An X-Men by any other name…

…would still call you Bub. Wolverine is one of the most highly regarded characters in comics. His demeanor and all-around look make him particularly likable to fans, so it was a no-brainer to give him his own movie. But was it really necessary?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was an action-packed, highly entertaining film but was missing something to take it that extra mile. This spin-off of the X-Men franchise tells the story of Wolverine’s life before joining the famous team. His discovery of his mutant powers, time fighting in several wars, membership in Team X and his painful adamantium bath following the death of his love are all covered in just under two hours. Sounds like a lot to pack into one movie but it doesn’t feel that way upon viewing. After all, who doesn’t want as much Wolverine as they can get?

Hugh Jackman doesn’t disappoint in this, his fourth time playing the character but there’s nothing terribly new and exciting either. His temper flares when he needs to be angry and he’s sweet when he needs to be tender. The few comedic moments he had were handled perfectly though. The portrayals of each member of Team X was fantastic and left me wanting to see them in action longer, especially Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson. Sure this was Wolverine’s film, but Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, was a major player. It seemed as if Liev Schreiber barely got a chance to get his feet wet and his motivations weren’t well developed enough to make his quest believable.

On the other hand, there was someone who did a lot with a little – Taylor Kitsch. He played Remy LeBeau, otherwise known as Gambit, with an ease that made me think he should have been given the origin story. Sure, I was disappointed in his lack of a heavy Cajun accent but once he threw those cards, it was on. Lynn Collins as Kayla Silverfox had a quiet determination that really worked well for the role.

One of the biggest problems with the film was it’s pacing. There was action followed by some calm downtime, then action and some more downtime. For a guy who was on a mission of revenge he sure took the long way to get there. I also could have done with a little less screaming into the air and enemies charging at each other from across the room but that’s just nitpicking. The ending definitely could have been stronger and a tad bit less contrived but it got the job done.

As to the ending, or should I say endings, there are two scenes after the credits and two versions of the very last credits scene. The first comes just a few seconds after the credits have rolled and may fool you into thinking there isn’t more. There is. The next scene you see will be after the credits have completed and depends on which print your theater received. Unfortunately I viewed the less exciting of the two. It was ok, but didn’t have the interest level you expect from a post-credit scene. I’ve since watched the alternate version online and it was slightly more wink-wink to the fans.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was, for lack of a better word, a good movie. If the three X-Men films preceding it hadn’t spent so much time focusing on Wolverine maybe it would have had more impact as a standalone project. But, as it is, we’ve seen a lot of Wolverine already. Just like I wanted to see more of Team X in action, I was also dying to see more of the various mutant children in this film and that makes me wish for more X-Men team films. The smartest thing for them to do would be to have a rotating cast. Take out one or two of the major players each time and let others have their chance to shine. Wolverine needs a rest.

10 Responses to “An X-Men by any other name…”

  1. @wik, I think they’ll do the Deadpool movie up to fan standards considering the backlash they’ve gotten from this film.

    @WITA, lol.

    @K.D., hehe, yes, but it’s ok that’s allowed here!

  2. K. D. Bryan says:

    I enjoyed the first two-thirds quite a bit but the ending rather turned me off. I mean, I know I’m being pedantic by nitpicking about “so-and-so’s powers don’t work that way!” but Deadpool? He is the Merc With A Mouth, dang it. Frustrating after how wonderful Ryan Reynolds was at the start. Plus, the ridiculous bullet thing and hey, they’re concussive blasts, not lasers, guys.

    Ahem. Sorry, my nipticky fanboy is showing, isn’t it?

    Anyways, thanks for the heads-up on the ending, even if it was sadly belated. I heard about the Deadpool ending online elsewhere and took my equally excited sister out to see it (for what was a 2nd time for her), only to get the less exciting ending. Ah, well. Wasn’t in the cards. Which reminds me, I agree that Taylor Kitsch as Gambit really was terrific. Here’s hoping he’ll get a film after Deadpool and Wolverine (again).

  3. WITA says:

    Great review, Jill!

    Wolverine definitely needs a rest. I love the character, but he’s so overplayed, it’s getting annoying.

    Poor, poor Deadpool.

    Hahaha, Summers is such a nerd in the glasses. :D Sorry, couldn’t resist saying it any longer.

  4. wik says:

    I hate what they did with Deadpool in this movie… I hope the Wade Wilson movie they greenlit somehow gets the proper treatment, unlike what they did to fan faves in this movie. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were trying to alienate fanboys to make room for the ‘mainstream,’ which would be stupid considering the fanboys would be the only guaranteed customers. And yet they are ruining fan faves with stupidity like this deadpool (and I wasn’t too pleased about using Emma Frost without even showing what she can REALLY manage).
    How displeased am I? I’m a hardcore DC guy, and yet I’m upset about the treatment of these Marvel characters, who do appeal to almost all superhero comic fans…

  5. @ Nerdy Bird

    She’s right – you didn’t make it up, matter of fact, Fox announced today that they’ve greenlit a Deadpool movie with Reynolds reprising the role.

    Colour me excited!

  6. @Mad Hatter, exactly.

    @Mandy, no you didn’t make it up! I heard that a while ago too but I think that was after Blade 3 when everyone saw how good Ryan Reynolds would be in the similar kind of role. Not sure if they’re still planning it though.

  7. Luke says:

    good review. hopefully the rumored x-men first class film will give us the much needed break from wolverine we all deserve, that way they can come back strong with another jackman-centric film in a few years that actually delivers on the level of the first two x-films.

  8. I actually heard rumors that there will be a Wade Wilson movie, starring Ryan Reynolds. I can’t recall where I heard it … so I may have just made it up in my longing. ;)

    I didn’t realize there were two after-credits scenes. I’m now curious as to which one I saw. Guess I’m off to do a little Internet searching.

  9. I’m with ya thinking that the movie was “good, not great”…and especially with you in wanting to see more of some of the supporting characters they used.

    I often think that comic book movies lay themselves out with one or two characters too many, thus giving at least one of them precious little to do. Unfortunately, this was one of those times.

    Oh well…guess one can only dream about a Wade Wilson movie, right?

  10. ABoyNamedArt says:

    It felt too neat, too rote, too self-contained. More like a tv-movie than something worth the $10, y’know?