The UNpopular Opinion: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

written by J-A Hamilton

  THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

“Your Country needs you.” – William Stryker

“I’m Canadian.” – Logan

If there’s one thing movie fans used to have in abundance it was high expectations but with each passing year the concept of high expectations has become more and more laughable. The age of comic book films was supposed to change all that and in a lot of ways it did (though the sins of Hollywood were bound to catch up with even this genre eventually). Growing up I was more of a Spiderman guy when it came to collection comics but I’ll admit to being thoroughly intrigued by Wolverine. I started reading his stand alone comics and even dabbled a bit in the X-Men titles. Bringing the X-Men to the big screen was not only a huge endeavour but quite the gamble. It’s a film you can re-watch (despite all its flaws) but as most people would tell you (myself included) this is mostly due to Wolverine.

The announcement for X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE came at a time when fans of the character and X-Men series were bummed and frustrated with Brett Ratner’s third X-Men film. There were so many ways to go and so much that could have been as far as the X-Men universe goes that fans demanded justice. I still feel the X-Men Origins idea is a great one and Wolverine was by far the best choice for the first go at it (I still hope to see a Magneto one someday and am still pumped for a Deadpool spinoff). I was beyond excited for Wolverine to tear up the screen once again and though not perfect, I enjoyed the film immensely and was disturbingly shocked to hear so many people rip it apart. Is my opinion the unpopular one? Let’s weigh the pros and cons and find out.

Jackman's physique was rivaled only by his ferocity.

They rolled the dice with Hugh Jackman in the beginning but it became fairly evident that they won that roll as Jackman became the perfect embodiment of Logan. He grew into the character flawlessly and one could say that the entire X-Men storyline pretty much revolved around him, his choices and his actions. For me, having him reprise the role of Logan in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE was in and about itself awesome news (a fact I stand beside all the more adamantly now considering the X-Men franchise is getting re-booted with FIRST CLASS and the chances of Logan showing up in that series anytime soon or at all for that matter is slim to none). Jackman put love, sweat and tears into this character and it shows as I can’t imagine another actor taking his place.

Wolverine himself is nothing short of a complex character with a deeply rooted story filled with an infinite amount of obstacles, insane characters, epic battles and brimming with explosive emotions. Tackling the Weapon X series was in fact the right way to go but was also sort of doomed from jump street to let down fans on some levels. The PG-13 monster strikes again on that front and as angry as that made me, we all knew it was coming. Wolverine’s past is dark, but the Weapon X storyline could have easily been rated R if they followed suit with the storyline’s true roots. Now don’t get me wrong here, they tried to make it as “adult oriented” as possible (I couldn’t help but grin when I saw the Comic Con footage of Wolverine saying “I’m gonna cut your goddamned head off. See if that works.”), yet I couldn’t help but shake my head when the studio’s response to the first draft was “too dark”. They didn’t push the envelope quite as far as THE DARK KNIGHT but all in all I found the tone impressive.

"You'd think that by now these dumbasses would know we're bulletproof."

Perhaps the most crucial element of all for me was Liev Schreiber’s contribution of Sabertooth. I can’t even begin to explain how utterly mortified I was with how Sabertooth was depicted in the first X-Men film. What a f*cking joke, not to mention a sucker punch to the nuts of fans hoping for a real showdown between him and Logan (FYI, the cheesetacular fight atop the Statue of Liberty didn’t cut it). I understand that the first film was “feeling things out” but fans of Wolverine deserved better and I felt we got it with Schreiber’s version. Logan’s past is intertwined with Sabertooth’s, sure they didn’t nail it perfectly in the film but it was a hell of a lot better than Sabertooth going out like a damn chump in X-MEN.

When it comes down to villains, I guess this is where some of the bad news starts to seep in. ORIGINS had that “MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIALATION” feel to it at first, meaning that character overload seemed as though it may take away from the film. I enjoyed Stryker, Blob and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool that is, until he got changed into Weapon XI near the end (on that note, it was still cool as hell to see my man Scott Adkins rip it up in the final showdown but I still hated where they took Deadpool’s character). The end of credits bit helped ease the pain here but for all intense purposes I feel they could have done so much better, and not just with Deadpool either, all X-Men oriented films seem to screw up when it comes to the villains. McKellen was cool as Magneto but I did feel he was a touch too old and the way the f*cked up his helmet still chaffs my nut sack. Toad was worthless as was Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike was poorly used and we all cringed each and every time Juggernaut hit the screen. At least in ORIGINS I felt they were finally trying to take the villains a bit more seriously, but again, that’s debatable when it comes to Deadpool.

There's still hope for Deadpool yet.

No, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE wasn’t perfect but what more could we expect from it beyond what we got? Yes, they screwed up Deadpool, it could have been darker and Logan’s Weapon X story could have easily spanned over three films but this is Hollywood and we should all know by now that we’ll never get what we want from them. Another film with Jackman as Wolverine should be a win for fans of the character, seeing as how it really wasn’t that bad. Gambit was underused but done well (I’d watch a Gambit spinoff with him), Schreiber kicked ass as Sabertooth, we got some cool cameos (loved the baby Storm one and would further love to see an X-MEN ORIGINS: STORM) and though I’m not completely sold on Wolverine going to Japan (again, they already screwed up Lady Deathstrike, so I was hoping to see someone like Omega Red take him on in the next one), at least we’ll see more of Jackman as Wolverine in the future as opposed to being stuck with X-MEN FIRST CLASS as our only window to the series. So yes, this film contained many a plot hole, pissed all over previous storylines and made tremendous use of our ability to incorporate suspension of disbelief but most films can be picked apart if we choose to go that route so perhaps mine is the unpopular opinion here but I feel that X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE was nowhere near the horrible film people made it out to be.
Extra Tidbit: While filming a stunt in X-MEN, Hugh Jackman got his wires crossed and had a testicular mishap that caused him to go all “Wolvie berserker style”. At first, everyone thought he was just getting into the character...
Source: JoBlo.com



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