Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Wolverine

The Thin White Dude’s Reviews - X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Also known to most simply as Wolverine, to get past the overly long and overly punctuated title. Jesus, already I'm off to the griming before starting the review properly. Anyway, basically after Brett Ratner successfully murdered the X-Men franchise with X-Men: The Last Stand (which was in actuality the origin of my reviews blog some two or three years back. Have a look in the archive, it's a pretty good one), 20th Century Fox are looking for a Gambit (notice the pun) which will bring back the X-Men franchise, so what do they do, they make an origin story. Now really truthfully, we really didn't need a Wolverine origin story, but hey, its the role that made us realise the great talents of Hugh Jackman for the first time, and now look where he is. He was an unknown when making the first film and this year hosting the Oscars if that gives you an idea of his status in Hollywood. But anyway, basically the plot goes that Wolverine, born in 1800's British-occupied Canada, and has battled alongside his brother, played by Liev Schrieber, through every major war in modern American history, including Vietnam, is out for revenge, after his brother murder's his beloved Kayla. However, in order to achieve revenge, he must undergo a horrible experiment under the supervision of William Stryker, which sees him have his skeleton reinforced with adamantium, that infamous steel which he is made from. To start with what's good about the film, Hugh Jackman is familiar with this role and character, and knows how to play it. Granted, the script is bilge and the character is underdeveloped even in his own origin story, but Jackman plays Logan/Wolverine/James Howlett/et al competently. Same can be said about Danny Huston, who seriously lacks screen time in what could have been a better role for a fine actor. The best performance in the movie however is ironically found in the most two-dimensional character of all, that of Liev Schrieber's Victor Creed. The character is one of those one's that will probably inevitably end up as the spawn of some YouTube parody video, I mean for God sake, even the name "Victor Creed" sounds menacing. However, despite being lambasted with the oft-cliche "evil brother" syndrome (again! Same as Defiance), Schrieber manages to transform this character into what is the interesting character. It is like the writer's have created some sick post-modern joke on the audience, in that we generally criticise underdeveloped characters in film for having bad acting performances, now realising, have subverted the rules of acting performance and character development to confuse millions around the world. What have we got next, an origin story for The Riddler from Batman? (who is essentially Joker-lite, but don't get me started on my hatred for that character). Another good thing about the film is the action sequences. Unlike many films which have to insert the old shaky-cam thing for the purpose of "uh, it looks like Bourne," Wolverine abandons that and takes the Michael Bay route for action directing. The sequences are certainly lavish, with some great special effects, choreography and cinematography to boot. Personally, while OTT, they are some of the best action sequences as of late in film, and their ridiculousness is excuseable because it is X-Men, they are superheroes, and this one gave me a smile, it's not claiming to be something it's not. It's a straight-up, no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall action film with no rubbish. It really could have been so much worse, take Fast and Furious for an example. It must be said that Gavin Hood is perhaps the most unlikely person to direct the film, considering his filmography. He won an Oscar for Tsotsi, a critically acclaimed South-African drama, and directed a the 2007 film Rendition, an Iraq-War based drama. Now he as action movie of Die Hard 4.0 proportions on the credentials. Doesn't really seem an even balance, does it? However, while the movie is certainly not a horrible mess and remains enjoyable enough, it is inevitably just another forgettable blockbuster action movie. For starters, as mentioned earlier, the script is rather naff, but in a rather, cornball 80's action flick sense, without the warmth and "so bad, it's good" feel. The characters are underdeveloped and this clearly impacts on the performance of all members involved. Also, the script has some really clunky and cringeworthy dialogue such as "Nobody gets to kill you buy me." Even the action sequences start to dwarf even Transformers for catastrophe and destruction by the end of the film. Finally, Gavin Hood seems to be a fine director, but truthfully, he has lost control of this film. It is clearly not his own, but that of Fox. All in all really, Wolverine has some solid acting considering the poor material from which the actors have to reference, but is inevitably just another one to the pile of discarded, unwanted children in the action blockbuster phenomenon. But currently the best superhero movie of the year (smoke that Zack Snyder!).

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.7/10

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