movies: x-men origins: wolverine

x-men origins: wolverineSo... X-Men Origins: Wolverine... in a word, underwhelmed...

And it didn't bode well for a good cinema experience when they forgot to turn the lights down as the movie started... and everybody just sat there pretending the lights weren't still on until I got fed up and went to tell somebody *mutter*.

Obviously that has nothing to do with the quality of the movie... but it's kind of telling when I was more interested and excited by the Transformers 2 trailer than by the movie we'd actually come to see (woohoo... Ravage!!!)...

Can you see where I'm going with this?

It wasn't a bad movie... there were certain things I quite enjoyed, but by the same token it had a fair few problems too... most of which stemmed from the fact that it's a prequel. And if George Lucas has taught us anything, it's that it's really, really, really easy to screw up a prequel in any number of very spectacular ways.

What made it slightly less interesting to me was the fact that you knew that the three "main" characters (at least as far as plot goes, although one of them doesn't appear on the poster) were going to survive beyond the end of the movie since they all show up at various points in the movies whose plotlines occur after this one. So it's a big fat serve of "no plot resolution"... which is slightly annoying, but at the same time, it's a comic book movie... and comic books excel at avoiding ever resolving plotlines (or reinventing them) if they can get away with it.

I'm not going to get into whether the movie plotlines contradict or mesh with or otherwise play fast and loose with the comic book canon... I'm happy to say that the two things are totally separate and leave it at that. However there does seem to be some internal chronology issues between this movie and the first one. Or not... but the interaction between Wolverine and Sabertooth at the end of this movie and the beginning of the first one don't seem like they're going to mesh particularly well... although I haven't seen the first movie in a while.

And honestly, there's one particular mutant who shows up in a largely forgettable cameo who I could very, very easily have done without... he's no more interesting as a teenager than he was as a grown-up. I know what they were trying to do... lay in a whole subtext of this character owing Wolverine his life even though neither one is ever aware of who the other one was... but c'mon, really?

The whole movie was disappointing if I'm being honest... I think they excelled themselves with the third movie but this one doesn't improve on that and set the bar higher, if anything it even falls short of the lower bar it sets for itself.

I think perhaps it all boils down to something I remember reading on one of the movie blogs recently... Wolverine is at his best when there's an element of mystery about him.

This movie strips quite a bit of that away from him... but at the same time it rushes past just under 100 years of backstory (I'm guessing, I don't actually remember the dates involved) which could have potentially been interesting... all that stuff about how a mixed up little boy becomes the man who can't die. But no, they chose instead to go with a war montage over the credits... pretty, but it didn't seem to really mean much.

And yes, I realise I just contradicted myself over the whole keep him a mystery/tell us more thing, but I'm allowed.

I think they were a little bit hamstrung in that everybody wants to see Wolverine with the metal claws and unbreakable skeleton, but if we're seen quite a bit of that before in flashbacks during the previous movies and it doesn't really happen until not that long before he loses his memory and the events of the first movie, so how do you get to the metal claw point quickly, but still be able to justify that you're telling the story of the character's origins.

It's a puzzler...

Now... onto the things I DID like...

I've been waiting for three X-Men movies to see the live action version of Remy "Gambit" LeBeau (he's been my favourite character since I watched the animated series of the 90's)... I think at some point or another it's been planned that he was going to appear in each of the previous movies, but it never happened... until now. I have two words for you... Taylor Kitsch... I can honestly say that it was worth the wait!

Basically the entire sequence when we first meet Gambit, with his signature playing cards and the walking stick and the whole alley scene... impressive.

Ryan Reynolds... in a muscle shirt... with very nice bicep action... enough said really...

There's also a tag scene right at the very end of the movie that shows Wolverine in Japan, which is very cool since I know that there's a whole comic book storyline about that (written by Frank Miller if memory serves). Actually from something I read I thought that there were supposedly five different versions of the post-credit tag sequence (I could be wrong about that though)... so if anybody else goes to see the movie and the scene isn't Wolverine in a bar in Japan, please let me know.

You know what... that's about all the stuff that I really liked. Sad but true.

And unlike other movies where I've enjoyed them while they've been going on but once I've come out of the theatre I've proceeded to pick them apart, this one didn't even keep a total grip on my attention for the full length of the movie.

Also, just as a general thing... it's very hard to write a movie review when you're also having a somewhat pornographic conversation via SMS at the same time... it's kinda difficult to concentrate on either thing properly...

yani's rating: 1 adamantium claw out of 5

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