ENFIELD, Conn. — My feeling is this: the only possible way that “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” could have been spawned is if the following conversation took place, in some undisclosed location with a pair of undisclosed Fox studio executives. Let’s call them Character and Assassination.
Character: Hey, even though the third X-Men was a pile of cow dung, everybody still likes Wolverine, right?
Assassination: Please. The better question is, who doesn’t like Hugh Jackman? That guy’s awesome.
Character: So let’s make a movie about him, throw in a lot of gratuitous cameos of other mutants — but let’s twist their personalities and abilities to the point where they are unrecognizable.
Assassination: Great idea! And let’s the film the entire thing on green screens! Think Lucas will give us a hand? He’s an expert at ruining franchises.
Character: Pshaw, think about how much that’ll cost? Instead, let’s blow our whole FX budget showing Sabretooth’s fingernails growing in extreme closeup, accompanied by Liev Schreiber’s sardonic smirk.
Assassination: I like the way you think. Maybe we could add a couple unfunny pithy one-liners. But what happens besides that?
Character: Doesn’t really matter. We could just have Wolverine get into a lot of pointless fights that don’t advance the plot at all. And he could growl a lot, sort of like Darth Vader in “Revenge of the Sith.” That was the best part, am I right?
Assassination: Totally. But what other mutants should we include?
Character: Well, the fans have been asking for Gambit.
Assassination: The only way I’ll allow that is if he drops his Cajun accent five minutes into the film, and also appears out of nowhere several times.
Character: It’s a deal. Also, let’s cast Van Wilder and Charlie from “Lost” somehow. And that guy from the Yes We Can video. I’m thinking we could tell them they’ll play cool mutants from the comics and then make their characters about a hundred times more stupid.
Assassination: With pleasure! And let’s abuse Cyclops again. I really just can’t stand that guy.
Character: How will we keep continuity with the other movies? For that matter, Liev Schreiber doesn’t look anything like the guy who played Sabretooth the first time, does he?
Assassination: Don’t worry about it. Just call him “Victor” the entire time and give him less hair. The audience won’t even know he’s supposed to be Sabretooth.
Character: Genius. You ready to film this thing, then?
Assassination: Yeah. But should we worry about the plot at all?
Character: Are you kidding? We’ll have as many plot holes as the amount of bloodless stab wounds. Gotta keep it PG-13.
Assassination: Let’s do this thing!
There you have it, folks. Now, that might come off as the bitter ranting of a disappointed geek — which I admittedly am — but the truth of the matter is that this was a bad, bad film regardless of geek affiliation or lack thereof.
Staring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Will i Am, Ryan Reynolds
Runtime: 107 minutes
Seen at: National Amusements Enfield Cinemas 12
The production values were uneven at best and laughable at worst; there are scenes where I had to fight not to laugh, both at the bad CGI and painful dialogue. It was like watching the part in “Return of the King” where the hobbits are frolicking in bed together.
The plot was disjointed and frankly made very little sense. All the themes and questions that Bryan Singer and company developed in the first two X-Men films — and yes, even the abominable Brett Ratner contributed to those in the third X-Men — are completely absent here. Yes, it’s intended to be a different franchise, I understand that, but it is also supposedly set in the same universe. But no, the only continuity in this film was Jackman himself.
Ah! There it is: the film’s sole redeeming quality! Hugh Jackman is again excellent in the role, balancing the fan favorite “best at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice” aspect of Wolverine with the human side. Jackman clearly has a love for this role and this character, and he played the different sides of the Wolverine beautifully. One such moment was near the end of the film, when Logan loses his memories. The change in attitude, in voice, was so perfectly on par with the Logan we see in X-Men 1 and 2 that I could only smile.
But unfortunately, one good performance doesn’t save a film riddled with inconsistency, stupidity, absurdity, and a lot of other nouns that end in “Y,” nor does that performance render the film watchable.
It’s a shame, really — and I do hate to say it — but the bottom line here is to stay away from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Stay far, far away.