Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dart Adams presents The Dartflix Film Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine AKA Please Don't Fuck This Up! *Spoiler Alert!*

Okay people, let's cut through the bullshit. There have been three previous X-Men related films and they have gotten exponentially worse. Each film gets cheesier and gets further away from the original source material that X-Men fans know and love. The screenwriter seems to find new ways to completely butcher the X-Men's storylines, histories and characters with each new release. It's almost as if they're trying to purposely rip the soul out of each X-Men character a fan would know and love. None of the X-Men are recognizable on the silver screen...the one they managed to come closest to was Wolverine (but they still got him wrong in many respects). The average movie fan doesn't care...they never read an X-Men comic. They probably caught the cartoon as kids so they wouldn't understand why I'd even write this blog. Well let me explain it to you.

I've been reading since 1978, I read everything I could get my 3 year old hands on including my brother and his friends' comic books. I read " The Spectacular Spider-Man", "Daredevil", "Iron Man", "Fantastic Four", "The Avengers" and a gang of other titles but the one that stood out to me was "The Uncanny X-Men". I brought them to my big brother David who was 6 years older than me and asked him what was going on in them. A lot of the concepts were so deep and adult he had to go ask my mother to explain them. I grew up reading "X-Men" and watching serious movies thanks to my weekend trips to my Dad's so I developed a diffrent idea for what standard to hold written media and films to than most other kids. Do me a favor, non-believers. Go to your local bookstore and read as much of the X-Men graphic novel "God Loves, Man Kills" as you can. That should give you an idea of what the X-Men comic book was about even back in the days. That was 1982, mind you so why are the films so damn crappy and watered down?

Either way, this film is supposed to tell the back story of the man we know as Logan AKA Wolverine. The biggest problem with retelling Wolverine's long and sordid history that involves multiple continents, hundreds of characters and a gang of dead girlfriends and pals spanning more than 150 years in one two hour film when it took more than 25 years (the 1st Wolverine 4 issue mini-series debuted in 1982, his first solo title began in 1988 and the Weapon X & Wolverine: Origins titles started in 1995 and were revisited in 2001 & 2005) and about 5 or 6 different full title runs to tell the entire tale in the first place. Certain thing HAVE to get omitted, that's common sense (i.e. Wolverine's work with the CIA in WWII alongside Captain America and several other operatives). They had him running with his brother Victor Creed AKA Sabertooth until Vietnam instead, it's THEN that Logan (or James) and Victor are first approached by Department H's Stryker to join Team X.

Let's deal with Team X for a second, shall we? We have Ryan Reynolds playing one of the greatest comic book characters of all time in Deadpool (whom the writers decided to really throw under the bus by completely gutting his fantastic backstory and smashing Team X & Weapon X together). They've replaced Mastodon with Fred Dukes AKA The Blob (who was nowhere near this story as he was a kid in Texas around this time). Silver Fox (Kayla in the film) was a member of Team X alongside Wolverine and his other teammates that included Agent Zero in his original guise as Maverick (they changed his ethnicity and butchered his backstory along with his pal Bolt's). Why fuck with so many completely unrelated character's continuities and needlessly intertwine them? It makes NO sense at all to me. Let's look past all this fuckery, shall we?

A mission occurs in Africa where Stryker wants something from somewhere and during that mission Logan decides that he wants to leave Team X and Department H actually happened in East Germany but that's neither here nor there. His brother Victor sticks around and becomes the leader of Team X as well as more feral and out of control as time passes. Logan settles into a quiet life in Canada with an Olivia Munn look alike, a Blackfoot Indian school teacher named Kayla. He tells her all about his past with Team X and Stryker. It turns out later that Kayla is a mutant with powers of persuasion...problem is that Silver Fox was a trained assassin and weapons master with a healing factor, not a mutant. This makes no sense why they'd feel the need to completely rewrite this story and add in needless elements. It was fine the way it was already, go with it!

