X-Men Origins: Wolverine
by Tom Ingram
Have you ever watched a movie in theatres where the gravity of a scene was ruined by some guy in the audience laughing? Probably you have. Have you ever been that guy? That’s how I felt watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
This movie is completely impossible to take seriously. It opens up with Wolverine’s dad (who is SURPRISE not his real father) being killed by a drunk guy (who IS his real father–didn’t see that coming, did you) for no clearly explained reason. Wolverine responds completely logically by growing claws made of bones and killing the drunk guy. Once you get over the initial squick factor of the claws, you notice that they look tremendously stupid and you will laugh every time they come out. Unfortunately he loses them halfway through the movie and their replacements are slightly less funny. Anyway, realizing that his mother is slightly bewildered by the situation, Wolverine decides to run away. His friend Victor runs after him, and convinces him that now that they’re brothers, they have to go kill a bunch of people for the giggles. An entire town’s worth of people springs up behind them with torches and pitchforks at this point. Even if that many people lived in the Northwest Territories, you’d be hard pressed to get them assembled that quickly, especially to chase after two children who haven’t strictly speaking done anything wrong yet.
Wolverine and Victor (who ends up being Sabretooth–this is never explicitly stated, but it’s one of the few things in this movie that’s clear enough) fight in a montage of wars. There is the inevitable D-Day scene, where Wolverine scales the infamous cliff, and punches out all the Germans in the bunker. I’m assuming the scene was supposed to be AWE-SUM!, but it kind of fell flat. It looked completely retarded. I would later find out that this was a recurring theme of the actions scenes in this movie. Next Wolverine and Victor were in ‘Nam, and Victor started killing a superior officer. From what I could see, it looked like Vic was about to go rape an innocent woman, and the officer tried to stop him. So Vic decided to disembowel said officer. Wolverine was either trying to stop him or helping him. Whichever he was trying to do he wasn’t doing a very good job of it. They get caught and sentenced to be shot old-school. I’m not entirely sure why they allowed themselves to be caught, because between them they could easily take down all the soldiers. If the firing squad didn’t hurt them at all, why would the soldiers who captured them?
William Stryker finds them and offers to let them join a team of his. Next we cut to an airplane. Wolverine and Vic are on board with some strange men we’ve never seen before. They’re chatting like they’re old buddies, though apparently they’ve just met. Remember that we are never told the names of these guys, or what they do (OK, I’ll grant that we’re shown their powers in the most contrived way possible). The team consists of a black guy in a cowboy hat, an Asian guy with a gun, a large man with a tattoo of a girl he just met on his arm, and a retard with a sword. Some other people show up later who are apparently members of the team, but I don’t remember seeing them on the plane so I don’t know how they got there.
The plane lands in front of a heavily-guarded gate. Apparently the guards didn’t notice the plane landing there, but when the Asian guy with a gun steps forward, they notice him. He puts his hands up, and then pulls out two guns he had hidden behind his head. However, if he’s that quick on the draw, why didn’t he just use the two that were holstered on his hips? Or even use a sniper rifle before they even knew he was there? Whatever. What happened next would be the dumbest action scene I’ve ever seen, but the ones that follow are honestly just as bad.
When they get trapped in the elevator (why not take the stairs?), the new team member they spawned since leaving the plane is able to get it working again. You will forget this guy immediately and when he shows up again, it’ll take a while before you remember him. Once you do, you still won’t care. When they get to the top of the building, the retard with the sword (who obviously has found a second sword on the ground somewhere) kills all the bad guys, and deflects bullets with his swords (in a scene that looks monumentally silly). Black Guy in a Cowboy Hat reveals that he can teleport. They steal a rock from the guy in the building, and question him. He tells them that he got the rock from a village in the middle of nowhere.
Now the team is in the village in the middle of nowhere, and everyone in the village is on their knees with their hands on their heads. With all the extra-moral activity Wolverine engages in in this movie, you have to wonder how we’re still supposed to accept him as a good guy, convenient amnesia or no. Exactly what happens here was not terribly clear, but the end result is Wolverine running off like a little crybaby.
My first big complaint is that we’re not really introduced to the team. I get the feeling we’re supposed to know who all these people are already, but I have no idea. Anyway, my popcorn still has butter on the top of it and Wolverine has already left the team, leaving me to wonder what the point of all that was. Wolverine becomes a lumberjack in the Rockies, living with Shallow Female Love Interest, who tells him dumb stories. Meanwhile, the electric guy from before (who you’ve forgotten by now) is working at an amusement park. With his amazing power, the best idea he could come up with for a job is running a booth called “Turn Off the Light” at a carnival. You pay one dollar to attempt to turn off a light three times. Victor shows up and kills him for no clear reason.
