Superstar Hugh Jackman attacks the role of Wolverine once again - with a vengeance! This pulse-pounding action thriller sinks razor-sharp adamantium claws into the mysterious origins of Logan/Wolverine: his epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed/Sabertooth and the ominous Weapon X program that unleashes his primal fury. Along the way, Wolverine also encounters legendary new mutants including Deadpool and Gambit.
This is the movie that was leaked on the internet before its premiere. Again, this is the movie that critics and fanboys alike bashed and thrashed when it opened a month later. And yet again, this is the same movie that raked in $360 million in the summer box-office.
As the title implies, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" brings audience back in time to how Logan/Wolverine got his indestructible adamantium claws. But somehow the script by David Benioff and Skip Woods who did the rewrite doesn’t do much justice to a character much loved by fans in the comic universe.
For a movie that talks about origins and backstory of Wolverine, the amnesia tortured hero from the original franchise, the pacing is remarkably fast and wobbly. By the end of the opening credits, James Howlett (Wolverine) and his half-brother, Victor Creed (Sabertooth) has grown up and survived through the America Civil war and yes the Vietnam War. If you assumed I’m bluffing, wait till you see the actual movie. It’s as though Fox has not much of a confidence to tell a tale of a traumatized mutant boy who possessed bone claws to engage the audience. Instead, the company is rushing to bring its star Hugh Jackman to appear onscreen asap.
Characters obviously need enough time to nurture and grow so that the audience can relate to but this is nowhere to be found here. Too many characters purely for the sake of eye candy drop in and out without any specifically importance to the plot. This is especially true for fan favorites such as Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and Deadpool (Ryan Rynolds). Both obviously slotted in clumsily by Fox to cash on their popularity, pathetically ended up as plain caricatures, nothing more. The engaging rivalry between Wolverine and Sabertooth (Liv Schreiber) gave way to one too many other subplots that include the introduction of the cunning Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston) and a romance angle involving Silverfox (Lynn Collins).
From director Gavin Hood who gave the audience the acclaimed Tsotsi and the political tone Rendition, you expect something more philosophical mind-blogging rather than a simplistic tale of good versus evil. In a way, this is definitely not in the league of the first two X-Men by Bryan Singer though it fares close to the Bratt Ratner’s helm third instalment.
In terms of action and visual effects spectacle, Wolverine still lose out to the latter. It’s true Hugh Jackman’s muscles look far more ripped and a few action sequences are choreographed way beyond the comics will ever imagined but still, it lacks a certain realism to the human eyes in the theatre version which I caught. Yet it fare much better on the small screen noteably the crazy helicopter-barn chase.
Ultimately for faithful fans of noisy summer blockbusters, Wolverine might not be that bad after all. There are enough CG effects, solid fights and explosions to keep everyone’s adrenalin pumping. However loyal fans of the X-Men franchise might find this a lame affair that worked far better as a fourth outing rather than an origin backstory.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins is the typical making-of feature that include interviews with the cast and crew. Nothing really interesting to uncover here.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes – Certain scenes were dumb down and dialogues changed and in this feature we got to know why with director Gavin Hood commentary.
Alternate Last Scene – (Spoiler Alert) The alternate last scene which had Wolverine 'drinking to remember' in a Tokyo bar.
Most annoying is an additional bonus disc which contains nothing fascinating except for a Weapon X Mutant Files (that talk about the onscreen characters) and a short featurette that shows us behind the scenes of shooting the helicopter chase in The Thrill of the Chase: The Helicopter Chase.
Unlike the blu-ray version, this touted 2-Disc DVD does not contain a single commentary track or any other featurettes. Plain disappointing.
As mentioned in my review, the visual effects and composite shots look far better on the DVD than on the big screen. Some scenes are notably grainer but overall the presentation is vivid and detailed. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and it’s aggressive and rich between channels.
by Linus Tee
Posted on 16 September 2009