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Old 04-29-2009, 10:59 AM   #60
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Default Re: Rate and Review X-Men Origins: Wolverine!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Kanon review

"The show is never over for us"

X-Men Origins: Wolverine wisely chooses which characteristic choose from the comics to assemble his own story of tragedy and action, with an interesting balance of references and original material.

As an adaptation, the movie must be seen, as with previous X-Men movies, as a new version, based on the comics, but to a basic level of premises, distinctive likeness of the characters and their motivations, etc. Hardcore fans (or maybe not that hardcore) are going to cry in pain for many, many things, but those who can accept the liberties taken to create this new story, are going to enjoy and recognize the likeness of the original Logan, Sabretooth, Wade Wilson, Silverfox and their relationships in their new incarnations.

The casual moviegoer might be disappointed when not finding a similar theme that the one of the X-Men trilogy, if that is what he looks for. This is because that difference of concept is inherited from the source material. Just like in the comics, X-Men is an story about racism, discrimination, and an analogy about personal changes while growing up. Wolverine, on the other hand, is the story of a man looking for peace, but constantly haunted by his inner demons and ghosts from the past.

The story begins in Canada, in the 19th century. A sick boy witness the murder of his father, and in the trauma, reveals bone claws coming from his backhands and stabs the killer. Before he dies, he reveals himself as his true father. In panic, the boy flees followed by his friend Victor, son of the murderer and therefore, his brother, and they swear to stick together and look up for each other. Then, they stick together for several years, and fight side-by-side in several wars, while they discover they share animal instincts, acute senses, the ability to survive mortal wounds, and unnatural longevity. They fight in the American Civil War, both World War (Battle of Normandy included) and Vietnam. During those years, Victor behavior becomes more and more oriented towards violence, enjoying it, which worries James. In 'Nam, Victor tries to rape a girl, and James tries to stop him, but when the rest of the soldiers attack Victor, he can't help side with his brother. In the battle, Victor kills a superior officer, and both are sentenced to death by firing squad. When the sentence fails to kill them, they are found by Major William Stryker, a military officer that offers to join his special team. James and Victor join the team, but Stryker methods soon make James quit, unlike Victor, with his killer instinct, who fits perfectly.

Six years later, James lives happy with a woman in a cabin in the Canadian Rockies, working as a lumberjack and calling himself Logan. Stryker finds him to tell him that someone is murdering members of the old team. James can't help to worry about Victor, who in a previous scene is revealed as the murderer. The next day, Logan picks up a familiar scent in the forest, sees a decapitated bear and claw marks in a tree, and realizes Victor is near. He runs back to his woman, but finds her death. Tracks down Victor to a bar and tries to avenge her, but after a brutal fight, is easily defeated. When he wakes up in the hospital, Stryker is there to offer him the ability to defeat Victor, and James agrees to be part of an experiment that will make him invincible. Since then, his struggle to find Victor begins, while he avoids Stryker's attempts to using him as his living weapon.

The story works very well in several ways. It doesn't have big holes, has great, vibrant action, with high levels of focused and collateral damage. It has a somewhat slow beginning, lacking intensity, but the plot picks up a lot by the second act, and from the first violent match between Logan and Creed, a party of claws and explosions begin.

Hugh Jackman once again embodies a great Wolverine, cornerstone tragic figure of Marvel Comics, doing what he does best: be destroyed, physically and emotionally, and then getting up looking for more. Liev Schreiber delivers a wonderful Victor Creed, sadistic, violent, direct, and with a very interesting sibling relationship with Logan: brother love, sickening hate, rivalry. Ryan Reynolds does a great job as the merc with a mouth Wade Wilson, delivering lines as well as with subtle gestures. Unfortunately, his character, on principle, has very little screentime. Kevin Duran,, Danny Houston, Dominic Monaghan and Taylor Kitsch also offer a more than good job.

On the low side, there are two major points to bring up: The plot suffer from moments of characters disappearing suddenly, or appear again. At times, long after they fulfilled they role in the story, or leaving for a while long enough to forget them while we focus on Wolverine, they appear, and it feels random. Wade is high fun to listen, and fear, but the plot puts him aside very soon, and then ask us to care again close to the ending. Something similar happens with Gambit: he arrives near the end of the game to do his job, and then, after a good while of providing his grain of sand and leaving, he appears to do a few more stuff.

The second point his the technical aspect: Special FX, wirework and, to a lesser extent, editing is far from top notch.
The digital effects are quite poor, even for those less demanding, who are going to note that something "is wrong". They may not know exactly what it is, but subtle differences in lightning on screen elements are going to give a subconscious red alert. Unfortunately, the production exaggerated when using computer rendered special effects, for things that, odd enough, could have been more easily filmed on set with real elements (for example, kids running in the forest towards an helicopter on the ground, clearly composed with green screen, and it shows). To be fair, coordination and teleport effects on Wraith are quite well done, surprisingly.

Wirework is irregular. Creed hardly looks convincing jumping on "four legs", and Agent Zero does an impossible jump (if you think about stuff like inertia or gravity) near the beginning, with risks taking the public out of the fantasy. Luckily, there are some acrobatic shoots of Creed and Wade that actually offer good results.

Editing and pacing has their problems too. In a moment, for example, a character that moments ago was knocked out, appears running from clearly a great distance, and gives a feeling that there are scenes missing in the middle. And the beginning of the film, with little James and Victor, feels rushed. On the bright side, this is compensated with an nice credits sequence, with good dynamic and transitions throughout the life of the characters.

In short, X-Men Origins is a movie to enjoy of good action and drama about a classic character, as long as you can stand the liberties taken about specific points of the source material. Those who liked the X-Men trilogy can enjoy nods to that saga, action in the same, or higher, dose than in The Last Stand, with a better use of characters and cameos, but not the same racial conflict or coming of age conflict. Wolverine is not about that, but about a tortured soul looking for peace, and ghost from the past that refuse to disappear.

Rating 8.5/10
Roughly translated from my original review, in spanish (sorry for any errors). If you are comfortable with spanish and want to read the original, you can find it here:

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