X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Wolverine is not a good movie. Too odd and grim to appeal to casual filmgoers and too willfully unfaithful to the source material to please comic fans, it is an unappealing sundae with bad special effect topping.
The first ten or seventy minutes of the film chronicle Wolverine’s youth and unnaturally long young adulthood. He participates in every major American war, which is odd because he is Canadian. You can tell what each war is by the filming: World War 1 is sepia toned like a documentary about World War 1, World War 2 is bluish-gray because Saving Private Ryan was, and Vietnam is depicted through a reenactment of the helicopter scene from Full Metal Jacket.
From then on, the film is a pretty standard stupid mess. Wolverine works for a SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP. Because everything secret is bad, the group has a secret anti-mutant agenda and kills a lot of people who only marginally have it coming. We get to meet a big cast of uninteresting mutants. Most of them will die, so it’s better to not worry about them. Eventually, Wolverine (shown up to this point engaged exclusively in killing) gets tired of killing and retires. This doesn’t sit right with the SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, so they coerce Wolverine into volunteering to have a metal skeleton installed by pretending to kill his wife. Oh dang, that was a spoiler. My bad.
Wolverine’s metal skeleton makes him invulnerable everywhere, except in his broken heart, so he enlists the help of lovable rogue mutant Gambit to find the secret headquarters of the SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP. It turns out that they’ve been kidnapping mutants to steal their powers, and only Gambit has ever escaped. The personality, fighting style, and powers of Gambit are represented perfectly, so he’s only in the film for about ten minutes. He flies Wolvie to 3-Mile Island, a super-secret location where the SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP would never possibly be discovered by anybody, except the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, power companies, or thousands of employees. Wolverine is itching to fight his arch-rival Sabretooth, but Sabretooth decides he still likes Wolverine, so Wolverine just releases the captured mutants. They flee the island and are adopted by computer-generated young Patrick Stewart to become the first X-Men PLOT POINT!!!!!!!!!!
Wolverine decides he needs to fight somebody, and so the evil head of the SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP sends oddball ninja assassin Deadpool after him. Because this is a bad movie, Deadpool is Baraka from Mortal Kombat and is not wacky or a ninja at all. Wolverine wins because Sabretooth helps him, and because Deadpool can only fight when the bad guy types “decapitate” into a DOS prompt. Wolverine is about to leave when the evil leader of the SECRET ALL MUTANT SPECIAL FORCES GROUP shoots him with bullets made of the same stuff as his skeleton. Because this is a bad movie, this gives Wolverine amnesia, just like in the first X-Men PLOT POINT!!!!!!!
The movie itself sucks enough, but Wolverine is also cursed with really poor effects. Scenes are stitched together with computers to no productive end, the border between Wolverine’s hands and claws wobbles in closeups, and whenever Wolverine walks in front of anything that isn’t real, there’s a glow around his poofy, silly-looking hair where things don’t mesh up. It must have taken a lot of effort to make a contemporary movie look like it was made in 1992, but that effort was wasted, because even in 1992, this movie would have been kind of dumb.
Things to watch for:
- Wolverine wrecks a helicoptor which crashes and explodes. The crew isn’t dead enough so Wolverine lights it on fire and it explodes again, only more so!
- Wolverine’s wife tells him a folktale that explains why wolverines howl at the moon. Wait, do they? Well, she says they do.
- Wolverine’s wife demonstrates that she could have mind-controlled the villain at any time, yet instead let everything bad in the movie happen to people. My guess: she forgot about her powers because they only matter once.
2/10 (probably -1/10 if you really like X-Men)