Wow this is overdue. Sorry, folks. Started taking an LSAT course and all, so I’ve been distracted. HOWEVER, it is the time for summer blockbusters, and I’ve been foaming at the mouth over this one, so let’s get to it.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009)
Director: Gavin Hood
Written by: Five Drunken Monkeys… Just kidding (I am such a bitch). David Benioff, Skip Woods.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will i Am, Lynn Collins, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Ryan Reynolds
Recommended? Not really– go if you really enjoy these comic book movies, but this one can wait for DVD.
OK, so I know a lot of people enjoyed this movie (only because I have a REALLY bad habit of hanging around the IMDB forums after I watch certain movies) but let me break this down for you: this movie is simply one gigantic cliche-fest with poor CGI and an ass-ton of continuity issues. I woulnd’t mind the prequel issues so much if the film didn’t constantly remind us that it was directly tied to the first three X-Men films, but it DID. And I do mean CONSTANTLY. So then you would expect for the writers/director/etc. to watch or re-watch the first three films so that they can make sure they don’t totally screw things up in the whole X-Men timeline that has been established… except they apparently didn’t care. That’s right, one of the biggest issues about this film is the matter of setting up a decent timeline, and Hugh Jackman himself admits that while they originally planned to set this movie in the ’70s, they made it INTENTIONALLY AMBIGUOUS, mostly because they didn’t want to deal with the corny ’70s fashion. And I quote:
“So, what we were thinking about was the ‘not-too-distant past,’ and yet we still wanted to give it a timeless quality. If you look at our choices stylistically, there’s nothing in that movie that rings of now. It does actually … it could exist in the ’70s. But I didn’t want that distraction of flares and big hair and weird costumes and all that sort of thing. But maybe it makes sense with [Logan’s] long sideburns.”
I’d like to explain the time line issues that crop up with this film, and I also want to remind you that I am, in no way, a comic book fan. By the way, when I talk about when Wolverine takes place, I mean the majority of the movie; basically everything after the “6 years later” part.
1. If this film took place in the late ’70s, as in post Vietnam (which is what is implied by the “We’re in Vietname, Stryker is here to recruit us, an undeterminant amount of time passes before we’re in Africa and Wolvie leaves, and then the film says it’s ‘6 years later’ plotline”), then Scott (AKA Cyclops) would be WAY too old by the time we hit X-Men. They show Scott in this film as a 16/17 year-old boy. It’s cute that they tried to give a nod to the Cyclops fans, but they never treat him right (sorry, baby!). Anyway, in X-Men, which was released in 2000 but takes place “in the not-so-distant future” (those might not be the exact words, but you get the idea), James Marsden was about 27 years old and he played the part of Cyclops. There was no way he was supposed to be older than Storm, for example. He would have been 30ish, at most. And since the idea of the “not-so-distant future” really doesn’t seem to imply “next year”, I like to give the movie a 10 year bump, at the least, because otherwise it really makes no sense to place the movie in a near-future setting. 10 years is being generous, anyway. So, if X-Men is in 2010, and Scott was 16 or 17 in the late ’70s… then there’s no way this works. Not only that, but Stryker’s kid is in this film (frozen, but present as a CHILD), and he would had to have aged PAST Scott for X-Men 2, where he’s shown as a middle-aged man. Therefore, the late ’70s doesn’t work.
2. HOWEVER, they do an entire sequence at Three Mile Island, an actual island that had a nuclear plant that incurred an “accident” in 1979. There’s no reason to reference this island and a subsequent “accident” if they didn’t meant to imply that the experiments on Three Mile Island were the REAL REASON behind the accident. They already implied that Wolverine and Sabretooth (AKA Victor) led to our military successes in the past. To believe that the film is implying a second nuclear “incident” on Three Mile Island AFTER the first incident is simply ludicrous and idiotic.
3. If this film took place after the 1970s, it STILL does not make sense (ain’t that a bitch?!). Apparently, some people think this film takes place about 10-15 years before X-Men. So, let’s say that X-Men happened in 2010 (again). That would mean this film was in 2000 or 1995. Which means that Stryker doesn’t age a year between Vietnam and the end of this film, but from 1995/2000 until X-Men 2, he turns into Brian Cox and gains a Southern accent. Even if I completely disregard the “turning into Brian Cox” thing, the man WOULD HAVE AGED. And yet, he did not. At all. Whatsoever. Plus, they show a SUPER-CGI’d Patrick Stewart as Xavier towards the end (oops, spoiler!) and he really didn’t need that much CGI to make be believe this was simply 10-15 years earlier than X-Men.
Alright, I know what some of you are thinking: “You are nitpicking! This is a fun summer flick! Stop obsessing about continuity issues and just enjoy it for what it is!” Fair enough, my adorable little crackheads, but the problem is that I couldn’t. I wanted to like this film. I really did. But it was all so ridiculous. The anti-hero running off to find himself in the middle of nowhere and finally have a “normal life” with a woman he loves is so well-worn territory that I didn’t care at all about his love interest. I also thought the random Native American tale they threw in there was the most hilarious explanation of his name that they could have possibly conjured up (someone needs to tell the writers that wolverines =/= wolves). The action was barely enjoyable, the best characters were killed off too quickly, Wolverine wasn’t even the Wolverine I knew and loved, and the CGI was simply atrocious. There’s no excusing that bathroom scene where Wolvie’s claws looked like they came straight out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. No excuse, at all.
I don’t really want to spoil the ending, but it’s probably the worst use of a deus ex machina I have ever seen. I was flat-out insulted by how unintelligent the writers apparently think I am. I’m referring, of course, to the way that they explain Wolvie’s memory loss. If you haven’t seen the film yet, be prepared for the RAGE that will spill forth once you see this whopper of an explanation. Every time I think about that ending, I feel the need to open my arms wide, throw my head back, and yell “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” at the heavens (or just yell), but I think Wolverine does that enough for me in this film.
At the end of the day, there are a few fun things about the movie. Hugh Jackman is awesome, as per usual, and definitely yummy in his nakedness during a few scenes. Plus, I love seeing him go all Wolvie-rage, so he’s fun to look at in the movie. Liev Schreiber was, well, special in the film. His Sabretooth run made me laugh because it just looked HILARIOUS, but I liked his usual Liev dry wit and sarcasm bit. It’s kind of a jarring difference between this version of Sabretooth and the one we see in X-Men. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure this Sabretooth has nails that kinda expanded out like Wolvie’s claws, whereas Sabretooth in X-Men didn’t have that effect. How strange… Sorry, I digress. Anyway, there will be some aspects that are fun in this, and a couple of good action sequences. But this was probably the most disappointing comic book movie I have seen, mostly because I expected so much more from it. I think it’s being proven that only Bryan Singer can make X-Men films in an awesome way, and no one else should even try. So, as I said, this movie is definite “Wait for DVD” material, though by this point it’s probably out of theatres, anyway (SORRY ABOUT THAT!)