Last night, after much mental and physical preparation (practicing my groans of disgust), I set out to see the now infamous X-Men Wolverine: Origins. Between the leaked footage of the work-in-progress footage, and the perpetual torrent of negative reviews, the chances that I’d enjoy this movie looked bleak. To be honest, I was backing on the hopes that this film would pull what I’ve termed a “Step Brothers”– that is, that I would go in with such low, low expectations that I would be fantastically blown away by what is otherwise just a pretty okay film.
And this is pretty much what happened. Sort of. (Warning, spoilers after the jump)
In order to deal with seeing this film, there were a couple of things that I did to prepare myself:
First, I convinced myself to take it at face value: as a fun, simple action film. And in this regard, it was pretty darn good. There was, without a doubt, plenty of explosions and hack ‘n slash fights. And, as a movie set around one of comic’s most violent, gritty superstars, there should have been more than enough explosions and hack ‘n slash fights to keep any action fan satisfied. The only problem is that… it kind of didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were some very cool fights, and some great action scenes. But when you’re not invested in the characters fighting, it’s just not that satisfying watches the fighting going on. Everything felt rushed and unexplained, you couldn’t even feel like you were backing Wolverine, even during his quest for revenge. Movies like “Taken”, that may have less intense special effects, can nonetheless cause you to jump out of your seat screaming simply because of how invested you are in their quest. With Wolverine, there’s none of that. It’s a fun action movie, but it doesn’t invest you in what’s going on.
Second, I reminded myself—constantly– that a film adaptation is not an attempt
to transfer the same story into film, but instead a full re-imagining. I had to convince myself that, in the same way the ‘Ultimate’ story-lines in Marvel recreate a characters origins, I should look at this movie as a new beginning to a whole different story. After all, if I could accept that Scott Summers has died and resurrected fifty times in the comic, why shouldn’t I be able to accept that he was once kidnapped by the Weapon X program?
This worked out pretty well for the most part, but it made me feel like I was being teased the entire time. Don’t get me wrong, they did things right. The blob? Awesome. The blob is a boxer with an eating disorder? not… so awesome. Gambits introduction:
“Are you Remy LeBeau?”
“Do I owe you money?”
“Then I am.”
And with that I breathed a sigh of relief. ‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘maybe they did Gambit right.’ Then, Gambit exhibited his powers. ‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘they made a very minor change to Gambit’s powers. I can deal with that.’ Then, suddenly, Gambit was causing earthquakes and climbing up the walls of buildings with his staff.
For every one thing that the movie got right about the Marvel universe, they decided to do two more things wrong. And every time it happened, I tried to remind myself that it’s just a movie, it’s okay. But regardless, the inner nerd in me just wouldn’t stop screaming at all of the things they got wrong.
And then there are the things that just didn’t make a lick of sense. Adamantium bullets, for one, and how their very shape defied their ability to hit an elephant from three feet away, and yet Stryker, and ordinary man, was able to hit a mutant with advanced speed square between the eyes. Or, why exactly such a bullet to the brain would destroy Wolverine’s memories, when it’s almost assured that over the course of half a dozen wars and fighting superhuman beings, Wolverine must have incurred some brain damage and never lost his memories before. Or, why exactly his perfectly reformed brain wouldn’t contain all of his memories. And I won’t even start on what they did to Deadpool, other than to point on that Deadpool is the merc with a mouth, and that physiologically I don’t even know how someone could perform those kinds of feats of acrobatics without the oxygen intake that a mouth provides.
All of this being said, I can also say that at least one of the alternate after-credit endings completely redeemed everything that the film did wrong. Five minutes of ranting during the credits turned into shouts of joy in a mere thirty seconds of redemption. Honestly, I can be pretty fickle with this kind of thing sometimes.
In summary, I’ll say this: I’m going to go see it again. I’m tempted to just look up the other endings online, but I think I’d rather go see it again. If you’re not as stubborn as I am, and you can deal with the movie being different then the comics (which I think most normal people can), then you will probably fully enjoy this movie, and find it worth the 9 bucks you shelled out to see it. And even if you are like me, go see it anyway. It’s worth seeing the new take on the Marvel Universe, and if not for that, at least go see it for the reason I am: If they get enough money, then they’ll make the Magneto Origins movie. Worst case scenario, I get to see them mess up my favorite villain’s origin. Best case scenario, Magneto killing Nazis.
And everybody would enjoy that.