X-Men Origins – Wolverine (Review)

It's a W. (Any Ali G fans out there?)

It’s a W. (Any Ali G fans out there?)

Tired of unoriginal and increasingly yawnworthy horror flicks of late, I turned to mainstream Hollywood for something fresh and original. When have they steered me wrong?

What’s this then, my local cinema is showing a new film regarding a character out of the three X-Men movies, none of which I cared for, how can I pass that up?

The latest example of the American hard-on for prequels, Wolverine jumps straight into the action with young Wolvie killing his pop after discovering his new talent, and he and his brother run off, never to return.

(I remember when I was Wolvie’s age, hair was growing in various new and exciting places, (especially my sideburns!), my hair grew naturally into all sorts of weird gravity defying configurations, and hardened steel grew out of my hands, it is a beautiful time when you are 12 years old.)

Hugh and Liev Schreiber at least throw themselves into the action with the early goings on, turns out that in 1845 they were both young kids and as they grew up over the next 150 years they decided to do what they were best suited, and fight in any and every war over the period.

In one of the latter battles they are approached to join a newly created group of mercenaries, kind of a special ops sort of deal with a bunch of similarly gifted men, (read: mutants).

The unit is lead by Stryker, and Logan and Victor, as the boys are still known at this time are initially in their element. However after a time they are given orders that go beyond your ordinary garden variety “soldiering”, and Logan objects, to the point that he leaves the unit, Victor decides that this is the life for me and stays on.

It is obvious that the guys in the unit are the guys that we will be spending the rest of the film with, and it was at this point in the film that I became very concerned with how the next 70 minutes would progress. We have members of the all 2000s B-Team: Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Monaghan and Will.I.Fucking.Am

Let me just say when you stock your cast with three guys of that calibre, you are aiming too low, and yes I am aware that one of them was a hobbit at one time. I was never going into Wolverine expecting The Dark Knight or Iron Man, but putting pretty boys and not character actors in these roles gives me the impression that the film-makers are more worried with name recognition than they are their product. Ryan Reynolds further ruined the (already ordinary) Blade:Trinity, and hasn’t made a single thing of substance in a mediocre career. Will.I.Am cannot act and Dominic Monaghan’s career hasn’t soared since LOTR, though personally I blame the talking trees.

So where were we? Oh yeah, I guess what I am saying is that Hugh Jackman is a good looking boy, with a fairly formidable physique in this film. After he decides he disagrees with the unit’s genocide policy and leaves we move to 6 Years Later mode. Logan is now working hard for his cash as you would expect, and has shacked up with a chick who looks like the offspring of Renee Zelleweger and Catherine Keener, and if that is even possible I want an immediate stop to all genetic engineering, as it was badly misused in this case.

It becomes evident to us (in a scene where Dominic Monaghan just straight-out slaughters an American accent) that someone is hunting down former members of the unit, and Stryker visits Logan and his laydee to warn them.

Unfortunately Logan ignores the warning and (backhanded) offers of help, and finds the crumpled body of his girly. In the defence of the killer, a few minutes previous she gave Logan a crappy “moon spirit world” story that had me hoping she would die. For that alone Hugh Jackman gets my nomination as Best Actor, as any guy knows how hard it is to appear interested when their partner recounts a dream or spreads a 2 minute anecdote into a four hour saga.

So Wolvie is understandably pissed and goes back to Stryker to get souped up, in a scene designed specifically to enable Jackman to Rooooaaaaarrrrr out of the water, which admittedly does look pretty cool. Once again Jackman is the handsome loner and decides he’d rather go it alone, and after his escape he is taken in by a doddery old farming couple, who help him recuperate, give him a leather jacket and a motorcycle and most important a further reason for revenge.

The final half an hour is a snail trail of chase scenes and fight scenes, with only pause for the introduction of some new characters who were so cool I have already forgotten them.

The one scene I did like, even though it was 99% thanks to CGI, was the motorcycle chase (I knew there was a reason the old guy gave it to him!) which features a pretty literal source to the term “handbraking”.  There is a guy in a fat suit who looks like a cross between Fat Bastard from Austin Powers and Mickey Rourke from “The Wrestler”, and the scene that he appears in can only be there to keep the 13 year old boys in the audience happy it is so juvenile.

The finale occurs on “The island of Dr Stryker”, where Mr Stryker has amassed an impressive collection of mutants in handy cages, including a guy with laser rays that come from his eyes who never thinks to use them on the bars.

In the finale Wolvie (Weapon X) fights the new and improved (now with new Weapon smell!) Weapon XI in another thanks to CGI scene of little real entertainment value.

In keeping with the glossy, shiny, just-do-enough adequacy policy that describes most Hollywood tripe, X-Men blah blah blah is OK without wowing anyone older than 12, there ain’t much to it.

And to those who say well it killed a couple hours and could have been worse, I say that perhaps you should reevaluate your standards and aim higher. There are enough good movies out there that you shouldn’t have to watch stuff like this, and the only way to raise standards is to stop paying $15 each, which in this case has lead to Wolvie making 163 MILLION in the first few weeks alone! Sigh)

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Like plastic flowers this looks pretty, but ultimately it is shiny, pointless and forgotten in 2 weeks.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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