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Review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I'm not sure if there was ever much demand for a Wolverine origins story. After X-Men: The Last Stand disappointed so many people, I doubt many were interested in returning to the X-Men franchise. What's more, Wolverine isn't a particularly interesting character to begin with (and he became increasingly less interesting as the franchise continued). I have a lot of difficulty believing that an entire movie revolving around this fairly bland character was an appealing idea for anybody. At any rate, it certainly didn't make for an appealing movie.

Taking place X amount of years before the first X-Men film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens with the unexpected murder of several individuals related to a boy named James. James and his older brother Victor run away from home. Both of them are mutants. James later changes his name to Logan, and of course, he is the Wolverine. Both of them are later recruited as part of a special forces team, but Logan abandons the group because he disapproves of their violent acts. Years later, Logan discovers that Victor has been murdering members of the group, and it is suspected that Logan might be killed next. There's some talk of revenge, some tragedy, and then we inevitably get to the part where Logan becomes Wolverine.

To put it mildly, X-Men Origins is a messy movie. The plot doesn't make much sense, the motives of the characters are usually confusing or vaguely explained, and of course, there are loads of undefined mutant powers. And yet, the film is really nothing more than a typical run-of-the-mill, turn-off-your-brain, blockbuster action movie.

Like the previous X-Men films, X-Men Origins has a plethora of plot contrivances, plot holes, power-related oversights, and just general idiocy. Even by X-Men standards, this is a stupid movie. The first two X-Men films found a balance between stupidity and the self-aware. X-Men: The Last Stand struggled with this, and X-Men Origins is even more deterred by it.

While the other X-Men films had their share of interesting characters, X-Men Origins lacks any. Wolverine is the wise-cracking protagonist, though he's unlikable and boring. The primary antagonist, Victor is also completely uninteresting. Most other characters get about 5 minutes of screentime or less, and almost all of them are completely unnecessary. Director Gavin Hood seems so intent on providing fan service and comic references that he forgets the importance of making a tight, entertaining film. As a result, we get unnecessary characters like Gambit and Fred J. Dukes that only serve to bloat the run time (which is admittedly fairly modest at 107 minutes).

The CGI looks fine, but it's fairly unconvincing at times. The action sequences are generic and forgettable. The script is atrocious, the ending is a mess, and character development is nil. On top of all that, X-Men Origins has some massive continuity issues. It would be bad enough if they were restricted to continuity problems within the film. But X-Men Origins seems to go out of its way to contradict events and plot points from the previous X-Men films as well.

The performances are mediocre. Hugh Jackman is just going through the motions as Logan / Wolverine, while everyone else seems to be on auto-pilot as well. Performances range from forgettable, to annoying. Liev Schreiber and Dannu Huston fit the former. Ryan Reynolds and Taylor Kitsch fit the latter.

Harry Gregson-William's score is forgettable and at times, intrusive. The opening of the film is in the 1800's, but if you had only heard Gregson-William's score for that scene, you never would have known. It clashes with the film, and does nothing to help itself or the picture.

As I was watching this X-Men Origins, I was constantly reminded of all the things that the previous X-Men films did right. Interesting characters, good performances, fun action scenes, etc. None of that is evident here. Even X-Men: The Last Stand had a few of those elements. X-Men Origins is just unengaging and forgettable. It's not quite unwatchable, or even painful, but it lacks notable qualities or memorable scenes. The whole affair is bland and uninteresting. The only thing I took away from X-Men Origins was just how much better X-Men: The Last Stand is than this. And if that's not an indicator of a bad movie, I don't know what is.

Added by Joshua "LF"
4 years ago on 24 October 2014 19:54