Wolverine

Rating: C-.

In the movie The Zero Effect, Daryl Zero has a great line:

Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you’re only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you’re sure to find some of them.

This quote sums up how I felt about X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The movie is a hammer in search of a nail.

Writers David Benioff and Skip Woods feel the need to make every single thing in this movie have a direct A-to-B significance in how it shaped Logan’s persona.

And it gets tedious, very quickly. And it’s all so heavy handed and rather boring.

Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

The “plot,” if you can call it that, was really a string that tied together some rather kick-ass action scenes but with twists that were extremely contrived and felt like an 80’s action movie (have we not evolved from that?). Writer Skip Woods other credits include Hitman and Swordfish.

Which should have been my first giveaway.

This movie is not a Marvel Studios movie, which means that Editor in Chief Joe Quesada and the rest of Marvel’s writers did not have any input into this film (see this week’s MyCup O’ Joe).

Which should have been another giveaway.  

It shows because at times, this movie was boring. How do you make a movie with Wolverine in it and have it be boring?

Exactly.

This is where the hammer and nail come into play.  The backstory with Mariko in Japan (from the Claremont/Miller mini-series) is far more interesting then that of Silver Fox in Canada. But the writers felt the need to directly tie Wolverine’s love life back into the “origin” and so we’re stuck with some rather slow scenes as a result.

Samurais and ninjas versus lumberjacks.

Again. That should have been a giveaway.

There was no Stan Lee cameo, which as nerdy as it sounds, is kind of a slap in the face to comic book viewers. I didn’t look, but I don’t think there was a Len Wein creator credit (or any creator credits for any of the main characters). If I’m wrong, someone please let me know and I’ll correct this point, but it’s a simple matter of respect.

This movie had a number of reshoots, another giveaway. I can honestly say that they become pretty apparent as you watch the film.

Hugh Jackman goes from berserker rage intensity to fun loving guy’s guy from scene to scene. He’s a great Wolverine, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a bit too schizophrenic.

Liev Schreiber is fantastic as Creed. But he’s fantastic at whatever he does. Ditto Taylor Kitsch who plays Gambit.

I will give credit to the director keeping the movie set in the late 1970’s (so the timelines work out with the X-Men films).  That said, I hate to be a nerd here, but the Humvee was built by AM General two years after the final events of this movie.    

 

I feel its important to point out three things here.

1) Joe Quesada, Editor In Chief of Marvel Comics, deserves credit for saving Wolverine before this movie was even made. As many readers know, the draw of Wolverine was always the mystery surrounding his origin. In 2001, when Marvel announced that Paul Jenkins would be writing “Origin: The True Story of Wolverine,” fans went out of their minds. Quesada though stood his ground and pointed out that with the success of the X-Men movies, Hollywood had arrived and they were looking to tell this story; with or without Marvel. While I noted above that Marvel Comics had no input into this movie, they did directly lift elements from this and other existing Marvel Comics stories.

2) Marvel (and DC) writers sign “Work For Hire” contracts, which in the most basic terms mean that their work product is the property of the publisher. I point this out to let you know that any of the things you did find to be innovative or original in this movie were probably not written by David Benioff or Skip Woods. They were no doubt written by comic book writers like Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, Grant Morrison, Len Wein and the others who have worked on the character for thirty five years.  And yet they do not receive credit nor compensation for that work.  It’s the contract they signed, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.  

3) The highest asperation of any comic book is not to be a movie; it’s to be a great comic book.  So, while comic book movies are fun, they’re never going to replace great comics like the Claremont/Miller mini-series, Wolverine attacking the Hellfire Club in The Dark Phoenix Saga, Barry Windor Smith’s Weapon X, Mark Millar’s Wolverine, Jason Aaron’s new Weapon X comic or the countless great Wolverine stories in comic stores.  Don’t let the movie put you off.  While the movie might be a C-, the existing comic book material is A+.  

Anyhow, at least they got it right that he’s Canadian.

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2 Responses to “Wolverine”

  1. Green Lantern The Movie « Noah Kuttler's Blog Says:

    […] course, I had the same reaction when I saw Wolverine: Origin (my review) and as evidenced by both movies, Hollywood seems to have a problem with understanding what good […]

  2. Review: The Wolverine | Noah Kuttler's Blog Says:

    […] be a level of quality control with this film that was not there with the first Wolverine film (see my review).  X-Men: First Class has become my favorite of the X franchise and the pendulum seems to be […]

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