In anticipa.. shu… ugh… look, I really don’t wanna do this. But, hmph, I suppose I’ve no choice. Ladies and gentlemen, my final X-Men review before Days of Future Past.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is notorious for the wrong reasons. It is by far the most hated X-Men film and even an apologist of X-Men 3, such as yours truly, has no trouble seeing why it has earned its not too arousing rep.
First of all, I believe this film is proof that it is possible to “mis-cast” a director. Gavin Hood, who knocked it out of the park with his Oscar-winning 2005 drama Tsotsi, was alien to the genre of action at the time he directed X-Men Origins. As of 2013’s Ender’s Game, he has become more comfortable with the genre and visibly capable of crafting a competent action film. X-Men Origins, I can assure you, is nothing of the sort.
In it, we get to know the origins of adamantium-boned, immortal mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). We see how he killed his own father after his real father killed his step-father whom he first thought was his real father. Are you still with me? Good. So, he runs away from home with his brother Victor “Sabretooth” Creed, played by Liev Schreiber as an adult and not remotely similar to Tyler Mane in the first X-Men. Together they use their immortality and healing factor – Sabretooth’s got ’em too – to fight several wars and eventually attract the attention of one Major William Stryker (Danny Huston). Not sure if he looks much of anything like Brian Cox‘s version of the character in X-Men 2.
Wolverine and Sabretooth fight more battles alongside Stryker’s top secret team of super mutants, but Wolverine eventually ends up wanting no part in it. Hence why he moves into a cottage in the mountains with Lynn Collins and starts calling himself “Logan”. But then Collins is killed by Sabretooth. Wolverine gets angry. Wolverine gets adamantium put in his bones by Stryker. Wolverine goes to a farmhouse and reinacts Superman’s origin story with some old couple. Old couple gets killed by Stryker’s agents. Wolverine tracks down his old friends from Stryker’s team. Wolverine meets Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), a respectlessly shoehorned in mutant who charges everything he touches, especially his trusty deck of cards, into bombs. Gambit and Wolverine battle pointlessly. Gambit helps Wolverine track down Stryker. Again I ask: are you still with me?
Wolverine’s old team, besides Sabretooth, consists of Kevin Durand as some guy who later becomes The Blob for some reason, Dominic Monaghan as a walking battery, will.i.am as some rapper who thinks he can act, Daniel Henney as Agent Zero, and Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, who later becomes Deadpool, at which point his trademark katanas are put inside (!) his arms and his mouth is stitched shut. If you’re gonna make a film based on a character known for his fast mouth and your first instinct is to sew it shut, why are you even permitted to try?
Many of these characters feel like they’re present only for the sake of fanservice, but how much fanservice is it to give beloved X-Men characters like Gambit so little to do and to get Deadpool so breathtakingly wrong? Not even Wolverine’s claws get much respect in that they in many shots look as though they were made in an hour using Adobe After Effects. The action scenes and accompanying visuals are often equally unwatchable.
A late scene also involves the puzzling appearance of Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier. He is seen standing upright, something he, according to X-Men: First Class, lost the ability to do when he was as young as James McAvoy. For some reason, fans seem to point this plot hole out more commonly than they point out the one in X-Men 3, in which Xavier and Magneto are shown as friends in a flashback where they’re still played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, in spite of them having become enemies when they were still James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. There’s also the issue of William Stryker being slated to return in Days of Future Past, played by an actor who looks younger than Danny Huston, even though it’s supposedly set after the events of X-Men Origins. I… think.
I understand that the makers of X-Men Origins couldn’t very well know in advance what the makers of First Class and Days of Future Past had in mind, but I do wish there was better consistency in-between films. How much do you wanna bet that if George Lucas made these movies, he would re-release X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins on blu-Ray, having re-shot Xavier and Magneto’s flashback scenes with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender? I strangely find myself welcoming it.
But I agree with the fanboys and fangirls that the less we say about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the better. It is a clumsy, idiotic and unattractive film that makes me want to give Gambit a pat on the back and Deadpool a massive hug and a cigar. Wolverine, I think, will be fine.