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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

(PG-13) 107 mins

Synopsis: After seeking to live a normal life, Logan sets out to avenge the death of his girlfriend by undergoing the mutant Weapon X program and becoming Wolverine.

Director: Gavin Hood

Writers: David Benioff (screenplay), Skip Woods (screenplay)

Stars: Hugh JackmanLiev Schreiber and Ryan Reynolds 

Serious Jest:  (Free-View)

Let me start with this disclaimer: This one was extremely hard for me to rate because I used to collect comic books, “The Uncanny X-Men” was my favorite title (I still own the original X-Men #1), and Wolverine was, by far, my favorite character.  Going into this, I knew I was going to spend most of the movie agonizing over the changes to the history of the character, and generally second-guessing everything that the movie did that wasn’t “true” to the Marvel Comics universe.

Moreover, as I stopped collecting comics, I also generally became more knowledgeable about the real world, and I started realizing that, while I am willing to accept certain deviations from “reality” if the movie purposefully sets those parameters (i.e., I had no problem with “The Invention of Lying” being set in a world where people hadn’t discovered lying), my pet peeve, at least for professional projects, is when writers tell me a story that is impossible or doesn’t make sense simply because they didn’t fully do their research (i.e., the Marines in “A Few Good Men” being convicted of Conduct Unbecoming a Marine, a military crime that does not actually exist).  With the X-Men movies, I have been forced to reconcile the love I had as a youngster for the wonderful-but-far-fetched world of comics, with my older self’s better understanding of subjects more grounded in reality, like biology and physics.  Also, let’s face it: drawing an amazing mutant battle with death rays and explosions in a comic book is significantly easier than trying to recreate that event with real actors and special effects on film.

All that being said, for every time I caught myself thinking that the filmmakers were bastardizing the character, I also found myself pretty impressed with the special effects, stunts, and even acting (I really like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, even though he’s too tall for the role, in my opinion–the real Wolverine is 5’2 with a mean Napoleon complex, and it kinda shapes who he is).  If you are not familiar with Wolverine, or are willing to let this movie take the character on with a clean slate, you may find this to be worth 4 beer mugs.  For myself, this movie entertained me enough so that I almost got past my biases enough to give it 4 beers, but there were enough cliché scenes with Wolverine riding motorcycles or walking away from huge explosions to allow me to keep snobby with 3 mugs.

CraigMakk: animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Don’t Bother)

Let me start with this disclaimer: This one was extremely easy for me to rate, even though I am the only one who currently reads comics books. This was a near-terrible movie, in almost every conceivable way. The way this movie dealt with much of the Wolverine and Deadpool lore was egregious and embarrassing, and most likely the work of someone who has never even picked up the actual comics even once. And for those who have never read the comics, this is a reasonably bad special-effects-laden sack of shit that never liven up to the potential that it was handed. This is all without mentioning that Hugh Jackman, by this point in the movie series, is a terrible representation of one of the most-loved comic book characters of all time. One of my biggest pet peeves is when movie makers take an established story and make it worse by changing things…if you have a better idea, try something novel on for size AND MAKE YOUR OWN MOVIE!!! If you are going to base it on an existing property, here’s an apparently even more novel idea….FOLLOW THE EXISTING PROPERTY!!! I hate people who take a property that has been around for years and think they can make it better by changing everything. Can you imagine if someone made a movie where Gatsby didn’t get shot at the end? Or a world where Frodo doesn’t have the strength to destroy the One Ring? Or how about a future where Winston doesn’t come to learn he actually loves Big Brother?? That is what this abomination of a movie tries to do. Trust me, for all intents and purposes, this movie sucks…don’t even bother. What’s even worse, I love Ryan Reynolds! And I STILL hate this movie!

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About Serious Jest

Film & TV Reviewer by Choice, Attorney at Law, Marine to the Corps (excuse the pun), Nupe Under Pressure, and MC by Nature

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