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The X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Movie) Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s script may be the summation of everything derisive about the phrase “comic book movie.”  Of course, if you’ve read any comics with Wolverine in them, I can succinctly sum up the lameness of the script in two words: “adamantium bullets.”  Both times that phrase opened a scene, the audience laughed.  Not good.

I really don’t envy someone trying to write a screenplay for Wolverine’s origin, and I say this for two reasons:

  1. The various fragments of Wolverine’s origin have been written piecemeal over the last 30-odd years, with a couple years filled in here, a couple filled in there and plenty of active revision.  If you try and lay out the source material it’s a patchwork quilt that might well make you snicker when taken as a time line.
  2. Wolverine has always been the most popular when the character’s past was an enigma.  When the character ceases to be mysterious, he’s just not as interesting.  The comic book sales have sunk drastically since his origins have been revealed (both in raw numbers and relative position on the sales chart).  The Wolverine in the X-Men film franchise was also the mysterious one.  It would have made more sense to spin the character off post-X-Men than to try and explain away the mystery.

You can’t blame the director or the actors for the script.  What poor Gavin Hood, Hugh Jackman and company ended up with was a string of action sequences strung together with the barest of plots and clichés galore.  The filming was fine.  The acting was fine.  Live Schreiber is a striking improvement, if not an entirely consistent one, from Tyler Mane’s origination of the role in the first X-Men film.  The effects were… alright.  Personally, I thought Wolverine’s claws looked like plastic far too often, but the effects in the X-Men films were never to the level of Iron Man.

But it all boils down to the script, an unfortunate victim of trying to concatenate too many story elements of the origin and inserting some completely unnecessary characters into the fray.

Unnecessary characters, you ask?  Wade Wilson/Deadpool was part of the Weapon X program, that would make sense and Ryan Reynolds version (aside from being way too pretty) worked.  Where they went with that at the end: unnecessary.  Gambit had no reason to be shoehorned in to what was already a hackneyed plot element.  Then you have the whole idiocy of retrofitting Cyclops and the initial recruitment of the X-Men into Wolverine’s origin (with the added b-movie action element of children in danger to drag things down).  Most of this had to be studio-driven, much as how Venom got shoehorned into Spider-Man 3 to the detriment and general cluttering of the film.

How bad was the script?  I’ll spare you what passes for twists and turns and false identities.  You know Wolverine has no memories of his past when you get to the X-Men, so you know the memories have to go away by the end of this film.  The vehicle for erasing his memories?  Shoot him in the brain with adamantium bullets.  (For non-X-Men geeks, adamantium is the virtually indestructible metal that’s attached to Wolverine’s skeleton and claws.)

Can you get much cheesier and lame than adamantium bullet-induced amnesia?  I don’t think so.

If you want to see Hugh Jackman jump over a waterfall while naked, then go see this in the theater.  (The exceedingly loud woman behind me who was very specific that her date bring her a children’s snack pack with a non-carbonated beverage probably didn’t score any points with the fellow when she made an equally loud “mmm, mmm, mmmmm” noise at the nude water show.)  If that’s not what you’re seeing it for, wait for the dollar rental.  Oh, there are worse things you could see, but there are also a whole lot better.  I mean, “adamantium bullets?” Even for a Steven Seagal movie, that would be stooping.

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