The first of several proposed X-Men Origins movies hits this weekend.
Cast and Crew Information
Hugh Jackman as James Howlett / Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed / Sabretooth
Danny Huston as William Stryker
Will I Am as John Wraith
Lynn Collins as Kayla
Kevin Durand as Frederick J. Dukes / The Blob
Dominic Monaghan as Chris Bradley / Bolt
Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau / Gambit
Daniel Henney as David North / Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool
Tim Pocock as Scott Summers
Tahyna Tozzi as Emma Frost
Written by David Benioff and Skip Woods
Directed by Gavin Hood
Wolverine was once a sickly, young Canadian boy. Later in life, he’s a super hero. This is what happens in between, with heavy focus on the Weapon X project that was such a big part of the second X-Men movie.
He’s known as “the Merc with the Mouth” for a reason. Note the critical word WITH.
It’s hard to walk the originality line in an adaptation. You can regurgitate the source material, and lose all originality, or you can make changes and risk alienating your established fanbase. This made some changes, some of which I like (such as when Wolverine and Sabretooth first met), but others which I’m not at all happy with. (See the low point.) I give it 4 out of 6.
The effects worked in a lot of cases. The scenes at the Hudson farm had some pretty cartoony claws, for example. They generally worked well, particularly for the teleportation, for Gambit, and the final battle sequence. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story will probably satisfy those who haven’t read the comics, or those who aren’t particularly attached to a couple of specific characters. The internal logic holds up fairly well (aside from one gratuitous fight, the overly sappy Hudson scenes, and a couple of others.) I give it 4 out of 6.
The acting was solid. Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber and Ryan Reynolds were particularly well cast. The rest of the cast did their jobs well, and pulled it off to generally nice effect. I give it 4 out of 6.
The production was excellent for the fight scenes. Gavin Hood knows how to handle those. Some of the slower, story-building, talky scenes were much weaker, though. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response was almost great. After Wade Wilson’s first major action sequence, I was almost giddy, happy about seeing one of my favourite characters adapted so well to the big screen. That helped me overcome some of the issues I had along the way, boosted a little bit by the promise of James Macdonald Hudson from the farm scene. Then came Weapon XI. I’m not sure I can articulate exactly what that did to me. They didn’t need to hit that extreme, and could have had the same ultimate effect with multiple characters instead of trying to combine them all into one. If you haven’t read many of the comics, you’ll probably be quite happy with what you see. This ended with such an incredibly sour taste in my mouth that I’m not happy. I’ve since learned that different prints have rotating “stingers” (i.e. scenes after the credits), and that I might have been a bit happier had I seen a different one, but I didn’t care for the way this print left things. I give it 2 out of 6.
Overall, this is a movie that does action well, talking poorly, and adapting characters erratically. Go to it for the action, and you’ll leave happy. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, X-Men Origins: Wolverine receives 26 out of 42.