Monday, May 04, 2009
So last Friday I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the new Wolverine movie…kinda. I’m not going to lie, I only went because I got invited by my prom date. Although I love the X-Men movies, and really, just the X-Men in general, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. The idea of taking the most popular character out of a series that is itself massively popular and giving him his own movie, to me, just seemed kind of contrived. Like it was just a way for the studio to suck as much money out of the franchise as they possibly could. A little research revealed that Hugh Jackman, Wolverine himself, was apparently all for this movie, and it’s been carefully in the works for a while. Go figure. I still probably wouldn’t have seen it in theaters had I not been invited by the guy taking me to prom.
That being said, the movie itself is…decent. It’s not bad. It’s strength is definitely it’s action sequences, which combine kick ass special effects with some pretty cool uber-action music, all of which never really gets boring because they usually blow something up about halfway in. The only issue with these otherwise cool and epic scenes, is the fact that nine times out of ten, they feature the immortal, indestructible Logan, AKA Wolverine, fighting for his life against the also immortal and indestructible Victor, AKA Sabertooth, neither of which, being the nature of immortal and indestructible things, can be hurt or killed. What are we supposed to worry about?
Sabertooth: HA! I have given you a mortal wound with my visually impressive martial arts abilities!
Wolverine: Oh no! Hold on a second…
[Five Seconds Later]
Wolverine: It’s ok! I’m all better! I shall now give you a mortal wound with my equally impressive, though slightly sexier martial arts abilities!
Sabertooth: AH! Ow. Geez, hold on a second.
[Five Seconds Later]
Sabertooth: Ok, I’m all better! I shall now give you yet another mortal wound with my still visually impressive and high choreographed martial arts abilities! HA!!
And thus the cycle continues for about twenty more minutes till someone comes and blows up a building and we run away towards the next part of the plot. Hooray. A totally tension-free action fight scene. I just love having no concern whatsoever for any of the characters I’m supposed to be rooting for.
I mean, even in the final battle, when we add the apparently deadly Weapon X into the mix of fighting, we end up with not two, but three immortal, indestructible people battling it out while millions of dollars worth of special effects try to make us worry about it. Seriously? Who thought this would work? Why should we care that they’re trying to kill each other when clearly none of them will be able to do it since none of them are able to die? Why?!
To their credit, they tried to write it off by implying that if you chopped Wolverine’s head off he would, actually, be dead. But they never really make that clear. They show Weapon X being ordered to decapitate him, but they never really outright tell you that it will kill him. Maybe this is because I’ve only read about two of the comic books, but is it common knowledge that decapitation kills Wolverine?
Watch it have been in the previous three X-Men movies. That would be just my luck.
Anyway, aside from the dramatically under-dramatic action sequences, the film did, in fact, have a plot. Or at least, it tried to. We open in some non-descript roughly nineteenth century-ish time period that Wikipedia states is 1845, in which some remarkably boring family drama is going on between this sickly kid, this taller kid, some guy who’s not sure how to make himself sound old fashioned without trying to be British, and a bunch of loud people downstairs. The scene gets a bit better when we go downstairs and the sickly kid sprouts skeletal claws from his knuckles and kills someone who just before dying informs him he’s his father. This somehow makes the two kids, sickly-claw-sprouting kid and needs-some-more-lines kid, brothers, which apparently bonds them together forever. Cue some internal anguish, a montage of them growing up throughout history, and of course, the opening credits.
The film kind of glosses over his childhood, as it didn’t include Hugh Jackman, and cuts to two brothers being offered a job on some special mutant taskforce thingy. As with most special mutant taskforce thingies, Hugh eventually comes to the realization that they are EVIL, and tries to get his brother to leave with him, else he succumb to his deep, dark, animalistic nature and become a monster. Or something. Naturally, finding evil much cooler than what is apparently the alternative, becoming a lumberjack in Canada, Hugh’s brother refuses and the two part with just a hint of animosity between them.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Hugh the lumberjack, now going by “Logan” leads a happy, peaceful life with his new, hotter-than-hot, mythology expert girlfriend who not only likes to constantly remind him that he is “not an animal” but likes to tell him ancient native stories that totally don’t foreshadow his eventual alias. She is then killed by his brother, who just to bring back that whole “animal” thing again, kills some sort of woodland creature as well, and we are thus treated to another moment of internal anguish.
The rest of the movie is basically him trying to get revenge on his brother. I think. This involves turning your skeleton into metal, running naked through a barn, stealing a dead farmer’s motorcycle, fighting your brother, going to a bar, meeting Gambit AKA: THE BEST FREAKING CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE, going to an island, meeting your ex-boss, freeing a bunch of mutants, fighting your brother, discovering that your hotter-than-hot girlfriend deceived you and is still alive, fighting your brother, fighting some evil mutant thing, fighting with your brother, fighting your brother, missing Patrick Stewart’s cameo, getting shot, getting your memory erased, and eventually walking off into the distance with Gambit who despite being amazing is never seen in this franchise again.
And yeah, that’s pretty much it.
But seriously, why didn’t Gambit get more screen time?? He was easily the best part of the movie, certainly the most interesting character. They should have given him his own movie! I mean, look at this! Is this not the epitome of epic?!
YES. YES IT IS.
Anyway, so all and all, it wasn’t a terrible movie. It wasn’t the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t terrible. The effects were good, and Hugh Jackman was good, as always, as well as whoever played Gambit. The story could have been a bit more interesting. They tried to throw in some deeper meaning with the whole “am I an animal or am I a man?” conflict, which never really made much sense to me as it seemed to come out of nowhere. I mean, yeah, their mutations kind of made them look like animals, sort of, but where does it say that dooms you to have the nature of one as well? I mean, it’s not like anyone ever told him “Logan, you’re an animal” and by about halfway through the movie, he’s pretty much put the conflict aside anyway and just focuses on revenge. So why did they need it? It clearly didn’t have that much of an effect on him, since he never mentions it himself. It’s just other people telling him “you are not an animal” every five seconds. It’s like the writers wrote the script and then went “Wait! We have no inner conflict! Let’s add one in at the last second!” and just sort of stuck it in there. But whatever. It didn’t hurt the film, it just got annoying after a while.
And there you have it, my thoughts on Wolverine. Join us next time when I review my latest prom-date-related movie spree, Star Trek.
Remember, you are not an animal,