Every year, the summer movie season starts, well, in summer.
While the season has not officially started, summer blockbuster-like films are being released with little fanfare, such as Fast & Furious.
It marks the beginning of the pre-summer movie season. Summer movies are those films that are action-packed blockbusters, full of hype, that are released, back-to-back, within a few months.
Heaven help those films that don’t fall under those exact parameters. Those films, if they deign to make approximately $100 million, are called “sleeper hits” instead of really good films that audiences love watching.
Nowadays, a movie is nothing without a lot of hype and product placement. Sometimes, I think movie studios spend too much time on hype and not enough time on whether or not the film, let alone the story, is any good.
The latest installment of the pre-summer movie season is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I guess the X-Men could only unite, re-unite, die, and come back to life so many times before filmmakers needed to tell a different story, like how these X-Men (and women) came to be. If you ask me, Marvel Comics should have considered the females in the X-Men and come up with a different name; but there I go again being a feminist.
Wolverine is the origins of Logan, who calls himself Wolverine (played by People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive Hugh Jackman). Wolverine and his brother Victor/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) grew up in the late 19th Century in Canada. When they were boys, they found out that they had superhuman powers that made them into killing machines. Because of their invincible-ness, Logan and Victor decide to go into the army and fight the Civil War, World War I & II, and the Vietnam War for “their country,” also known as the United States. After the pair retires from war, they link up with a group of other mutants for a time, but the group (and the brothers) disbands because of its a-moral habits. Six years later, the evil leader of the group, Stryker (Danny Huston), has created an indestructible metal that he injects into Wolverine’s body to replace his bones.
First and foremost, the plot of the film is forgettably weak. Screenwriters David Benioff and Skip Woods could have come up with a more interesting origins storyline. The point of the film was to show how Wolverine became the brooding mutant he is in present day. They almost achieved this feat, but forgot to make sure their plot was interesting, or even good. Director Gavin Hood, who was quite excited to direct this latest X-Men, had his hands full, and plenty of people watching him. Twentieth Century Fox needs to keep the X-Men franchise alive and kicking to help keep itself afloat.
Speaking of kicking, there was way too much violence in this film. I know it’s Wolverine, but there were a lot of children in the audience this weekend. I was surprised at its PG-13 rating. The amount of killings, harsh fight scenes, and the one beheading are enough to make anyone take pause.
As far as acting, I’m sure Jackman had a fun time growing out his beard and affecting that wolf-like do. He was nice to watch on screen, like a younger, long-legged John Wayne. Schreiber as his crazy older half-brother, Victor, is scary. I would not want to mess with him. His sinister performance hearkens back to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker.
Lynn Collins, who plays Kayla Silverfox, is decent. I didn’t, though, see the love or chemistry between Wolverine and Kayla that I would have liked to see. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that the two of them had such a strong, loving relationship. Will.i.am is surprisingly decent as John Wraith and Spectre, the disappearing black man, but he makes enough of an impact in the film to be memorable. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool. He is the comic relief in the beginning of the film and the source of awe at the end. The make-up alone is pretty scary.
All in all, X-Men was hyped so much before its release that I expected a lot more from the film than I got. My expectations were too high. The only people who will enjoy this film are the die-hard X-Men fans who love Wolverine. Without all of that love for the X-Men franchise and its characters, Wolverine would not be worth the $10 moviegoers pay to see it.
Sometimes, it’s better to rent.