The first movie that kick-starts the summer is arguably the most important movie of the year. It’s an indicative of how well the year’s summer movies would do. It also sets you in the mood. If the first summer movie is a major disaster, you’ll probably be lowering your expectations for every movie that is coming out during the summer for that year and chances are, your expectations would be met.
It’s unfortunate, then, that this year’s first summer movie, ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is comparable to natural disaster. A much more appropriate title for the film would be ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine and No One Else’. Clearly, I did not enjoy it.
Director Brett Ratner screwed up ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ by killing off every major character from the X universe and thus, a fourth X-Men film was impossible. So what happens when a franchised gets totally screwed? Think ‘Batman and Robin’, and then think ‘Batman Begins’. That’s right, reboot the bloody thing and start off when the character is a tit-sucking toddler. Also, if possible, get a DP-hating Christian Bale in the lead role (“I’m John Connor!” “I’m Batman!” “I’m supposed to be an evil Robin Hood but Ridley Scott f**ked me up!”)
That is the direction of the ‘X-Men’ film franchise. A reboot, which focuses on the origins, in this case of a singular character, Wolverine. Too much love was given for Wolverine that Fox actually thinks that he is the only person that everyone wants to see and cares about. WRONG! The X-Men universe is a massive one with many great and interesting characters. Wolverine is the toughest S.O.B. among the bunch but much love must also be given to the other mutants such as Gambit, Omega Red, Mr. Sinister, Deadpool, Apocalypse, Archangel, Psylocke, White Queen and Jubilee. None of whom appeared in the trilogy (and some were brutally butchered in ‘Wolverine’). Although there were many characters in the trilogy, the focus has always been on Wolverine. So, is it really necessary in the first place, to make a fourth movie that gives you more of him? Logically yes, because if people love him, why not give them more of him? The thing is Wolverine only has bloody adamantium claws! After 3 freaking movies, I think we have already seen all that he can do with it!
Initially, I was cool with the idea of a stand-alone Wolverine film because we would get to see some of the characters left out in the trilogy. After watching the movie, I realised that the title was ‘X-Men Origins: WOLVERINE’. Therefore, the other mutants only served very minor roles, which was a bloody waste! Since you have the opportunity of making another X-Men film, take full advantage of it and explore a little bit more on the other mutants. We’re not asking for much (since the movie after all is called WOLVERINE), but just a little bit more than just peanuts!
But then again, even the biggest of things has humble origins. The film starts in 1845 with James Howlett (Troye Sivan), a young boy who sees his father John Howlett (Peter O’Brien) shot by Thomas Logan (Aaron Jeffrey). He exacted his revenge immediately, before finding out that Thomas Logan is his father. Thomas also sired Victor Creed, thus revealing Wolverine and Sabretooth to be half-brothers. This relationship lasted through the years, as we see adult James (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) fight together through the different wars before being recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston) into a covert-ops group named Team X. After a mission during which Sabretooh becomes especially inhumane, Logan decides to leave the group.
Many years later, we find James (now going by his surname of Logan alone) working as a lumberjack in Canada, and is involved in a relationship with Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins, who looked lovelier here than she did in ‘Towelhead’). All seems to be well, until Stryker turns up, along with former Team X member David North (Daniel Henney). He tells Logan that former Team X members are being hunted down one-by-one, and he asks for his help. Logan refuses, but things changes when Sabretooth turns up and kills Kayla. He eventually agrees to help and submit himself to the Weapon X programme in order to exact his revenge. It is in this web of betrayal and revenge that the rest of the movie is played out.
Though I stated earlier that I was disappointed with the film, it did take off on a very promising start with one of the best opening credits I’ve seen (which could rival that of ‘Watchmen’). I can’t remember watching any other film where the opening credits is much better than the rest of the film. It basically shows Wolverine and Sabretooth through the ages, from the American Civil War, to the First World War, Second World War and finally ‘Nam.
The scene was then followed shortly with the introduction of Team X, with Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) playing a central role here. Honestly, I nearly came; it was a freaking awesome scene!!! It’s not exactly as cool as Nightcrawler’s intro in ‘X-2’, but it’s somewhere there. However, just when I felt glad that Deadpool’s in the movie, it was taken away from us. I won’t say what happened to him, exactly, but let’s just say that while I don’t know much of him, I do know is that he’s got quite a mouth. Thus, we are denied of potentially the wittiest lines in the movie delivered by its fastest talker.
Secondly, I have been waiting for Gambit (my favorite character from X-Men) for eons. Was it worth the wait? NO! Again, it was a very negligible role. Once again, his talents and abilities weren’t maximised, and it wasn’t very cool. In fact, there’s nothing to really shout about, and I was very disappointed with Gambit. Damn, I am so disappointed with him that I personally think my friend’s Hazry’s impersonation of Gambit last week was much better. Sabretooth was more spot on physically but not so much on the appearance. I still prefer to see him with the fur and all. Unlike the other characters in the film, Sabretooth was given more screen time and gave a sense of foreboding each time we see him on screen. His presence in the film was definitely felt.
My final verdict is that the movie was mediocre, to say the least. It really expands on the history or the origins of Wolverine. How much of it is from the comics, I am not entirely sure (I didn’t actually realise of the brotherly relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth). The action sequences were good but if you have seen all the trailers, you have seen about three quarters of it. The cast did a great job, with Ryan Reynolds, as mentioned earlier, being spot on as Deadpool. Taylor Kitsch was an OK Gambit; I am not sure if I liked the accent. Liev Schrieber is a better Sabretooth than Tyler Mane. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, is Wolverine.
I hope that in future X-Men origins, more focus will be given on other characters. You know what, forget Origins. Reboot the entire thing and cast Christian Bale as Wolverine, Johnny Depp as Gambit, Emily Blunt as Jean Grey, Sam Worthington as Cyclops, Sophie Okonedo as Storm, Maggie Q as Psylocke, Mickey Rourke as Beast, Bryce Dallas Howard as Rogue, Jason Statham as Iceman, and Daniel Day Lewis and Mr. Sinister!. Suggest a replacement for Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, I double dare you!
Fazil didn’t actually come during the film.