I had posted an earlier sort of ode to the cinema grill. I have discovered another wonderful thing about it. That is, they serve beer in the theater. This item can actually help a film like X-men Origins: Wolverine. After all, it is the first blockbuster of the new year. These films are usually made with most of the thought of an average twelve year old. So long as there are pyrotechnic effects and a well planned out ad campaign to go with it, it will make money at the box office and be forgotten a few months later.
So, let me get this out of the way. Is it as bad as many of the mainstream critics would say it is? I can’t say that it is. It is technically well made and the actors actually do try to work with the material they’re given. It’s not much, but it’s something. And frankly, it’s an adequate way to eliminate some of that pesky spare time the populace may possess. Is that what you want?
If so, then go see it. But for the rest of you, I want you to try something. Turn back the clock a year. The summer movie season was just beginning. In fact, it began with a movie about another Marvel comic book character, Iron Man. This film possessed wit and heart. It showcased well rounded characters who were completely believable. In fact, the whole premise almost seemed true, something unheard of in a comic book movie. Remember the wit? Remember the sense of wonder?
Well, I am glad I took you on that nostalgic trip. Wolverine possesses none of those qualities. In fact, there are some glaring problems with the whole item. Why go into his origin? They previous films in the franchise had already done so and done so effectively. What are his motivations? I am not completely clear on that either. Oh sure, his brother becomes evil and the malevolent force that is the U.S. military is back. But it amounts to nothing. How does this develop the Wolverine character? It doesn’t at all. We all know he will end up with amnesia. Any experience he has in this film will not matter. What of the characters in the film? This is more the fault of prequels in general, but the characters hear do not act like their counterparts in the earlier (or “later”) installments. It is all rather frustrating at times.
General (or here, Colonel) Styker is the one who suffers the most. Danny Huston takes the role in this installment, but cannot compare to the masterful portrayal by Brian Cox. Cox’s Strykler had definite motives and was generally a loathsome character. Here, Stryker is evil almost for the sake of being evil. The previous motivation, with his son’s mutation, is barely mentioned at all even though the incident is stated to have occurred. He says he is over it, but then what was the point of the character in the second X-Men film?
It was moments like this that continually frustrated me. Even more so because some of the sequences do work very well. I hate when movies do this. I have to give praise to the skill involved, no matter how low that skill is. Don’t feel bad about seeing it. But don’t feel like you have to either. There are better movies coming out this summer, and even better ones available to rent. Start searching.