Thursday, 14 May 2009

X-Men Wolverine: It's the Plot Stupid

By guest contributor RLB

I have seen X-men Origins: Wolverine and I don’t want to hold any punches… it was rubbish.

It pains me to say this as X-men is a great franchise (overall) and Hugh Jackman deserves any and all success in life. However, this movie fails, and I mean FAILS to deliver on pretty much any level. The major problem though, is the plot.

The first 20 minutes of the movie jump from scene to scene, erratically attempting to chronologue the life of Logan a.k.a ‘Wolverine’ from 1850 to about 1960 in his travels with his ‘brother’, Viktor. Aside from being so incredibly confusing that one is not actually sure where or what Logan and his ‘brother’ are doing, let alone why, it was filled with so many clichéd shots that one suspected one was stuck in a recruiting video for the US military. Epic shots of the American Civil War segued to valiant running-down-beaches action, brutally plagiarised from “Saving Private Ryan”, which then switched to hand-to-hand fighting in what the viewer is meant to believe is the Vietnam war.

Just in case you didn’t get the point (after this ramming), Logan and his “brother” are fleeing violence in the home and finding their ‘place’ in society as bringers of justice. What is missed here is WHO is Victor? The movie script hints and I do mean, blink-and-you-will-miss-it, that he is the illegitimate son of a man who had an affair with Logan’s mother, although it is never mentioned again. But hey, he’s only a major character. I guess that part was less important than the montage of brave American soldiers.

Logan ends up in a team of other mutants, led by the character from X-Men 2, Stryker. Logan’s involvement in this mercenary group, whose introduction to the viewers is as equally detailed as that of Victor, again lasts for about 5 minutes until our hero valiantly walks out to start a ‘pure’ life.

The nerd in me wants to point out again the glaring lack of any explanation of the characters and their powers besides a misshapen covert attack on a building by the team. By the end of this important mission, all the viewer knows is that one guy is fat and the other can move his hand(s)? really fast.

At this stage you seem to accept that this movie is poor and you’re happy that the special effects are cool enough to distract you. That is, until you learn that knowing and caring about this group of mercenaries is something on which the entire plot relies. It wasn’t until the end that I truly understood the depth of this rubbish. When the final villain, Mutant 11, walks on, I had to turn to my partner and ask who the hell he was and why he had his shirt off. (P.S Ryan Reynolds without a shirt is never bad).

The middle of the film is set around Logan’s new life and his girlfriend who gets killed by his brother, blah blah blah, and Logan wants revenge, blah blah blah and gets filled with Mutant metal making him a ‘serious badass’ blah blah blah. 1 hour of crap upon crap, made truly a religious experience by watching the now “Wolverine” take on a helicopter Jason Stathom style. (At least Transporter doesn’t take itself seriously!)

The introduction of the Gambit character, which has been highly anticipated by fans, was embarrassing. The bad acting on the part of Taylor Kitsch made the only ‘real’ mutant encounter abysmal. After telling Wolverine that he doesn’t believe he wants revenge on Stryker and Viktor he proceeds to kick Wolverine‘s butt...until that is Wolverine runs into (literally) Viktor and they start fighting. Wait, wait, this is the best bit! Upon seeing this, one would think that the Gambit character would believe Wolverine’s past claims of vengeance, oh no. In this movie, he jumps in at the last minute, SAVES Viktor and proceeds to kick some more Wolverine ass. What the?!?!? Couldn’t the writers think of a better reason for them to go at it? What about outfit envy?

In the final scenes “Wolverine” comes to know that his girlfriend isn’t dead (she was in cahoots with Stryker), and his brother didn’t kill her. Here is where it lost me…. Viktor then decides he should kill the girlfriend and Wolverine saves her. Then they go at it… again. Then the “big bad” comes on screen and the two brothers realise they need to unite to defeat him, and so are friends again. Then once the seriously hot Mutant 11 is killed, they are still kinda half friends and decide to that a “live and let live policy is probably the best thing for both parties”.

All topped with a clichéd scene where Professor Xavier comes and saves a young Cyclops form the evil clutches of Stryker. This is where you’re supposed to go “OOOH that’s where it all comes together!”. It is more like, “This is crap, you’re crap I want my life back.”

I won’t even mention the fact that the movie posters currently have Wolverine posing in a kick ass pose with mutants in the background like Silver Fox whose actual screen time is less than 2 minutes. Me thinks the marketing team were short on draw cards for bus stop posters and decided to throw anyone in there to ‘beef’ up the look.

Don’t get me wrong, Hugh Jackman and Live Schreiber can act (and Hugh is the best presenter of the Oscars ever), and “almost” save this movie from being anything other than a special effects bonanza, but even their acting can’t save the terrible storyline, abysmal script and poor delivery. Bryan Singer we need you!

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