! I liked Durand as the Blob. Taylor Kitsch was an okay Gambit. I think my expectations were too high for that one. He didn't really feel Gambit-y IMHO. The movie includes a young Scott Summers (Cyclops). I wasn't really feeling his addition. It made me confused timeline wise. But I'm no expert.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable, but it felt flawed to me. Hugh Jackman gave a good performance, but it was Liev Schreiber who kept my interest. A 3/5.

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