X-Men Origins (2009)

  Wolverine

Two mutant brothers, Logan and Victor, born 200 years ago, suffer childhood trauma and have only each other to depend on. Basically, they're fighters and killers, living from war to war through U.S. history. In modern times, a U.S. colonel, Stryker, recruits them and other mutants as commandos. Logan quits and becomes a logger, falling in love with a local teacher. When Logan refuses to rejoin Stryker's crew, the colonel sends the murderous Victor. Logan now wants revenge. - synopsis from IMDB

 Cast  - full listing

 Genres

action, science-fiction

 Facts & Figures

Directed by Gavin Hood.

Rated 6.7 on IMDB from 386421 votes.

Runtime: 107 min.

 Review

Whilst the other three movies had never really engaged me to any noticeable level, trailers and the like looked very promising for Wolverine. As Logan was one of the most interesting characters in those anyway, maybe we were in for a treat.

Well, the verdict will have to be: “kinda”. Slightly shy of two hours of film shows us Logan’s life from somewhere in the 1800s to present time, travelling from war to war “serving his country”, although he’s not an American. The ongoing theme of his life is one of trying to balance being different than others and trying to find affection to counter his violent nature. And as Logan appears to give up on the military using his services to favour a more peaceful life in the mountains, so does Gavin Hood give up on us.

First off, this is another one of those don’t take it all too seriously types of movies. And in this case, that means don’t take it all too literally either. I’m not normally the one to pick out mistakes or inconsistencies, certainly not at first time viewing, but Wolverine stuggles to keep things together at stages.

With a decent cast it’s disappointing to see this movie still fails to stand out. Even Hugh Jackman who has made the character of Logan his own and the impeccable Liev Schreiber can’t get their performances to rub off on the movie as a whole. As I write this, I finally realize what bugged me about this movie and its predecessors. There’s too much there to make it interesting. By too much, I mean too many characters. Presumably, satisfying the fans requires dragging out all the characters from the comics, and consequently having no time to show any of them in great detail. We see mutants with all kinds of abilities, some of which deserve far more elaboration. Having an “Origins” movie, which should allow for some more detailed zooming in on characters apparently can’t shake off that burden either. We learn some things about Wolverine, but Sabretooth, who is positioned as his main counterpart here, gains practically no attention beyond the odd quote and action scene. All the others, oh well, they were there. I think. It’s a shame to see how little is done with the appealing material the director had to work with. Excellent acting seldom makes up for a lousy story.IMHO, any fantasy or science fiction story becomes compelling only by the consequences the aberrations from a non-fictional world imply. Simply handing out special powers, skills and abilities does nothing but set the stage for a fictional tale. It’s the intriguing possibilities and behavior these assets produce that allow imagination to colour the story, the characters and its message. I assume avid fans of the original comics will say their ideas and fantasies when reading were as vibrant as the stories in the magazines. When it keeps you awake at night, pondering implications and alternative storylines is when you know you’ve found something special.

On a more positive note, this was the first time in a while since I noticed a musical soundtrack really making a difference. It may not go through the roof such as others, but especially the opening scenes are dramatically portayed by it. Well done!

So Hollywood’s ability to produce a good action movie is reaffirmed. Did anyone really doubt that? I’m looking forward to something fresh instead. Wolverine however never breaks the average mark.

Seen: 29 Apr 2009

X-Men Origins

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