I haven't done a midnight showing in a long time... This is also not the movie I would have preferred to break that trend on. But it is broken, and I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine last night. (It wasn't my fault, I assure you.)

Now, if you frequent this site, you should spend your time more wisely... but also you know that I am a comic geek. Especially within the X-Men neck of the woods. However, you may have also caught on to my dislike for the Wolverine character. Well, dislike is how most people perceive it. It actually isn't quite true. He's alright, but his popularity shaped him into a major annoyance. He's everywhere and everything to everyone. It can really undermine a team book when the writers write him this way. It certainly undermined the 3 prior X-Men movies.

So going in to this movie I can't say I had too much expectation. Though I also didn't have too much riding on the story. Overall the end result was okay. I'd give it a negative 1 (scale of -5 to +5) which isn't as bad as it may sound. (EDIT: I'd now say it is a negative 2) Especially not for a comic book movie under my ratings. The movie just had enough things wrong with it that it couldn't get a perfectly neutral grade. I also feel that the movie could only decay on me, not grow.

First off, their inclusion of elements from Origin don't exactly make me happy, as I thought it was a poor comic story in the first place. Their alteration to the Creed relationship I felt worked well for the confines of a movie, though I am glad it was not the case in the comics. However it didn't fix how bad the opening scene was.

As for the way Sabretooth was handled, I actually believed it was one of the better parts of the movie. He's not nearly the psychotic butcher he is in the comics, but neither is Wolverine your ol' canucklehead. Both are neutered, but I felt that in the confines of the movie I was somehow buying their near inexplicable relationship. I felt Liev Shreiber did a pretty decent job even if he can't physically fill out the role. Overall one of the better points of the movie for me. Though they don't bother to explain the fellow of the same name in the first X-Men movie, hehe.

As for Deadpool, simply put this was one of the best casting jobs in any comic book movie. Which ends up more of a frustration than a joy. I am not the biggest of Deadpool fans, but the thought of Ryan Reynolds dropping lines like Wade Wilson, the merc with the mouth, was definitely a plus going into this movie. And he drops a couple, but appears to offend the screenwriter's mother, so he gets script-slapped... The talk of doing an origins movie on him was getting pretty big as this movie approached, but I can't see a public outcry for more Wade. I can probably say their treatment of Deadpool was the worst thing about this movie for me. Not even because of its break from the comics. There was just some bad decisions.

And of course the first big screen appearance of everyone's favorite cajun thief. If you were wondering if they'd go with the accent or not, the answer is... umm sometimes... Gambit also doesn't show up on my list of favorite characters. Similar to Wolverine, he's a character too bound up in stereotypes. His first fight scene in the movie makes no sense (I'm still shaking my head over it). Overall, he's obviously an addition to the story just to hike interest (and unfortunately hike the cost of Uncanny #266, grr). The actor didn't really pull off Gambit, but he also wasn't given much of a chance to. There's talk of doing an origin story on Remy, which at least seems more likely than Deadpool now. They'd also need the actor to have more ability than he showed in this movie, or get a new actor altogether. I can't say I'd be excited by a Gambit spin-off.

As for the production, the special effects were kinda bad... Oh and I've never been a fan of wire work, but it was very overused and poor/inexplicable in this movie. Also there was some bad lighting and color manipulation. A mix of all these things made the movie feel like a tv movie at times.

A number of variables involved in the ending were just bad in my book. For obvious reasons I won't get into it, but... just bad...

Lightning Round:
The Silverfox stuff was done well enough. I was wondering how they'd handle certain things. *mumbles to himself* It still should have been his birthday...
The Striker actor did an okay Brian Cox impersonation, but it unfortunately felt like an impersonation.
Emma Frost... Umm, okay... They did something really odd with her, that I won't explain here. Not a comic character I like, but she proves a good foil for other characters. Here she was just unnecessary and poorly executed.
Scott Summers - Hey, he had better screentime than in the third movie. It was a decent chance to start repairing him some, but they didn't bother.
John Wraith - I liked him. Well done.
Agent Zero - Umm, I've only read him as Maverick. He's obviously different than the comics. Can't say I cared for him.
Fred Dukes - I obviously don't care if they screw up Blob, but I was just scared he'd be a cringe-worthy addition. They kept it from getting too bad...
Bolt... Umm, okay...
Apparently they aren't building up for an Alpha Flight movie, heh. The Hudson change makes sense for the movie. (Actually I just IMDBed the cast... I was wondering if that was what they were implying... Heh, maybe Weapon Alpha's gonna come for some misguided revenge!)
Mr. Cameo - Wow, creepy! (Yeah, that's right. I used an exclamation mark.)

As for where they go next, I'm sure Fox will try to push something through, whether it deserves to be or not (see X-Men: The Last Stand). If they do a Wolverine sequel, the Japan story by Claremont and Miller definitely does seem the most obvious fit. The biggest question is the use of Mariko. How many times can you hit the same note for the audience? Not that they don't abuse this in the comics as well. But the way things end with Mariko in a movie in Japan will affect how fluid it feels before the first X-Men movie.

As for X-Men: First Class... I just need to know how they plan to make it fit with the pre-existing movies. Once I get a better idea of that landscape I can start forming an opinion on the project. Right now I am just hesitant. Specially with Fox's track record of pushing forward with only a cliff before them.

If for whatever reason I was forced to make an X-Men movie, I'd bring in Alex to have to try and take over the school in the departure/deaths/dissappearances of much of the previous staff following the third movie. ("Why Alex," you ask? "Because," I answer. Actually I do have my reasons. You can guess them if you like. Oh, that was, "Who's Alex?"? Never mind.) Bring in a spattering of some of the B- and C-grade X-characters as students and faculty and move off that. Perhaps bring in a Mr. Nathaniel Essex... He seems to follow around those Summers brothers. It would be a strong break from what has gone on before, but I think that's what is needed. It would obviously appear to be smaller scale, since the casual fan would likely not know a number of the characters. Which to me spells freedom. But any producer would laugh in my face and kick me down a flight of stairs, but if you read above, I was forced to do it.


Jon said...

Is Marvel still trying to decide whether to base movies on the regular or Ultimate universe?

AedonTor said...

I think they are taking from whatever they think fits best. The Avengers movie will probably use the Ultimates as their biggest basis. Which is a good idea in my mind. They'll just have to temper some things to make it more digestible for a wider audience. So yeah, they'll pull from what they like. It doesn't have to be the 616 (regular) or the Ultimate universe.