X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Director: Gavin Hood
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: Wolverine lives a mutant life, seeks revenge against Victor Creed for the death of his girlfriend, and ultimately ends up going through the mutant Weapon X program.
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
Rating: PG for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Another year, another superhero origin film. Seven years ago, it was Sam Raimi’s Spiderman. Four years ago, it was Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Last year it was Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Now add X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the fray.
The director is Gavin Hood, the Oscar-winning director of Tsoti (2005), a powerful South African drama centering on a hoodlum’s search for redemption under an oppressive society and amidst the crushing weight of poverty. With his newest project, he tackles a new and different face to filmmaking, a switch from independent cinema to mainstream commercialism.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman as John Logan a.k.a Wolverine for the fourth time after Bryan Singer’s two excellent features and a disappointing Brett Ratner sequel. I do not rate the Australian very highly as an actor as he has a limit to his acting range.
However, he very much nails his character here in a display of ferocious power and boundless energy. In addition, Jackman has a very strong supporting actor in Liev Schreiber, who plays Victor Creed a.k.a Sabretooth (Logan’s close ally-turned-nemesis) with equal badass-ness.
In recent years, Schreiber (Defiance) has established himself to be an excellent screen presence in numerous multi-faceted roles that are at the very least compelling.
There is some controversy over who actually helmed the action sequences. Richard Donner, one the film’s executive producers says that he has a hand in many of them. But Hood dismisses this since he is credited as the director of the film. Whatever the issue, it is not important because the film features solid action and generally entertains for the bulk of its length as a result of rapid pacing and some remarkable visual effects.
An example is a standout sequence following Wolverine’s narrow escape from a barn in a retro motorcycle, having his hands or metallic claws full dealing with enemy Hummers and a chopper with loads of ammunition.
There are flaws to the narrative; there is a sense of predictability as to how situations will evolve and how the fates of some characters will ensue. As a consolation for fans, not all is resolved at the end of the film and this leaves room for a sequel or another X-Men origin movie.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine defies low expectations and critical disdain and will reward viewers who expect nothing less than an action spectacle. Those who demand more on their plates will leave the theaters with not as wide a smile as the rest.