Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schrieber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins

"I didn't call him Blob. I said "bub". God damn it."
-Wolverine, at the height of the film's wit

It’s called X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It sucks. What more do you need?

The movie begins with a cautionary tale to parents: if you’re going to lie to your kids and plan on telling them someday, do NOT come home drunk, shout abusively at your children’s mother and then shoot the man who they think is their real father. Especially not if they’re actually mutants whose powers can awaken at any moment, spring razor sharp bone claws from their hands and drive them into a frantic rage, ending your life immediately. That’s probably not the best idea.

Of course the little kid in the opening sequence is Wolverine. I bet that took a real rocket scientist to guess! After our title sequence, which gets a few points for actually showing some action while it’s going on, but loses some more for annoyingly freezing the screen to show the credits and not letting you know exactly when the real movie is going to start, we cut to a prison cell 12 years later. Inside the cell are Wolverine and Sabretooth, or Logan and Victor, but I really don’t think it matters all that much what you call them. A guy named Stryker is giving them a chance to break out of their running away and join his special forces team with a bunch of other guys that couldn’t make it into The Expendables. Will they do it, or will they instead continue to live their lives of…

Oh, in the next scene they’re in a jet with a bunch of other soldiers. Well that certainly cuts down on the suspense, doesn’t it? The team is made up of a token Asian dude who can do acrobatics that would make the entire Ringling Bros. circus blush, a token black dude in a cowboy hat over his military garb – yeah, not very good camouflage – who can appear and disappear at will and Ryan Reynolds. Oh, Ryan Reynolds, where do we even start with him? Let’s just say that the writers of this movie didn’t realize that in order to make a witty character witty and entertaining, the first step is to get some funny jokes. Which he does not have. So he mostly makes the viewer want to stab a spork through his eye. Or through their own ears so they don't have to listen to his unfunny attempts at humor.

So apparently after one mission that goes wrong in the jungle, Logan decides to call it quits, because it just isn’t worth it to cause harm to people. His brother Victor is so overcome with the desire to keep him there that he just…stands in one place and shouts, not making any motion to bring him back. The other guys say that he can’t just walk away, but you had me fooled, as it looked like nobody even made one move to go after him! We then cut to 6 more years later…okay, what is up with the time jumps? It’s really hard to care about the story when we’re only in each period of time for about 5 minutes! It’s like they’re playing Frogger with the movie’s timeline.

Apparently six years has turned Logan into a happy family man who spends his time looking at post-cards of the Rocky Mountains with his trophy wife/girlfriend/whatever and working as a logger. However, all of that is about to come crashing down when Stryker comes back and tells Logan that someone is killing off all their old teammates, and that he should come back and help stop it. He refuses, but as he says to his wife, “I’m the best there is at what I do.” Back at home she starts telling him a story about how the moon used to have a lover until they were split apart, never to be able to touch one another again due to the tricks of a vague…trickster. “They called it the Wolverine,” she says.

Uh…no, it doesn’t work like that, movie. You can’t try to…romanticize the creation of his superhero code-name. That’s incredible; it’s like completely missing the point – whoosh goes the point right over the writers’ heads. Astounding.

Unfortunately, his wife is killed off almost immediately afterwards by Victor, who has been the killer all along! Why? I don’t know; I guess they couldn’t find any better ways to move the story along. Logan grieves for about a second before he goes into a blind rage and attacks his brother at a bar, which he found him at by some unexplained process…yeah, I don’t think they thought this out too well either. But hey, then we get a fight scene! It’s pretty decent I suppose, even though the movie tries its hardest to suppress that fact with corny, childish dialogue.

So Wolverine agrees to go with Stryker to take down Victor. He has to undergo a process that will mold adamantium to his skin, a special kind of metal they discovered in the jungle. They’re about to erase his memory before he breaks out and runs for it, taking refuge at the house of an elderly couple. They for some reason don’t seem to care that he completely destroys their bathroom by accident, or that he showed up completely naked…but they’re killed off pretty quickly by the sniper character who tries to pin it on Logan.

Hold up there. They just killed off an elderly couple who probably never hurt a fly in their lives? Dick move, man!

Through a long chain of events we establish that it was all a set up by Stryker that Logan’s wife was killed, and that he has an island that he is using to perform experiments on mutants. We also see this guy, who I don't think you'd want to end up next to on the bus or in an elevator:

Seriously, it looks like a cow's ass on steroids.

Logan runs in with the much-beloved character Gambit, whose personality here is almost non-existent – heinous. And the black cowboy-hat wearing mutant is killed off with little fanfare…you know what the problem with this movie is? They just keep killing off characters so fast that you never have a chance to even care about them a little. It’s just poor writing, and it makes the movie a real chore to sit through on all accounts. But then, I guess if I was starring in this movie I wouldn’t want to be in it for very long, either. That’s got to be really embarrassing to be a high-profile actor and end up in a job like this.

The rest of the movie is mostly just decent fighting scenes with nothing else to add substance or meaning to them. The characters exchange one-note quips that aren’t even the least bit witty, like they weren’t even trying at this point. It’s so boring I can’t even comprehend it. I guess the fight scenes are entertaining, but you need more than that! Where’s the substance? It’s like a complete void of anything that isn’t pure adrenaline-driven action, any other kind of emotion. Why aren’t you trying harder?

There’s one scene where we see Stryker talking to an associate about his new weapon, where it’s revealed that apparently Stryker’s son was a mutant who accidentally killed his wife. And they’re only just now getting suspicious that he might be too emotionally involved to continue this project. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I bet they’d also be cool with a guy who’s family got murdered be the bodyguard of the murderer, wouldn’t they? That seems like it’d make sense to these jackasses. Oh, but there’s more! Stryker’s last ‘weapon’ is finally revealed and it looks like…Baraka from Mortal Kombat with his mouth sewn shut? Huh?


They’re apparently calling him Deadpool and…wait, what? Deadpool? The character that looks and acts NOTHING like this Baraka wannabe? How did they even come to that conclusion? What kind of retarded brain mash would ever be able to logically connect the two? That’s just…gah, what the hell were they thinking? You’re going down a dark road you can’t come back from, movie. You can’t just do this all nonchalantly and think you can get away with it. You know what? Fuck it. This review is over, right here. I’m done. Let’s just wrap it up.

The characters aren’t interesting, the acting is only passable, the dialogue sounds like it was written by a 12 year old and the only reasons to ever watch this are the action scenes. This is basically just a throwaway movie. It’s got nothing substantial and you could do better by just turning it off and doing anything else in the world, literally. But wait, isn’t there a way to sum up the conclusion to this review in a way that is more fitting of such a creatively lacking and all around impressive film? A way that is much shorter and more concise?

Oh, wait, I remember: This is crap. Don’t watch it. Full stop.