I seem to remember a bunch of different Wolverine origin stories in the comics. So many alternate universe stories floated around, I don’t quite remember which was which anymore. I think I had moved off of most of my Marvel books by the time they came out. Yes, yes, I know, I’m a BAD nerd! I should be punished. But I had stopped reading The Punisher by then, too. Hey, I had just moved to L.A. and I needed to be selective about my comics, and sorry, but I have always been more of a DC Vertigo reader anyway. So, when seeing “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, I was a little rusty on the original story.
The movie, obviously, tells us how Wolverine came to be. It starts with his childhood, the loss of his father, his relationship with his brother, Victor Creed, and follows him to his meeting of William Stryker, and his transformation from Logan to Wolverine, aka, Weapon X, and the big summer action mayhem that follows.
And that is what this movie is pretty much all about. There are some great superhero action moments in this movie. Some really fun comic book action. But I can’t help but feel like I didn’t …feel enough.
There was a lot of focus on Logan’s dual personality. He’s a good man, but there’s a raging animal that lies within him, always waiting to be released. But it seemed force fed to me, as opposed to being naturally explained in the story. But what the Hell, this is about Wolverine, and it’s not like we don’t know all about this already, right? This is just a big crazy popcorn movie, not another “Benjamin Button” or “Schindler’s List” or “Out of Africa“. We don’t need subtlety or dramatic build-up, just lots of stuff BLOWING up.
I’m sure if we put Sir Anthony Hopkins and Meryl Streep in this we’d have a very different, (pretty weird) movie. Maybe get it produced and directed by the folks at Merchant Ivory (editor’s note: You would need a time machine, as they haven’t been around for years) and see what happens? I’m sure it would make a lovely period romance that we’d all shed a tear over, but then, didn’t we all do that with Ang Lee’s Hulk? Yes, yes we did; tears of disappointment.
No, this is a comic book movie like a comic book movie probably ought to be: melodramatic music, big effects, cool, tough guy moments, and lots of ass-kicking. And for the emotional crowd, they’ve thrown in a couple of tough guy-screams-at-the-sky-while-holding-a-dead-loved-one-in-his-arms moments, too. Take that, Ang Lee!
I should mention that the acting is pretty great. Special props go to Liev Schreiber who made a great Victor/Sabretooth. Ryan Reynolds is great as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, but strangely does not actually play Deadpool as Weapon XI. Weird. The Gambit character was pretty cool, but I was never really all that informed about Gambit, so I’ll leave that to the uber X-men nerds.
There was a weird CG Patrick Stewart at the end of this. Did he want too much money for a couple lines of dialogue and a few seconds of screen time? Was he not available for the one day it probably would’ve taken to shoot him? Did I miss some wacky story about this in the trades and everyone else is thinking I’m an idiot for not knowing about it? Who knows? It doesn’t change the weird factor of seeing a CG Patrick Stewart.
Ok, I enjoyed this movie, but I didn’t love it. It’s an ok summer opener, but I’m guessing it won’t be remembered after ”Star Trek”, or even “Terminator Salvation”. But it IS a fun summer popcorn movie, so go turn your brain off and have fun.
—Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, seeing a slightly better than average film.