I finished watching “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” last night, and I went into it expecting the film to completely suck. That’s what the press said. That’s what the geeknoscenti said. That’s what my friends said. In reality? It didn’t suck. That much.
Back in May, the New Yorker wrote, “As the ‘X-Men’ series has progressed, the startling poetic extravagances of the first film have given way to flesh-pounding clumsiness.” Flesh-pounding clumsiness? That’s a late Saturday night after a drunken frat party, not an X-Men movie.
Leading up to and through its release, comic book fans vilified FOX and “Origins” director Gavin Hood for their portrayal of Wolverine and the assorted Marvel mutants bouncing and powering their way through the film. To quote a more beloved comic book movie adaptation, “Why so serious?” Just to be clear: These are super-heroes. Both Marvel and D.C. routinely piss all over their characters’ legacies and continuity on a monthly basis, so how bad can it be if Hollywood creates their own vision and follows it in such a way as to bring people to the local cineplex? The original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby X-Men stories won’t be desecrated by FOX’s four adaptations of X-lore. The legendary Claremont and Byrne books from the late 70s/early 80s will still carry their weight. Say it with me…it’s just a movie.
So how was the movie in question? Entertaining at the very least. It wasn’t “Iron Man” great, but it also wasn’t “Catwoman” awful. Yes, there were a few forced maudlin moments with Logan’s true love (but wait–she holds a shocking secret!) which detracted from the symphony of carnage. And sure, the plot wasn’t any more complex than a Roy Thomas comic script from the Nixon era. And okay, the ending wasn’t a very satisfying climax (that’s what she said). However, there was plenty of four-color, man-on-man, claws-and-swords, fighting throughout. And Hugh Jackman was pretty good, too.
Additionally, the ancillary characters added to the story without getting in Wolverine’s way. Gambit was a blast. Deadpool was good and creepy, though he probably should’ve seen a little more screen time, if for no other reason than to justify the planned spin-off (silly).
I probably won’t watch “Wolverine” again; I’ve seen all I need to see. That said, it just wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe.