Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Wolverine"...Makes the Cut!

FOX Studios continues to hit the jackpot with hunky Hugh Jackman as everyone's favorite manic manicured X-Man in X-MEN Origins: Wolverine.

On Continuity

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Expecting it to follow the comic is a high expectation, but it at least stays consistent with the three “X-Movies” that precede it...and that is a plus for me. While there are some elements of Wolverine’s true origin within this film, it quickly deviated from canon within the first sixty-seconds of the film.

ARTH VADER (AV): Well, what can I say Pontificator? True to FOX Studios form, the producers of this movie tried every trick in the book to make this movie unwatchable. Yet, as a testament to the depth and quality of the original content, I found this movie, despite it's many WTF moments, a particularly good time. Really. Continuity with the Marvel Universe? C'mon, NONE of the FOX X-Men movies pay a lick of attention to the original source material. It didn't matter though, because this movie did a lot of things right, at least from an entertainment standpoint.

Casting, Directing and Acting

TP: Hugh Jackman has made Wolverine his own. I enjoyed Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed (a.k.a. Sabertooth) and thought his version was a very plausible rendition of a young (relatively speaking) Creed before the obvious further mutation into the first X-Men movie version. It seemed as though this Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston) studied his predecessor from X2 as some of the mannerisms and speech patterns were so on point, they were eerie.

AV: Director Gavin Hood brought a great character with a mediocre screenplay to life, so Gavin, my hat's off to you, sir. Joining heart throb Hugh, is a well-casted assortment of mutant players. The characterizations were good, I won't lie, but the story was just an odd mix of butchered Marvel content and pointless Hollywood movie dribble. Lovely
Lynn Collins plays Silverfox and became a pivotal character in the film. This movie's ending has GOT to be one of modern cinema's greatest WTF-moments. That said, I agree with you, P-man, Liev Schrieber as Victor Creed (Sabertoooth) was masterful. And rounding out the vast array of mutants, Will I. Am's John Wraith was pretty... ok. My biggest issue? Too many mutants!
*ARTH VADER ADDRESS FOX STUDIOS DIRECTLY*: Guys, can we talk? I mean, seriously, let's calm the frack down here, huh? We don't have to stick all of Marvel's hundreds of mutant characters into_one_fricken'_movie. Ok? C'mon, Heather Hudson? Really? I can't even follow these movies and I've been reading The X-MEN since 1976! I can't begin to imagine what the public at large thinks of these abominations of comic book content. Please, let the audience into the fold slowly. You're driving us all nuts with this! Don't make me have to contact the
M.M.M.S.! I'll do it!

Special Effects

AV: This movie is not just augmented by special effects, Ponty, it's made by them. I think it safe to say this movie was not possible twenty years ago. Not simply due to the SFX themselves, but the seamless clarity of the effects work, how believable they are to the eye and the story content made possible by the ability of the SFX and the quality of the post-production. The near-mesmerizing portrayal of Fred J. Dukes (The Blob) by Kevin Durand is just captivating. The movie is almost worth seeing just for the portrayal. I simply won't comment on the disastrous excuse for a finale that is presented at the end of this movie but suffice it say... I am simply lost.
TP: The special effects were excellent and were consistent with the caliber of effects I’ve come to expect from the X-films. In films like these it’s mostly about the powers, and though done very was also about the stunts, which were also done very well. There was a slight detection of “cheese” during one segment of Wolverine’s fight with Gambit...but the sour taste didn’t linger too long.
Taking A Deeper Look
AV: So terrible ending aside Pontificator, this movie does have some juicy moments. Visually and even theatrically. I must first call out the absolutely stellar job the Director and SFX folks did with the time-lapse adventure sequence in the opening of the movie. Frankly, I could watch this sequence over and over, it's that well-done.

TP: Agreed Vader, this movie had one of the best opening sequences I have ever seen, excellently chronicling the life and times of Wolverine and Creed through the wars they fought together. Very heavy on the action and moderately
so on the humor, there wasn’t any serious drama beyond the “holy cow” feeling I got from trying to fathom being through most every war since the Civil War. Ryan Reynolds was a showcase of his brand of humor early...and dazzled with the action throughout.

AV: Next, the mid-movie battle scene with Colonel Stryker's helicopter henchmen, was breathtaking. Watching Hugh leap through the air, claws extended, at an oncoming Helicopter; THAT"S the stuff of masterpieces! And stopping his motorcycle by jamming his claws into the ground then spinning to face his adversary? Awesome! It almost allows me to forgive that debacle of an ending we were forced to endure. Almost.
Looking Ahead: Sequels
TP: There are a lot of places to go with a sequel should they ever decide to make one. Gambit was underutilized in this film so there is always room to expand upon him, although that seems unlikely since the movie ended with Wolverine in Japan. I’d say the Silver Samurai would be a good candidate for an appearance if they decide to explore Logan’s time abroad in Japan. I’d be surprised, though pleased, if they even decided to introduce Sunfire...since there is great groundwork already laid for the effects thanks to the Human Torch in Fantastic Four.

AV: Both excellent suggestions Pontificator! I agree. In fact, I'd bet my regenerative mutant fast-healing factor this won't be the last Logan movie. Done with the proper vision and sense of perspective, the Wolverine Franchise can live on ad infinitum, like James Bond. Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine is delightful and strongly casted, but Hugh, I gotta' tell you buddy, Wolverine is actually bigger than you are. He will be a viable story-telling vessel long after you've "snikt'd" your last claw. The future forward teaser that is shown at the end-of the credits is enough fodder for me to get all giddy for future Wolvie installments. What do you say, Hollywood? Wanna make another easy $200 Million? How about another Wolverine flick already! Pontificator, what do you think?
TP: I think you’re onto something Vader...and Hollywood needs to be reading our blog!
THE PONTIFICATOR Rates X-Men Origins: Wolverine: There have been many mixed reviews on this film...most of them less than flattering, but I must admit I enjoyed this film more than most. Maybe they hooked me with the opening sequence and I became more than partial to Liev Schreiber’s Sabertooth...but even with the spotty plot, this film busted seven blocks for me.

ARTH VADER rates X-MEN Origins: Wolverine: Let's face it, old-friend, all-in-all, this was a good movie. Weird story sequencing, a downright awful ending, over-casting characters and poorly sequenced chronology couldn't sink the the battleship that is the Legend of Wolverine. After all, he's still the best there is at what he does. With a few tweaks, this franchise could be a as solid as this first effort tried to be. I'm compelled to give this movie eight solid busted blocks, Bub.

X-MEN Origins: Wolverine: 7.5/10 Busted Blocks

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