09 May 2009

X-Men Origins : Wolverine

You can't know about how terrible Wolverine is without getting the spoilers.
Wolverine is mediocre from an action movie perspective. From a comic fan perspective it's a nightmare. From a storytelling perspective, this is the worst movie I've seen in a long time. There are plot holes you could fit the Blackbird through. Some "highlights": Wolverine was born in the Northwest Territories in the 1830s. We see him in a large home from the era-- after he kills his father with his bone claws, he escapes into the nearby forest (Forests in the tundra? Really?). From there, James Logan and his brother, Sabretooth fight in every war-- every American war: the Civil War, World War I, WWII, Vietnam. At one point his brother goes nuts in a Vietnamese village, Logan defends him and the two end up in front of the firing squad. After that, Col. William Stryker give them the chance to serve their country. So is Stryker Canadian and Canada is fighting in Vietnam? Or did two bloodthirsty mutants get their green cards? They join an elite force that goes on their first mission to Nigeria (a sprawling Lagos that looks more like LA) in search of a mystery metal from an meteorite-- an ore that contributes to adamantium. They find some of the metal, then go to a small village and demand more of the meteorite. The villagers refuse, the strike force starts to kill them and Logan refuses to take part. He walks out on them and heads into the jungle. Six years later, Logan has a good woman and a job as a lumberjack (very Canadian), living in the Rockies. Stryker finds him and tell him that his brother has gone crazy, killing members of their elite force. Eventually Sabretooth gets to Logan's woman and apparently kills her. Logan goes crazy, they duke it out, Sabretooth buries Logan under a bunch of logs and leaves him for dead. Logan is brought in for medical treatment and Stryker's offers Logan "more pain than he'll ever endure" and he will become indestructible. Logan agrees. They sink him in a tank of water, then they inject a dozen hypodermic things into Logan. They pump adamantium into him in what is obviously a liquid metal state (ouch! hot!) and plumes of smoke and steam rise from the tank. So, the human body has over 200 bones. This liquid metal is pumped in and it automatically finds all of the little bones (except the teeth). It also bonds to the Logan's claws. In their bony state they look like sharp finger bones-- these adamantium claws come out looking like sharpened knives which is a good thing since adamantium is indestructible and cannot be sharpened. That's one of those great comic book moments where reality doesn't enter into the equation. Within moments, Wolverine escapes and runs naked to a nearby farm. The elderly couple (I think they may be the Kents) befriend the naked superhero-- wait, it's that another movie? Wolverine picks up his signature jacket, some clothes and a sweet motorcycle. No sooner than does he pick this up, then one of his former team mates, Agent Zero, blows apart the farmstead, with Wolverines bursting from the fireball on his new hog. He leads the helicopter on a chase in some of these ridiculous situations: the helicopter gives the sharpshooter a literal birds-eye view of Wolverine and still he can't mow him down. Wolverine tricks a hummer into crashing and taking out the helicopter. It's nice to know that there were hummers in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The chopper is a flaming twisted wreck but Wolverine can still deliver some choice words to his would-be assassin before it's all over. The very next scene, Stryker opens up a box with a special pistol and eight adamantium bullets-- the only thing that can penetrate Wolverine's new metallic skull. Do you think he could have handed over that box to the sharpshooter, Agent Zero? Does Stryker think he can kill Wolverine? No-- his plan is to shoot Wolverine in the head and give him amnesia. That's actually his plan.
Wolverine teams up with Wraith (Will I Am) and they go to New Orleans to find the only man who ever escaped Stryker's clutches: a super lucky superhero, Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). In the meantime, Sabretooth has tracked down Scott Summers (Cyclops) and he is taken into custody. Then Sabretooth gets to New Orleans just in time to kill of Wraith leaving his loner brother, Wolverine to go to "The Island" with the help of Gambit. The Island is Three Mile Island. I thought, "Sweet! Tie the meltdown into the events of the movie." Nope.Stryker is holding a bevvy of mutants in storage and in cells. He's also holding Wolverine's woman who faked her death to trick Wolverine into doing his life changing procedure. He is doing experiments to create a super mutant by fueling Ryan Reynolds' character with all of the best superheroes (why not just find Sylar?). The end result is Deadpool. Wolverine mounts a breakout of the mutants-- luckily Cyclops' eyes are still covered so he never breaks the continuity. When the escapees get to the surfaceProfessor X is standing there with a helicopter ready to scoop up the mutants. Back to Wolverine, he's planning on blowing up the facility, so he gets to the top of one of the cooling towers.Sabretooth comes after him. When he's done beating Sabretooth, Deadpool teleports in (he had that power in his bag of tricks). Sabretooth decides that blood is thicker than water and teams up with Wolverine to try to beat Deadpool. They eventually win by cutting his head off. In a visually stunning but stupid moment, decapitated Deadpool falls into the cooling tower his eyes beaming out Cyclops' optic blasts from his eyes cutting the tower apart and raining down destruction.Stryker has a showdown with Wolverine, shoots him with in the head and has the desired amnesia effect (swell how that works). Wolverine emerges from this with two holes in his otherwiseimpenetrable skull and a couple bullets rattling around in there. He doesn't know who he is. Wolverine has to walk the Earth in search of his carefully excised memories.
At points this movie is exciting. Any two minute period of this movie is awesome. Put a couple of those segments together and a pattern emerges: this is a bad movie with great visuals. Almost everyone iscompetent in their roles: good acting, great production values and decent direction. The problem is the script: it's peppered with logic holes, bad decisions and dialogue too lousy to put into a comic book. Writers David Benioff and Skip Woods who wrote such contenders as Hitman, Troy and similar are key to the action packed train wreck of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


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