Familiar Faces

I almost missed it, since it went up over the weekend, but Frank has an excellent new story up over at Every Day Fiction – check it out.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was about as disappointing as expected. They crammed a lot of unnecassary characters in, and to do so they condensed and butchered the portions of Logan’s origin story that are actually interesting.

Part of the problem is the taming of Wolverine for a mass audience, which is strange because the untamed Wolverine has about as mass an audience (in comic book terms) as you can get. The film completely passes over the years he spent feral and savage in the Yukon, living with wolves. His time with the Weapon X program is chopped down to like one mission. They don’t cover any of his time in Japan (though there is a hint at it after the credits). I’m not being fanboyish here – I certainly don’t expect the film to be slavishly devoted to the source material. It’s just frustrating when they ignore so much great material in favor of some 30-second fan wank appearance of Emma Frost or Gambit or other characters who have nothing to do with Wolverine’s origins.

Oddly enough, Wolverine is kind of a Mary Sue. For a character that has had tragedy after tragedy heaped upon his comic book incarnation, nothing bad really happens to him here. He has help at every turn. When he needs more power, someone comes along and gives it to him. When it looks like he meets someone who can defeat him, people who hated his guts five minutes before show up to save the day. This is motherfrakkin’ Wolverine, people. If anyone is custom made to have horror after horror perpetrated on him, just so that he can stand back up on his own and slice the shit out of whoever did it, it’s him.

There are other things to not recommend the movie as well – the last third of the film is fairly predictable and chock full of cliche. The filmmakers also underestimate the audience and feel like they have to explain things that are obvious.

It’s not all bad. There are some fun action scenes. There are some great performances from most of the cast (though I can’t imagine who thought it was a good idea to put Will.I.Am in there). If you want to completely shut off your brain and enjoy a fun action flick, you’ll find something there to enjoy.


2 thoughts on “Familiar Faces”

  1. It was interesting to read a true comic fan’s opinion of the movie. I saw it last weekend, as well, and I really **gasp** liked it. 😉 But, I must admit, I have never read a lot of comic books — a flirted with the X-Men universe during early Generation X and the Age of Apocalypse, but that’s about it. I definitely never read any Wolvie-specific stuff.

    One of the reasons I enjoyed the film, I think, was that it seemed to have more focus than the others. There probably were unnecessary characters, but the story focused solely on Wolverine, as opposed to the other X-Men movies that had too many main credits characters and not enough screen time for them all.

    I will say, that while I enjoyed the Gambit appearance, I could take it or leave it. I didn’t think it was necessary for Wolvie at all. Really, I wish they would have waited to bring Gambit in until they could do him justice, because I really like him as a character. Also, having him in his 20s in the 1970s seems to mess up the potential for a Rogue/Gambit romance in future present-day X-movies since they made her so young in the first one.

    I do hope that they make some more of these focused X-Men films in the future. I’d like to see X-movies that focus on one character at a time. Let’s have Rogue and the Miss Marvel thing. Or how about the origin of Professor X and his adventures with Magneto back in the day. Gambit is rife with storyline, and so are characters like Storm.

    But it was interesting to read your thoughts on the subject. I bet if I were a little more versed in the Wolvie back story, I would not have enjoyed the movie as much.

  2. It’s funny you mention Gambit being in his 20s in the ’70s (or maybe at the latest 1980) for this flick. If it is set that long ago (as it mostly seems to be), that would mean Cyclops is like 45 in the first X-Men film. He looks pretty good for his age. 🙂

    Gambit’s powers were fun to see. I would liked at least a little bit of an accent (though certainly not the ridiculous extreme they usually gave him in the comics or that ’90s cartoon).

    They definitely did focus more than they did in X3. It’s just unfortunate that they focused on the wrong things. It was kind of like a bad ’90s comic; lots of brief stunt guest appearances by characters who were badly represented and didn’t really have anything to do or any reason to be there, multiple different endings that you would have to go to different theaters to see, and lots of unnecessary battle scenes that had ridiculous things like Wolverine attacking a fire escape.

    It gets worse the more I think about it, lol. It’s definitely a surface-only movie. As soon as you put the barest amount of thought into it, the whole thing falls apart.

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