X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review (2009)
Cautiously optimistic was probably how every comic book nerd felt when Fox announced that they were making an X-men spin off series based around the flagship character Wolverine. Everyone seemed excited to see it, but everyone also new it might be total crap. Well as one of those fans I would just like to say: it wasn't total crap but it fell below expectation.
Quick Recap: We finally learn where Wolverine comes from, how old he is and why he and Sabertooth don't get along. The film also expands upon the X2 character of William Stryker during his days with the Weopon X program.
Hugh Jackman is once again back as the character that made him. The film opens with a truncated version of his comicbook origin and sets forth using the opening credits to tell the story of him and his brother (Sabertooth, I KNOW!) throughout history, eventually leading up to the Vietnam War. Wolverine can sense his brother's apetite for carnage is getting stronger and the two wind up on a special team formed by Stryker to "serve their country".
The special team at the beginning of the film was actually my favorite part and was played very well by the actors. It is during this scene that we get a "Dirty Dozen" team vibe that helps to paint the picture of the kind of work these men do. It is also during this scene that we are treated to the long awaited big screen debut of the Marvel B-list character Deadpool, played pitch perfectly by Ryan Reynolds (sorry, I'm a Deadpool fan...you know what?! I'm not sorry!) This opening scene sets the tone for the film before it sadly starts to fall apart under the weight of too many characters and lack of focus on character relationships. Now, that said, I enjoyed the film, but it seemed to me that Fox was more concerned about the action figures they could sell than they were about story. After Wolverine leaves the team because he's tired of the bloodletting he is set on the path of revenge. This seems like it would be the perfect throughline for the character, but it turns into a scavenger hunt to get to the next cool character. We are however treated to a worthy subplot that does carry directly over into the X-Men movies and this film also gives us a cameo that I certainly wasn't expecting.
In short: Too many characters, not enough character moments, labrynthine plot to the end was subpar and some of the special effects seemed a tad rushed.
I really wanted to love this movie, but it didn't perform for me. Jackman, Schreiber, Reynolds, all turn in excellent performances but the problems seems to lie with the script. It's not what I wanted, but it was entertaining and I certainly hope it performs well enough to give us more Wolverine adventures. Maybe they'll do better on the next one. If it makes you feel better, just know it didn't even touch Spiderman 3's badness and niether stoops to the level ofBatman and Robin.
Was it worth the money: Yes. Will I buys the DVD?: Eventually. I'm hoping a director's cut might clean up some of the problems. Is it a Masterpiece: No. But I would recommend this movie to fans of superhero films who aren't comicbook fans. It's entertaining, but beyond that it's a subpar entry in an otherwise exceptional series.