Thursday, 30 April 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

A slice of fun, a dice of technicalities ...

Origins: Wolverine gives a glimpse into the history of one the most iconic characters in the comic book industry showing events before the first X-Men film. Brothers James Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) have, with their unique gift to rapidly heal their bodies, served together in countless wars throughout the 20th century until being recruited into a special ops programme by William Stryker (Danny Huston). Logan begins to tire of this group as he opposes the overly violent tendencies of the operations, and eventually he leaves the group. Years later, Logan is approached by Strkyer to help with a task of national security all while Logan's girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) is murdered by Victor, which results in Logan seeking revenge.

The origin of Wolverine is a rather intriguing story, especially since Wolverine in modern times suffers from amnesia. Of course the adaptation is not entirely faithful. The introduction begins to quickly settling the arrival of Logan's abilities in a few minutes and then flashing to well conceived opening credits. The story continues this fast pace but once Logan leaves the special ops programme the films pacing begins to slow. This becomes symbolic in the change of lifestyle for Logan but after the first half the film begins to become somewhat fragmented, resulting in a story whereby Logan is forced to fighting another character just to move the story on for a few minutes: the dramatic elements begin to lose their importance as the film develops but thankfully the story's finale synthesizes the action and story in a similar manner to the film's beginning.

Many facets to Wolverines life are kept while others, especially in regards to characters are given certain changes. One such change revolves around Deadpool: it is a change which ardent fans may disapprove of but since this is an adaptation, the film works like a retelling of the overall Marvel universe, a concept synonymous with the comic book industry. In fact, Origins: Wolverine becomes indicative of how adaptations should be perceived as a imagining and not always as a as carbon copy of the original text.

The actors and their respective characters are, for the most part, well received. Jackman continues his excellent form as Wolverine, but is able to portray him as a character filled with an internal struggle to do what is right while having a capacity for evil. Schreiber, Jackman's counterpart, proves a useful adversary and an excellent binary opposite to Jackman; where Logan is conflicted, Creed is bloodthirsty. Huston performs a good job as a subtly menacing and smug official who wishes to wipe out mutants while Collins is delicate, if not underplayed in the film. The remainder of the cast all perform adequately and their respective characters are suitably added to the films plot. However, this does not stop a couple cameos being more fan service then actually being truly relevant to the overall plot.

Another person to be complimented is director Gavin Hood (Rendition) who does a delightful job with his cinematography. Granted, he tends to stay on the conservative side of film making, but this never stops him completing some beautifully shot scenes. Though some of the fight sequences are more muted then they should be and it becomes saddening to think that the film's action, while entertaining, could have been more ferocious. An uncut release could remedy that but hopefully the sequel, if there is one, will allow for the actions scenes to all be equally as enjoyable.

However, if Wolverine is to be faulted in area it would be its mixed bag of special effects and CGI. CGI tends to be worse off with the odd action scene looking either too blurry or unrealistic, and even Wolverine's trademark claws appearing far too cartoon-like. The special effects are not too bad with a characters energy beam being very impressive, but another characters defense mechanism being poorly textured. The end result is a mixed bag, and while none of the problems areas truly distract from the overall experience, it is evident that the film required a longer post-production phase.

There is no sex or nudity, with language at a low. Violence is abundant throughout the film but it is never bloody, even with one character being decapitated, though this is never graphic by any means.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a highly pleasurable film: the story is engaging; if lacking in depth; the acting is commendable; the directing is workable and the action scenes are fun to watch. It is a pity that the film is not as violent as it could have been and even more so that the technical aspects, something so well polished in other superhero films, appears incomplete. This plus a few slight niggles to the overall film still allows Wolverine to be among the better half of the superhero genre.

7/10

Screen date: 30 April 2009
Release date: 29 April 2009

4 comments:

Iommi said...

Very good review and true to the movie.

Keep up the good work!

Farzan said...

Good review, but I thought the movie was disappointing. I gave it a D+ in my review. I thought the story was lacking and the characters weren't fleshed out enough, but than again this is coming from the leaked un-finished review of the movie. I do agree that the action was pleasurable.

Jitters said...

I would been better off saving the money i spent on Wolverine for Star Trek this weekend

CruizD said...

@Iommi
Thanks for reading and the support :)

@Farzan
Yeah I figured you would do one once you watched the final cut, but I understand you concerns. I just felt that the story wasn't meant to focus on the other characters, which sort of emphasizes Wolverines view of most ppl: he doesn't really care about them.
But fair assessment on your part!

@Jitters
Ster Trek was an enjoyable film (too many assignments to do a review I'm afraid) but I'd give it a 7. Different tastes though .