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Movie Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Posted By Artie Augustyn On May 13, 2009 @ 11:59 am In Arts and Entertainment | Comments Disabled

Comic book movies aren’t always the easiest things to predict in terms of quality. For the most part they’re pretty terrible, with atrocities like Daredevil and Catwoman scarring our retinas indefinitely.

On the other hand, though, there are some quality flicks such as Spiderman and The Dark Knight.

If there’s any franchise that understands the spontaneity of a film’s variable quality rate, it’s X-Men.

With the first two films being decent and the third being one of the worst creations Hollywood has manifested in recent years, it was hard to predict if a spin-off of that series would be any good.

Enter X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a somewhat unnecessary film that focuses entirely on the main character, Wolverine.

The choice to focus on his character is somewhat bizarre since the first three films were focused on Wolverine; if any character didn’t need any more development, it was this guy.

Regardless of its necessity to exist, Wolverine is on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to straight up action flicks.In case you haven’t heard, Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

If you don’t recall the lore of the X-Men franchise, allow me to deliver the knowledge. Wolverine, despite looking like a twenty-something-year-old man, is in fact somewhere around three hundred years old.

His unique ability to heal his body’s wounds allows him to age at an infinite rate.

So prior to the first three X-Men films, there’s around 298 years that we don’t know about; that’s where X-Men Origins comes in.

You follow Wolverine’s trajectory from childhood to a few months before the first X-Men film.

It’s interesting to see where the character developed from and how he built up multiple conflicts and relationships with many people along the way¦ but it’s all for naught.

In the first X-Men movie, Wolverine suffers from amnesia, so he doesn’t remember any of his past.

While amnesia is a legitimate affliction, in movie-language, this makes the entire film virtually pointless in the greater scale of things.

Wolverine’s loss of memory is explained fairly logically in X-Men Origins, but it’s equivalent to the final scene of a movie saying, “It was all a dream! In short, none of the past two hours mattered.

The continuity really starts to go haywire when future major characters of the X-Men movies appear in this film.
The biggest violator is Sabertooth, the main antagonist of X-Men Origins.

Sabertooth is Wolverine’s older brother who shares similar traits with him.

They can both regenerate their bodies, allowing both to age forever, and they both have bone claws that they can use to deal some damage to their adversaries
.
The problem with this is that Sabertooth is presented in this film with a strong emotional connection to Wolverine; they’re blood brothers and have an obvious rivalry.

However, Sabertooth was already in the first X-Men movie, but doesn’t have any of these connections to Wolverine in that movie.

Even though Wolverine loses his memory, Sabertooth does not, so this detachment between the two characters doesn’t make any sense.

In addition to Sabertooth there are other smaller role character, such as fan-favorite Gambit, who appear in this film but are mysteriously absent from the rest.

So if you’re looking for a continuous story arc, Wolverine will more than likely mess with your head rather than please your curiosity.

However, as a standalone piece, X-Men Origins is a solid film that is pleasing to the eyes. If you ignore the obvious continuity issues and remain focused on the canon of this particular movie, it’s quite good.

Wolverine’s story is an interesting one, and his rivalry with his brother, Sabretooth, has a few betrayals and tricks to keep the conflict interesting. The action rolls along at a fair pace, meaning that there’s never a dull moment.
There’s nothing too bad about X-Men Origins, but it does have a lot of potential that it never fully utilizes.
Since the story is focused on Wolverine, it doesn’t allow other characters to develop quite as much as audiences and fans may want.

The most obvious examples are Deadpool, a sarcastic “merc with a mouth who appears for the first five minutes of the film and is never seen again, and Gambit, a Cajun thief of sorts who showcases an interesting background, but never reveals the full extent of his story.

I suppose the use of “X-Men Origins: ______ implies that it’s a new brand name that will delve into other characters in the series eventually (for example, X-Men Origins: Magneto is in the works) but you still get an urge for more.

If you’re looking for an action flick with a lot of mutant-based stabbing and shooting, without any dynamic central plot, Wolverine is definitely the way to go.

It doesn’t quite reach the level of quality that X2 did, but it’s far superior to the horrendous X3. The story’s got some heart to it, and isn’t all explosions and flat expressions; there’s some genuine storytelling going on that you might not see in other comic book movies.

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