"X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
Directed by Gavin Hood ("Tsotsi").
Written by David Benioff and Skip Woods. Based on the comic
Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston and Lynn
Release Year: 2009
Review Date: 5/1/09
I said this after I watched the first
"X-Men" movie nine years ago (trust me, it's
in the review): they would have been better off calling that first
film "X-Men: Wolverine", because that was a better title for a movie
that starred Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) and featured a
number of other people with names, but no background stories.
Why it took the people at Marvel nine years to figure out a way to
make a movie solely concerning Wolverine is beyond me, but now that
it is here, the franchise followed up the
"X-Men: The Last Stand"
with a prequel in terms of story, but sequel in terms of action.
That's because "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
(an awful title; why not just call it "Wolverine"??) is about two
things--looking at Jackman all man-like in his Ike t-shirts, and
nearly continuous action sequences. Sure, we get some of the
story behind Logan's birth in the mid-1800s and his growth to become
a roughly 30-something freak, nearly indestructible and one of
America's top soldiers along with his brother Victor (Liev
Schreiber), who both have, well, "powers." Then, after getting
thrown in military prison following an incident during the Vietnam
War, they meet Stryker (played here by Danny Huston...he was played
by Brian Cox in "X2"), who offers the
two brothers a chance at some black ops work with some other
mutants, like a ninja named Wade (Ryan Reynolds), a gun specialist
called Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), and a guy that has superhuman
strength named Dukes (Kevin Durand). Things go wrong, some
other stuff happens, Logan meets a hottie (Lynn Collins) after
moving to Canada, and Stryker comes after Logan with a special
offer: becoming indestructible.
The film covers much of this story in a way
that is almost a separate action movie...it all moves fast (loved
the opening credits), we get only the pertinent facts, and then
Wolverine goes back to whooping ass or blowing shit up. He
also breaks out those signature claws every three minutes in case
you forget he can do that. We get a taste of all the other
mutant's powers; we get a taste of what other movies could offer in
said mutant powers; then Wolverine fights somebody else and ends the
sequence with the retracting claws sound effect.
Add that to my bad-ass crowd for the
midnight showing I caught tonight, and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is
probably a little stronger in my mind than it really is
artistically...but, hey, it's the start of the summer movie season,
so you ride the wave. My biggest worry is that they'll make
the next "Origins" movie about someone I don't care about, like
Storm or Sabretooth...this franchise only makes sense to me as an
endless series of Wolverine movies, and something tells me the suits
at the studio have already had initial discussions with Jackman
about paying him a shitload of dough to do it all over again.
Not perfect, but fun. See it this
weekend with a big crowd and you'll probably have a blast.
(Note: I don't read comics, so I don't know how you comic nerds will
do watching this.)
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard