Sunday, May 3, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

There is something about mutton-chops on a mutant character that indicates something extra special. X-Men Origins: Woleverine gives us not one, but two mutton-chopped mutants to enjoy. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is joined by his furry faced brother, Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber in the latest installment in the X-Men film series.

X-Men Origins: Woleverine takes us back to the 1800s, where Wolverine first discovers his mutant gift in a tragic misunderstanding. Immediately following his discovery that he is mutant, Wolverine and Sabretooth take off into the woods. At this point we are hurdled forward through time, as we witness the two brothers fighting in every major engagement of the modern era. As the two hone their skills on the battlefield, we notice a difference emerging between the two. Wolverine has a moral compass that seems to guide his actions, while Sabretooth enjoys killing a bit too much.

After working on a special government project, Wolverine eventually parts ways with his brother, opting for the quiet life of a lumberjack in the Canadian mountains. The rugged lifestyle seems to be paradise until Wolverine's world is turned upside down in a series of carefully orchestrated events. In the process of watching these events unfold, we gain insight into Wolverine's background. This insight explains a great deal about what makes our indestructible morally pure renegade mutant tick.

The plot in X-Men Origins: Woleverine contains carefully constructed plot turns that keep you guessing. Writers David Benioff and Skip Woods formulated an interesting back story for Wolverine that both explain his personality traits while remaining true to the character. That is not to say that the film mirrors the comic book...I'm not certain that it does...but the writing seems to remain true to the characteristics created by the comic book. There did not seem to be any inconsistencies in the writing. The dialogue was a bit less impressive. There were times when the script was too predictable. Everyone loves a good one-liner...but there were a couple in this film that were way too obvious. I don't like it when I say the next line before the actor more than once in a film. I did it three or four times in X-Men Origins: Woleverine. That's a bit much. An entertaining and interesting plot were dumbed down just a bit by the short-cuts taken with the dialogue.

The special effects in X-Men Origins: Woleverine were in keeping with the standard I've come to expect from the series. Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle will appreciate the impossibility of some of the action scenes involving Wolverine's bike. There is no way he could have kept that bike up in some of the scenes, one of which has Wolverine bouncing sideways down a hill without dropping the beast of a bike. Yet the special effects were convincing to me. I bought off on the effect in spite of the impossibility. The seamless special effects made it believable. That was a small effect. There were great big ones, too. Everything from monster explosions to gravity defying fight scenes contained the visual continuity to make them credible. The film provides opportunities to showcase several special abilities and even gives us a fun scene involving a fat-man suit. The special effects were exceptional.

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