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May 11, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is exactly what the title describes—the origin story of the character Wolverine from X-Men. Why they made a film dealing specifically with Wolverine’s past was baffling, as it so was brilliantly dealt with in Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2: X-Men United. Beginning with the young Logan accidentally murdering his father, he and his brother Victor run into a patriotic opening title sequence in which they run through every major war in US history, finishing up in Vietnam. Taking away from the complex structure of the first two X-Men films, screenwriter David Benioff turns Wolverine into a simple revenge tale where Logan/Wolverine (Jackman) is looking for revenge on his brother Victor (Schreiber), who killed his girlfriend. All the parts of the story involving mutants are tacked onto this structure in the most basic way.

The problems with Wolverine begin with David Benioff’s script, consisting of two hours of characters not conversing but speaking one-liners to each other. Lines like “No, a gift you can return” and “It was real for me too” lend the film a superficial quality resembling a daytime TV soap opera which really doesn’t fit the films action tone. Chronologically the story does not match with the universe created in Singer’s films, although Jackman is playing Wolverine and Patrick Stewart has a cameo as Professor X. The action scenes rely far too heavily on CGI, with Wolverine’s claws being all digital this time around. The final battle scene between Wolverine and Weapon XI took place in a fully CG environment and looked so incredibly fake it seemed like they’d cut the sequence in from an X-Box game. The changing perspectives in this sequence that didn’t align from shot to shot serve only to highlight the ludicrous nature of the source material.

Audience members familiar with New Zealand’s central Otago region will have a hard time accepting the majority of the story takes place in Canada, as the filmmakers have made no effort to disguise the NZ landscape. For a comic book film to work it needs to have a larger social commentary which resonates while still delivering a fast pace and enough action sequences to keep the popcorn-munching masses happy, a formula which resulted in the success of the first two X-Men films and The Dark Knight. Wolverine on the other hand is exactly the film that gives comic book movies a bad name.

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