Eye For Film >> Movies >> X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) Film Review
What do you want from an action movie: jaw dropping action sequences, spectacular and inventive; sharp, witty dialogue and charismatic acting; stunning special effects; an edge of your seat plot that twists like a corkscrew? If those are the things you want then X-Men Origins: Wolverine will disappoint. This film seems unfinished. Particularly the special effects and the clunky changes between footage shot in different locations. You can tell which parts were filmed in New Zealand. The CGI effects often seem stuck on top of the film. Wolverine's claws don't have the correct shadows or reflections, explosions don't always light the environment. Ray Harryhausen could get this sort of thing right with stop motion. Sometimes effects just look silly like Wolverine, thrown from an explosion, flying towards a helicopter while breaking every rule of Newtonian Physics.
Parts of the movie are laughably bad, from Young Wolverine killing his real father to Sabretooth giant hamster attack style. This is compounded by hammy acting. The script doesn't help the film either. It is without depth, imagination or intentional wit where it has to be sharp, funny and fast.
A action movie has to hold a pace that allows your belief to remain suspended. This film often uses slow motion to show off a special effect which breaks the rhythm. In most cases there seems to be no dramatic or artistic reason for doing this. Another thing that slows the film is the use of flashbacks. Reshowing you footage that you have already seen doesn't really add anything to your understanding of a linear plot or shallow characters. It is just boring. When it's a long montage it's really boring.
The narrative is fairly simple. All the characters play to stereotypes. Good guy, bad soldier, girlfriend etc. Often characters do things without logical motivation. Rather they do what is necessary for the advancement of plot. The plot breaks continuity with the other X-Men films and with itself. You are left wondering things like why Wolverine couldn't smell that chemical on his dead girlfriend when he could smell Sabretooth from a mile away. If you read the comics you are probably used to shaky continuity but it shouldn't be this way in a film. The one twist in the plot comes right out of the blue to bring a simple resolution to the plot. The film finally ends with a badly CGIed Patrick Stewart Deus Xavier. And then you ask “Why didn't Dr. X intervene in the finale?”
One part of the film deserves note. The title sequence shows Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting side by side in America's wars, Civil to Vietnam. It is fast paced, genuinely exciting and full of references to important war films. It's a shame that the rest of the film is not of the same quality.Reviewed on: 01 May 2009