Film Reviews

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

By • May 9th, 2009 •

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A troubled but toned super-mutant burned by love. You’ll forget Jackman was in AUSTRALIA.

I dreaded a movie on the origins of Wolverine. I saw AUSTRALIA. I still shudder at the memory of THE FOUNTAIN. Would Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine be shirtless, yelping, and making orgasmic faces?

Not having ever read an X-Men comic, this movie review is based solely on the movie!

I know. I’m a rebel.

If “they” wanted to keep Jackman in the X-Men family, the carrot was waved (sweeten with the Executive Producer credit) and this franchise mutant was bestowed his very own feature film. And one where he doesn’t just growl and cast about aggressive pheromones. It’s his conflicted backstory!

Why is it that only villains enjoy their superpowers? They are not tormented.

So we go back to the beginning. A beginning that isn’t very clear to the uninformed. A young boy, Logan, the future Wolverine, is sick in bed. An older boy, Victor, the future Sabretooth, is openly hostile to the sick boy. Why is this stranger being nursed in Victor’s home? Very quickly, Logan gets demon-possessed into his version of a New Age spirit-animal and eviscerates Victor’s father. He tells Logan he is his real father. Huh? Bad timing to be sure! What kind of a parting gift is this? His son’s claws are ripping his intestines out! Now Logan has to grow up with that psychological trauma on his resume.

Victor takes baby brother through the woods and a montage shows Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) as grown men going from one war to another. They sure keep busy. There is their Civil War duty, two World Wars, and the Vietnam War. They kill, they get mortally-wounded, but they are immortal.

They can’t die.

It takes Logan decades of war to finally say “Enough”. Maybe it was the fact that their boss, Stryker (Danny Huston), had them doing mercenary work in East Africa. For Victor, he’s in his element. This is his biological inheritance. For Logan, killing got old.

So Logan leaves the elite gang of killer mutants, angering Victor who feels betrayed. He vows to kill Logan for abandoning him. Victor has separation issues.

We leap ahead six years and Logan is now working as a lumberjack in tranquil Canada, with an ethereal schoolteacher for a live-in girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Does he ever get mad and slip into his animal nature?

Surrounded by nature and unconditional love, Logan’s paradise is ruined by a visit by Stryker. Someone is killing off the team! Victor is not far behind. When Victor finds Kayla instead of Logan, he sends a message. Love me, not her.

Game on!

Knowing he can’t beat Victor in a mutant fight, Logan allows Stryker to turn him into Weapon X. But Logan is already immortal or in very good shape for a man over one hundred fifty years old. Seems Stryker has extracted the magical essence of nine other mutants and wants to infuse Logan with all their powers. Stryker achieves his goal, but Logan will not obey. Stryker, having spent a billion dollars, summarily orders Logan be killed with a kryptonite bullet.

Logan is expendable. There is a Weapon XI in the wings!

But first, there is boxing match, a new mutant with a cocky attitude, and the left-at-the-altar Sabretooth.

I wasn’t expecting much. It’s based on a fantasy comic book! It is high art compared to THE FANTASTIC FOUR (or that guy who wears a toilet seat over his head).

I loved the rich, deep color saturation the director, Gavin Hood, gave the production. There are a few blunders: When Logan becomes Wolverine, his hair leaps out; Huston’s facelift gives him a feminine look instead of the face of a mass murderer, and what is Dominic Monaghan doing in this movie with his big ears and funky, wayward nose?

A warning: If you have heard there is a tagged-on bonus scene, you have to sit through five minutes of credits. That is okay since all those people deserve credit, but we are cheated with only a 10 second scene. Next time give us a full minute extra scene or we will leave the theater feeling hoodwinked.

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