|By Zach Patterson||Monday, 4 May 2009|
I figured it would happen sooner or later, but Wolverine finally got his own movie. It’s not particularly a good movie, but it is a movie that is watchable and saved by the strength of its actors.
I think the biggest issue with Wolverine, by far, is that the story they are trying to tell is a rather simple, small story with a handful of core characters centered around Logan, and the script just isn’t that great, and neither are the supporting characters. Don’t get me wrong, Hugh Jackman singlehandedly keeps this movie afloat, and I applaud the decision to go with Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabretooth. Additionally, Danny Huston playing Stryker ended up being a good move. Beyond those characters though, the supporting cast is extremely flimsy. The rest of the Team X that comprises most of the cast might as well have been cardboard cutouts, as they were completely one dimensional.
Deadpool in particular was disappointing as they started off by giving Ryan Reynolds some good lines and building up his character a bit…but then he’s just gone for 90% of the movie, and by the time he returns, you don’t care what has happened to him and he might as well be a completely different character after his transformation. He ends up being a big battle at the end, but at that point, they could have picked anyone from Wolverine’s team and pitted him against them since it seemed so arbitrary. They needed to give Deadpool more screen time if they were going to put so much importance on him at the end. Silverfox starts off as Wolverine’s lover, but she too doesn’t really give much of a performance. She just seems there to advance the plot and give Wolverine a reason to move on to the next action scene in the movie. And for all the hype Gambit got in this movie, he seems throw in at the last second more than anything. And again, it just seems like a cheap and easy plot device.
Wolverine: “We need to find Stryker!” And one mutant knows where he is, Gambit!”
They track him down easily, find him, arbitrary fight scene
Gambit: “Ok, I will take you directly to Stryker in the aircraft I conveniently have, and then randomly rescue you when the need arises.”
Blech. They could have put ANY mutant in there at that point. It could have been Howard the fucking Duck. It really was just a merchandising/fanboy pandering move. There’s some doofus logic littered through the movie like this that seems to just make the movie too convenient. I mean seriously, if anyone watches this movie and doesn’t laugh or scratch their head at Stryker’s “If I shoot Wolverine in the head with an adamantium bullet, it will instantly erase his memory” theory, then I really question their logic skills.
I have to say that the special effects were also surprisingly awful. I’m guessing they cut budget on effects to save money or get it out on time, and it shows. Wolverine’s metal claws look very CG and fake in close scenes, Sabretooth’s feral movements look extremely unnatural and poorly done, the CG de-aged Xavier cameo near the end looked incredibly, jarringly fake, and many of the battles, such as the final battle on the cooling tower, might as well have cut out the middle man and just been completely CG, actors and all. And the movie also kinda wusses out on the violence in many parts to get the PG-13 rating. I don’t need gore in my movies, but when you are trying to tell a gritty tale, but when Wolverine impales someone with his claws and no blood comes out, there’s a problem. I can understand they wanted it to be a financial success by making it PG-13 and attracting the young teen demographic, but there are parts that feel like a total copout by not actually giving the movie a harder edge.
The movie does get some things right, and I suppose to its credit, it does incorporate more of Wolverine’s comic origins than I thought it would. It gives an opener inspired by the comic series Origin, shows Logan fighting in many wars like he did in the comics, and then has him join the Weapon X program and eventually get his adamantium skeleton. The relationship with Victor was done pretty well too, and the Silverfox parts seemed faithful in many ways to how the comics approached it. The movie creators really tried to make this film a big epic summer movie by adding lots of mutants and guest stars like the previous X-Men movies, but I think it just didn’t work as well here, since this was a smaller story focused around one character, rather than a larger ensemble cast. That being said, it was nice to see cameos by quite a few previously unseen mutants in the X-Men movies, as well as some returning surprise guests.
Additionally, due to the strength of Jackman, Schreiber, and Huston, the movie has a certain watchability to it. It’s a bit of a mindless summer action movie that tries to thread together some interesting plot ideas and betrayals and slick fight scenes, but the movie feels underdeveloped and a little raw. It could have used more exposition on all of its supporting characters and certain important plot points, but as it is, it’s just a forgettable start to the summer blockbuster movies. DC seems to have really upped the ante on the quality of comic book movies…maybe it’s time for Marvel to do the same.