Theatrical Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

In this prequel story to the prior three X-Men movies, we see the beginnings of the Wolverine character and are offered glimpses at how he became to be what he is. He develops over the years into an expert combatant, and he’s done his job faithfully until one day when he’s had enough, and on that day he leaves and tries to find his own path of peace. And of course, for a movie like this, that just can’t go well for a moment.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fun little action/adventure ride, that offers up a few nice plot points and easter eggs for X-Men comics fans, and it is a pretty decent ride… there’s lots of nice action bits, and three pretty cool performances from Hugh Jackman in the title role, Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabretooth and Danny Huston as Major William Stryker, a prequel version of the character that Brian Cox played in the second X-Men movie. Schreiber, in particular, looks like he’s having a real good time with this. There’s some cool nods to the various comic versions of the origins of Wolverine, primarily with the series Wolverine Origin by Paul Jenkins and Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith. And I think it has some decent, if not obvious, effects work. I’ve heard some complaints about the effects work here, but they don’t really bother me.

It’s a fun ride for what it is and that’s a fun popcorn movie, and there’s really nothing wrong with that, that’s obviously what Fox and Marvel Entertainment are striving for in this movie and for that, it’s a good time, but it also seems like a lesser effort in comparison to last year’s Iron Man and Incredible Hulk movies, though that’s also somewhat expected considering that Marvel has full control over those and not this one. That’s not saying that someone won’t have a good time here, just an observation.

It’s fun for what it is, but considering the sources, especially one of them for me in particular, one wonders just how much more this could’ve been, had those sources been more used. What I’m speaking of is Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith, which is in my view anyway, the very best Wolverine story ever told, and not exactly the fodder of what a summer entertainment action movie would be, but something that had it been more used as the focus, could’ve raised the bar considerably for this film. Weapon X is a truly terrifying and horrific story that in itself would make for one hell of a movie, and here, it’s just used as a means to an end for something that’s far more generic in movie terms, and again, there’s really nothing wrong with that. This is the movie that was chosen to be made and perhaps using something like that as the sole source of the film would’ve been too much of taking a chance with this franchise, because it surely isn’t atypical for a summer action movie. But with movies like The Dark Knight and Watchmen raising the bar, I’d kinda like to see the Marvel movies do a little of that as well.

But still it is a good time and it does have those little bits that are fun ties to the X-Men movie continuity. It’s a solid action movie diversion, though in the end, it just may not be as memorable as some of the other movies are.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

03. May 2009 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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