Wednesday, May 6, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Marvel has had quite a few strings of done-right-comic book films under their belt with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Punisher: War Zone, and now X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Back again with the adamantium claws is Hugh Jackman, jumping right back into the role without missing a beat and looking as good as ever. Along for the ride are Ryan Reynolds as Wade/Deadpool, Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabretooth, Danny Huston as William Stryker, Kevin Durand as Fred Dukes (then later as The Blob), Dominic Monaghan as Bolt, Taylor Kitsch as Gambit, and Daniel Henney as Agent Zero.

Just like the second X-Men sequel, this one is not directed by Bryan Singer. Instead we have Gavin Hood taking the helm for this blockbuster and he does a great job at it. Since I had never heard of him and saw that he doesn’t have a big résumé in, I kind of thought that this might flop, be campy, or just all out suck. But it didn’t and Hood proved himself worthy of knowing how to direct a hit.

The film starts right away, showing us Wolverine as a child and how he first used his mutant powers. Interestingly enough, the claws that first come out are bone claws—rippled and primitive-looking. Of course we should know and expect it will look that way, but it’s still fascinating nonetheless.

Again, without boring us with lengthy narrative or any unnecessary boring character development, throughout the credits we see all we need to understand Wolverine’s age and what he’s experienced in his life by showing him fight in revolutionary wars in the 1800s, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War.

It’s at this final era that Wolverine meets Stryker and that’s where the story begins.

The movie as a whole had a good flowing story that kept you wanting more and as a comic book geek that knows a little of the X-Men lore, I waited for answers to the questions I had in my mind. Even if you’re not a comic book aficionado like me but you’ve seen the first three X-Men films, you’ll want to see what Wolverine went through in order to get his whole skeleton covered with adamantium.

As for the other performers in the film, they played their parts well and didn’t overfill the screen making the film crowded like so many comic book films of yesteryear.

Ryan Reynolds as Wade/Deadpool was awesome in the beginning of the film, showing us his ability with his swords—that was an amazing part of the film! However, the way they went with Deadpool’s story toward the end of this flick kind of strayed away from the comic books, but that’s okay.

Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth was good as well, although I was waiting to see him transform into the Sabretooth that we all know and love from the first X-Men film, complete with the mane and tattered clothing. Both Jackman and Schreiber were great and they worked together well, seeming to have a good chemistry as hero and foe.

What can I say about Danny Huston? I loved him in 30 Days of Night and in Wolverine he was just as great. He played a perfect young Stryker that Brian Cox played in X2: X-Men United.

Kevin Durand is a good actor and has played a lot of very different parts. I first saw him in The Butterfly Effect as the Hispanic convict in the jail cell with Ashton Kutcher and then I saw him in 3:10 to Yuma with Christian Bale. As Fred Dukes, he was faultless; as The Blob, it was kind of funny. I don’t know how they made that fat suit look so perfect.

Unfortunately, Dominic Monaghan as Bolt was a little boring. As a mutant in the Weapon X project, he was needed for his power of controlling power; but for his time on the screen, he didn’t do much with it.

Now, one character I was looking forward to seeing was Gambit. The character is such a bad-ass in the comics so I wanted to see what they could do with him on screen; they didn’t disappoint. Gambit’s power of charging anything he touches and throwing that power out at anybody or anything is so cool and they got it right.

One of the coolest characters in the Weapon X saga of comic books is Agent Zero, played here by Daniel Henney. His ability and skills with guns is amazing and the film surpassed what was read and seen in comic books. The scene in Nigeria when he starts shooting up the place is so wickedly overwhelming that you can’t help but wish you could be as bad-ass as Agent Zero. The little slo-mo cut of him tossing his guns in the air to free his hands to get out his spare clips and then putting them in as they come back down into his hands make an old guy like me giggle like a googly-eyed school girl.

My final “bit” on it? X-Men Origins: Wolverine lives up to what it should’ve been (and probably exceeds it in my opinion) and it really does not disappoint. There are so many kick-ass claw fights between Sabretooth and Wolverine; you can practically feel the scratches and stabs as they go on right in front of you on the screen. You’ve got guns and swords, kicking and punching, all kinds of mutant powers…this film really delivers. Some surprises will make you smile and after watching this, you’ll probably want to go home and watch the first X-Men movie…I know I did. Don’t miss this one!