Saturday, May 2, 2009

Movie review: ... Wolverine

Yes, I went to see the testosterone fest that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine on opening day, but I went for a matinee so that decreases my fangrrl status a little. Plus I'm really only a fan of the pretty actors, not the comics characters themselves. There is plenty of muscle-bound eye candy in Wolverine, which is good, because the movie itself is sort of eh.

I'm not going to rehash the plot. Blah blah origin story blah blah how little James Howlett became Logan got his adamantium skeleton blah blah fought with his half-brother Sabertooth blah blah lost his memory blah blah nice cameo by Professor Xavier to set up the continuity. Like I said, I don't read the comics so I don't know how well the movie adheres to the canon. The stunts are impressive - the helicopter and the Great Escape-esque motorcycle chase, especially - but I've started to experience a CGI-backlash, and there's a lot of CGI in this flick.

One of the best sequences of the movie is during the credits showing Wolverine and Sabertooth fighting side by side in war after war - American Civil War, WWI, WWII, Viet Nam; each scene feels authentic to its time period and, without any dialogue, you see Sabertooth regress further and further into his feral state.

The cast is another strong point. Hugh Jackman is all jacked up and ferocious and sweaty; Liev Schreiber is quite good as Logan's brother/enemy, Sabertooth, and I really enjoyed their scenes together - when they were speaking to each other, not just trying to tear each other apart. Lynn Collins (recently strangled as Dawn on True Blood) plays Kayla Silverfox, Logan's love interest, and is one of the most gorgeous women anywhere. The kid they found to play young Scott Summers (Cyclops) is pretty much a dead ringer for a teenage James Marsden.

And then there's Taylor Kitsch. Holy moly. You know, I think Taylor Kitsch might actually be a real mutant himself, and his power is charisma. I mean, that boy is just sex on a stick - it's not just his Tim Riggins character. I suspect that every woman, man, animal, vegetable and mineral who walks by him does a double take and goes, yeah, let's just do it right now. He wasn't onscreen very much (I may need a whole movie just about Gambit's origin) but when he was ... he and Hugh Jackman had great chemistry together, whether it was post-fight or bickering in Gambit's tiny single prop plane. And thank goodness he didn't attempt a Cajun accent, just toned down his Riggins drawl a bit.

An issue I have with so many of these superhero movies is that there are so many characters involved that most of them get short-shrift - the Blob was pointless; Ryan Reynolds was completely wasted in the three seconds he was on-screen as Wade Wilson (I want a whole movie just with him too!). It feels as though opportunities have been missed, and yet if the filmmakers had explored all of the characters/situations to my satisfaction, the movie would have been eight hours long. Which, if 6.5 of those hours were devoted to Wade Wilson and Remy Lebeau, would be just fine.

Wolverine, like Iron Man and The Dark Knight, walks a fine PG-13 line. There is a lot of violence - the different war scenes are short but quite intense; brother trying to kill brother; innocent old people getting killed; Logan shot point-blank in the head - not explicit and gory (like Watchmen) but definitely brutal. This PG-13 ain't your Spiderman PG-13. However, please don't misunderstand me, this first installment of the X-Men Origins franchise is not the same caliber of movie as IM and TDK. It's big and loud and noisy and cluttered and action-packed and mostly exciting, but it's not going to make anyone's best lists.


  1. Making this movie R-rated would have helped it out in so many ways... they wouldn't have had to try so hard to soften up such an inherently gory story line

  2. LOVED the comments re: Taylor K. I don't even know who he is, but you made me want to see the movie. And Hugh.... (sigh)...lovely.

  3. Silly blonde grrl who doesn't watch as much t.v. as she says she does: Taylor K. is the delectable "Tim Riggins" from Friday Night Lights.