Thursday, May 19, 2016

Movie Review: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009)

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Movie"X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
Director: Gavin Hood
Year: 2009
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) spend their years fighting in numerous wars throughout history, until they wind up on a special ops team under Commander William Stryker (Danny Huston). After a moral disagreement, Wolverine leaves the team and the lifestyle for good. After their former team members start getting killed, he is dragged back in to the fight and forced to face off against someone from his past.

Director Gavin Hood takes a shot at the superhero genre by giving his take on the origin story of a fan favorite character with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." The story starts all the way back in the 1840's when a young Wolverine, who was then known as James Howlett, learns who his true father is and that his brother is Victor Creed, who would eventually become Sabertooth. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Wolverine for the fourth time, and Liev Schreiber, who we think was a brilliant casting choice, takes over the role of Sabertooth. Schreiber has both the looks and the mannerisms for a character such as Sabertooth and rivals Jackman perfectly. The opening credits are shown over a montage of Wolverine and Sabertooth fighting in the various wars throughout history, even though they are from Canada, which we guess isn't a stretch, but still. This is a really cool sequence and a great opening montage. They eventually wind up under the command of William Stryker, played by Danny Huston in this film, who heads a team of mutants on secret ops missions. There is also a cool action sequence with the team prior to Wolverine leaving the unit after Stryker orders Sabertooth to kill a helpless person. This is something Sabertooth is more than willing to do to accomplish what he needs to, but something Wolverine has a moral problem with, and this causes him to head off on his own. Slowly but surely, a more sinister plot unfolds as former team members start to get killed off one by one.

Once the team starts getting picked off, however, it's really all downhill from there as everything begins to get a bit muddled. The plot itself is pretty rough and feels quite contrived, especially towards the end as secrets are revealed and details are divulged. It all feels a bit underwhelming. Essentially, this could have been an action thriller on its own, without the mutants or any X-Men. It feels like the details regarding Wolverine, Sabertooth, Stryker and their team were thrown in at the last second in order to make an X-Men spin-off. There are some good action scenes and a few decent fight sequences to help us get over that problem, but it's still a pretty glaring problem at that. Everything is unfolding as we very cautiously move from one scene to the next, that is, until Wade Wilson, played by Ryan Reynolds, shows up as Weapon XI. WOW. Talk about a poor damn decision. It seems as if Hood wanted a super powerful main villain for Wolverine to face, so he and the rest of the crew thought it would be cool to give Weapon XI a bunch of powers like teleporting and laser vision, with no regard to Deadpool's.......we mean Weapon XI's, actual abilities. They also make him look like Baraca from Mortal Kombat as he mirrors Wolverine, only with the ability to fight with giant swords coming out of his arms instead of claws coming from his hands.. They also took off the mouth of the "Merc with a Mouth." Talk about a clusterf*ck! This was a massive miscalculation on the part of the filmmakers and the studio. To take a character with such a specific skill set and attitude so far away from its original source really hurt "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" as a whole, and almost negates any good it contained up until this point.

In the end, the genre cliches are out in full force in this film with some hit or miss CGI and some hit or miss acting. Even if we were entertained by the entire thing, it still doesn't make up for the massive disappointment of Weapon XI, which makes us all the more thankful for the brand new version "Deadpool," butt sex and all. The good parts only very slightly outweigh the bad. This is one of our two least favorite movies in the X-Men series, even with the stellar Jackman and the welcomed addition of Liev Schreiber.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 38%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
To see our review of "X-Men," click here.

To see our review of "X2: X-Men United," click here.

To see our review of "X-Men: The Last Stand," click here.

To see our review of "X-Men: First Class," click here.

To see our review of "The Wolverine," click here.

To see our review of "X-Men: Days of Future Past," click here.

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