Thursday, April 30, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” takes too many liberties. With plausibility, with plot, with characterization, with common sense and established plot within the framework of the X-Men film franchise. Worst of all, the film takes too many liberties with the depiction and back story of one of the most iconic of all Marvel superheroes.

Hugh Jackman remains an excellent Wolverine, full of feral fury and unstoppable death dealing, a bull in a very delicate china shop who struggles to find humanity even as he slips into the deadliest killing machine alive. But Jackman can only react as his Wolverine is put through the nonsensical ringer of a plot that spins around and around until you’re dizzy, confused, and begging for the spinning to stop and the sense to return. It doesn’t.

Wolverine’s relationships and back story, both in the comics and even in the film franchise itself, is butchered almost beyond recognition. Alas, to spoil it would be irresponsible but then again, to go see it is in and of itself an irresponsible act. Silver Fox is changed. The rivalry/history between Wolverine and Sabretooth is defiled. Wolverine’s time with and relationship to the Weapon X program and Colonel Stryker is irrevocably butchered, to the point it resembles nothing, not the depiction in the comics, not the depiction in the films.

Wolverine’s origin becomes nothing save for a barely conceived plot about running and jumping and slashing and stabbing and all kinds of nonsense that doesn’t work and shouldn’t be allowed, superpowers or not. One does not expect a great deal of realism when dealing with the x-gene, with mutants and powers and the children of the atom. Just watching or reading such a story requires an extraordinary leap of faith. But leaps of faith are meant to be rewarded, something that never happens in the film.

Instead, we get a lot of flashy nonsense that is neither compelling nor even tacitly plausible, a betrayal of everything we expect from these films. Instead of a reversal of the bastardization of the X-Universe by one Brett Ratner, it is a continuation of it, only a little bit better looking and only tacitly more thoughtfully conceived.

Considering how much I was initially looking forward to the movie and how much potential it had, "Wolverine" is evidence that Hollywood has lost the ability to remain faithful even to itself, capable of films with no plot, no sense and no compelling reason to waste $8.50.

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