Sunday, May 31, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I've put off posting a review of the new Wolverine movie until I could see the other sci fi blockbusters, Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation. Why? Because Wolverine was all at once exciting and disappointing, and I wanted to compare it to other films that fill in details on sci fi canon.

In essence, I think Wolverine was doomed to, if not fail, at least be a disappointing downer. We know from X-Men films that Logan has a mysterious past and that his memory has been wiped. But we don't know why. However, knowing we have to end the prequel at a place where the Wolverine cannot possibly redeem himself, well, things are bound to fall flat.

However, the movie starts out in winning fashion, showing Logan with his brother, Victor, played by Liev Schreiber, living many years as shown by all the battles in which they fight, all the world wars, and always on the "right" side. It's a bit of a shock when brother turns renegade.

There are some warm moments when Logan takes up a love interest, but she's so totally telegraphed as a red-shirt that it's hard to enjoy the relationship. Still, this relationship shows what Logan as a human is capable of, and shows us more of his personality, a man who can actually smile.

There are some great things to watch in this movie. There are some incredible feats, certainly worth watching. There are some other mutants featured, briefly, which make you hunger for more, specifically Gambit and whatever-that-guy-is-called, the swordsman played by Ryan Reynolds. And Schreiber is a real actor, with corny lines like "look who the cat dragged in," and he still makes you believe them. And Hugh Jackman, all buffed up and ready to emote his way through difficult material, is always worth watching. It's just that the movie doesn't work as a whole.

Thumb's down, but sci fi and X-Men fans will still have to watch it.


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