A lot of boring stuff happens in the Rockies, but the main thing is that Shallow Female Love Interest dies after maybe a minute of screen time, and then the movie acts like we’re supposed to give a shit. Wolverine shouts “No!” at the top of his lungs, and I burst out laughing. Then he runs off to beat up Victor, and ends up getting curb-stomped. This fight scene, along with all the other ones in the movie, was choreographed the same way: Wolverine and someone else run at each other, shouting, and then they start attacking. It was acceptable the first time, I guess, if a little silly looking. But every time Wolverine has to fight someone he does it this way. It gets old very quickly.
Anyway, Wolverine agrees to let the bad guys put adamantium in his body so he can kill Victor. Once this happens, instead of doing what he set out to do, he runs naked into an elderly couple’s house. Just before he starts getting to know them, they get killed by Asian Guy With A Gun, who apparently has super-speed, too. I wish they’d get their story straight. Wolverine drives off on a motorcycle, being chased by the world’s least competent helicopter door gunner, some soldiers in humvees, and of course Asian Guy With A Gun. One wonders what the Canadian government thinks of all this. With his motorcycle, he is able to take down the helicopter. Asian Guy With A Gun pisses him off, so Wolverine blows him up. That’s interesting, considering the “if you kill him you’ll be just as bad” mentality that most superhero movies, including this one, seem to take. Also, the way he starts the fire is completely retarded. I guess that in light of his streaking of the previous day he probably didn’t have a lighter on him, but making sparks with his claws, however resourceful, does not look as awesome as it’s supposed to.
Next Wolverine goes off to find Black Guy In A Cowboy Hat. He has to fight Large Man with a Tattoo in a boxing match in order to find out where The Island is. Large Man with a Tattoo tells him to talk to Gambit, who has escaped from The Island. Gambit was the only thing I was excited for in this movie. I’ve never read the X-Men comics, but I always thought Gambit had an interesting power and besides Wolverine he’s the only familiar face in the movie. But they managed to make him look just as ridiculous as everyone else. The card-throwing was horrible, and he only did it once anyway. Gambit causes Wolverine to crash through the wall into the back lane, where Victor has killed Black Guy In A Cowboy Hat. He and Wolverine have a fight, which is broken up by Gambit, who has spontaneously appeared on a rooftop a few blocks away and uses his newfound super-speed to get to the fight. Wolverine corners Gambit on a fire escape, and instead of blowing something up Gambit stands there while Wolverine shreds it with his claws. Gambit decides to take Wolverine to the island.
Here it’s revealed that the death of Wolverine’s love interest didn’t take, and she’s still alive. It also turns out that she was working for Stryker all along. But it’s OK, because Stryker has her sister hostage. Wolverine frees all the mutants who have been taken prisoner. This was one of my big issues with the movie: Wolverine freed his lover’s sister (who has the dumbest-looking power in the whole movie, a hard contest to win) and Cyclops, but he also indiscriminately let out everyone else. Now a good chunk of those people are probably ordinary innocents, but you’ve gotta figure there’s at least one or two serial killers with superpowers who were locked in there. I think I even saw one guy who looked like Seth Green. They must be stopped!
Wolverine and the “innocent” prisoners are attacked by a weird person-shaped thing with its mouth sewn shut and swords sticking out of its wrists. Apparently this is Retard With A Sword from before, but they don’t look anything like each other. Wolverine climbs up on top of one of those cooling-tower thingies. I realize he’s never been to The Island before, but he should know that that’s probably not the way out. The person-thing attacking him has the powers of Cyclops and Black Guy In A Cowboy Hat, not to mention Wolverine himself. It nearly kills Wolverine, but Victor saves him, saying “no one can kill you but me”. Through the power of brotherly love they manage to cut off its head and blow up the tower they’re standing on. Wolverine gets shot in the head with a special bullet by Stryker, which erases his memories. Wolverine’s love interest dies for real this time. The “innocents” are found by Professor X, and basically everyone’s happy.
I’m a very geeky person, but I don’t read a lot of comic books and I’ve never read any X-Men ones. This movie used obscure characters and assumed you knew who they were. I didn’t. If someone like me has no idea who anyone is, imagine what it would be like for someone with even smaller reference pools. Even if you know who everyone is, you most likely won’t care because at no point does the movie become good or interesting. It can’t be enjoyed on a mindless action level because when you eventually get a fresh action scene (remember that half of them are all the same), it doesn’t look good. Worst of all, it fails as a prequel because the X-Men series make less sense in light of this movie. To conclude, if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly don’t recommend it. If you have, I’m sorry for your loss.