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Review

‘X-Men’ takes audience through confusing plot with random twists

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May 7, 2009

Is knowing the past of Wolverine really that necessary? Probably not. But apparently, comic book fanboys think it was, as legions of them called for a prequel to reboot the series. Maybe 20th Century Fox thought it was still a good idea, since it was put into production even after the disappointing “X-Men: The Last Stand.” 

Whose ever fault it was does not matter, since “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” came out on top opening weekend at the box office, earning roughly $85 million. Despite the quality, the film made a large amount of ticket sales and proved that marketing is everything when selling a movie to the public.

“What can go wrong with making an origin film about the ever-so-awesome Wolverine?” you may ask. Well, you will most likely be surprised, as this is a fairly messy and bland viewing experience (assuming you had high expectations for another comic book movie).

The film begins in 1845, with James Howlett, aka Wolverine, seeing his father murdered, after which he proceeds to kill off the murderer who also happens to be his real father. James has the ‘power’ to heal rapidly, and has bones that come out from his knuckles like claws.

He runs off with his older brother, who can heal fast as well, but sports fangs and long fingernails. There is a long montage, which reveals to us that James (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) have fought in every American war to kill people. Rather than being executed for killing their fellow soldiers, a government man named William Stryker (Danny Huston) recruits them to join Team X, a team that uses their mutations for special missions.

After Victor kills more innocent people, Wolverine quits. Six years later, Victor is killing off the members of Team X, as well as murdering Wolverine’s girlfriend. Wolverine obtains help from Stryker, who injects his body with a special metal, rendering him almost indestructible. The rest of the film is a maze of a revenge story, as he is out looking for blood and answers.

Let’s start with the action sequences. For one thing, the fighting between Wolverine and Victor is repetitive and for the most part, not amusing. Each brawl begins with the two standing several hundred feet apart from each other, with nothing in their way.  Then they charge at one another, with claws out and shouting in anger. Victor picks up pace by running like a cheetah (or some other kind of cat), which usually results in him knocking down Wolverine on his ass. 

A lot of slashing claws and weirdly long fingernails ensues, with little to no blood being shed. However, neither person really gets injured, because they have “healing power.”

There is pointlessness in all this fighting. Much of the other action includes ridiculous explosions, slow motion gun tricks (that you can see in pretty much every action flick made since “The Matrix”) and a boxing match with a morbidly obese man.

Although clocking in at almost 15 minutes shy of two hours, it seems much longer than that. Wolverine spends the movie trying to find out where his brother is, in which the next scene Victor shows up for the action sequence only to run off again. Every scene tends to drag on, as the scenes with talking go on forever, and the fight scenes are uninteresting. Characters come into scenes to conveniently save our hero, with little no explanation as to what their purpose is. This creates complications as well as plot holes in the X-Men universe. Other lesser mutant characters are introduced for no other reason than to have Wolverine go on a revenge journey for an hour and 45 minutes.

This is not the worst comic book movie I have ever seen, but it is not a good one. On top of trying to create a past for a character like Wolverine that fits with the other X-Men films, they have also tried to make Wolverine a likeable person. Well, he is not likeable, and rather dull. Wolverine’s claws and strength were awesome in middle school, but it is now commonplace and more of a trademark than an impressive mutation.

2 stars

José Cruz Jr. is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.