Sunday, December 27, 2009

Upon Further Review
Maybe it's not even fair to give this movie the Upon Further Review treatment, considering I was actively avoiding seeing it again. But then one of my funniest friends offered to watch it with me; even then it took a sold out showing of Sherlock Holmes and a snow storm to get it done. Watching it again unavoidably brought back memories of the event itself. When the movie was first released, and I was willing to believe...
X-men Origins: Wolverine (XO:W) hurt more than it really should have the first time I saw it. The problem was that I was still raw from X-men: The Last Stand, which in turn did more damage then it should of because it's predecessor, X2, was absolutely spectacular. More over, XO:W was- in the words of a friend: "Hard to call" from the previews. Viewed fairly they honestly made it look like the movie could go either way. Viewed through the wounded eyes of hope, they were a potential bright spot in a darkened world. Fast forward to a few months after the DVD release and I'm free of that baggage. Free to appreciate this movie on it's own merit, or rather it's nigh complete lack there of.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are more ways to make a good adaptation than just a spot on, word for word re-tell. This movie misses the mark for all of them. I understand that when it comes to comic characters -especially one as beloved and widely used (read "worn out") as this one- there are literally decades worth of, angles and ret-cons to attempt to amalgamate. But if one can't sift through all that and detect at least one common theme, one could at least do the audience the service of making something up.
XO:W has no point from a literary angle. It tells us almost nothing substantial about the character, and offers a lot in the way of reactions ("he ticked me off so I punched him") but gives almost no insight into the characters actual motives. By it's conclusion we've seen a good deal of what happened to Wolverine before the X-men trilogy (and I use the word "trilogy" loosely) but for all that have learned very little about him. Indeed the closest he comes to being a dynamic character is having his memories blown out the back of his adamantium plated skull.
As a stand alone movie XO:W has little more to offer. Aside from the gaps in it's own continuity, it also introduces plot holes into the rest of the X-men films. That the movie was plagued with re-writes shines like a neon light. For example, the movies biggest most advertised action sequence is all but negated by the very next scene in the movie. This is what happens when you off set every staffing choice with a decent track record (Richard Donner as Executive Producer, David Benioff writing the screenplay) with one that has nothing but scratches to show for themselves (Gavin Hood Directing, Skipp Woods writing). To say nothing of the "spectacular here, miserable there" special effects, and the ridiculously etched story lines.
X-men Origins: Wolverine is not the worst comic-book adaptation out there, but that doesn't stop it from trying. At it's best it delivers morsels of decent story telling, all strewn willy-nilly about the trackless cinematic landscape. At it's worst it is a deep, clouded, mud puddle good for either making a horrible mess or being completely side-stepped.
Upon Further Review
Movie: X-men Origins: Wolverine
First Impressions: A note-worthy Crap Fest.
Status: Down-graded

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