The one aspect of the story that they did stick with was that Team X eventually disbanded and yes Creed AKA Sabretooth did kill several of his former teammates. The way they went about doing it was so weird and convoluted that anyone that's been reading X-Men/Wolverine comics would get a tension headache between 30-45 minutes into this film wondering what the hell the original screenwriter was thinking by mashing up the continuity of all these characters? After he thought Creed killed Silver Fox, Logan did volunteer for the Weapon X program and get adamantium bonded to his skeleton. He also did break out of the facility afterwards and Agent Zero was sent after him (Agent Zero wasn't merked by Logan, though!). Logan also did get taken in by the Hudson's (James & Heather) and they went on to start the Alpha Flight program with Canada's Department H and recruit him later on...but these McDonald's are old people that get merked by Agent Zero? Alpha Flight? Wouldn't THAT at least make sense?

Instead, what happened was Logan went searching for his old squad members to get answers and figure out where Victor is since Stryker and the doctors gave him his adamantium skeleton to kill Sabretooth and get revenge for Kayla. He discovers from John Wraith (Kestrel) and Fred Dukes (why is he even in this movie?) that Creed and Stryker have been working together gathering mutants and taking them to a compound called the island. Kestrel and Dukes were involved in capturing them as well so Stryker's medical staff could do experiments on them. There are a bunch of young mutants of indetermined identity locked up there (including a set of female twins that aren't Aurora and Northstar (?), a young blond girl that can't possibly be Emma Frost (can she?) and a young Scott Summers)

The lone mutant that's ever escaped from The Island's name is Remy Lebeau AKA Gambit...only he wasn't. Why is Gambit even here? What the hell does he have to do with Wolverine's back story? There wasn't a better/easier way to write him in a previous film? Or even THIS one? Whatever man. They did get one thing right when Sabretooth rips John Wraith's spine out during a fight but then Wolverine scraps with Sabretooth and Gambit (who shouldn't be here). Afterwards, Wolverine "convinces" Gambit to take him to The Island. The Island, turns out to be Three Mile Island and Wolverine discovers that Kayla is alive and was working for Stryker all along to monitor him. Kayla is saved by Logan before Creed could snap her neck and asks him to save her sister with "diamond hard skin" that Stryker and Creed are holding. Their collective powers have been pooled into Wade Wilson's body (the perfect soldier if he'd just shut up) taken away his mouth named him "Deadpool" AKA Weapon XI. Bad, Bad writing.

Now we have a bunch of random mutants, two characters that are in NO WAY related in the Marvel Universe or X-Men lore inexplicably being sisters (Silver Fox may be as old as Logan herself and is a Blackfoot Indian from Canada that's not a mutant. Emma Frost is a rich White girl from Boston, MA and an empath/psychic...explain that one!) and Deadpool has been given a gang of powers he never had and had his mouth covered. Deadpool is "the merc with a mouth" for God's sake! Had they just had Wolverine and Creed fight Wade after they gave him Wolverine's healing factor that would've made so much more sense. This final fight was just Hollywood cheesy for the sake of cool SFX and CGI. Plus why the hell didn't "Emma" hear Charles Xavier when he was speaking empathically? She's a damn empath! Only Scott could hear? Who wrote this shit?

I'm not going to get into the method they used to explain why Wolverine doesn't remember anything because the simple explanation of repeated memory wipes from different agents/doctors/adversaries over the years would just make too much sense. Seeing Gambit be the one that saves him from the wreckage or try to understand who the hell the twins, that blond girl who was Kayla's sister or ANY of those kids were was beyond me. I also couldn't understand why they gave Silver Fox powers or made her a mutant. They unnecessarily butchered the source material to make this clusterfuck of a film. It will more than likely become a blockerbuster hit but X-Men fans and Wolverine fans will be asking questions for the forseeable future about why and how did they fuck up yet another X-Men movie so badly? How do you plan on making that Deadpool movie now, Marvel Studios?

Yes, that WAS supposed to be Emma Frost. Why even put an 8 year old Ororo Munroe in this film as a "cameo"? The thinking behind cameos is that it's a tool to appease the fanboys/fangirls in the audience. All this film did was what the three previous X-Men films did...piss off fans of the source material and make them wonder if Hollywood even respects the medium of comic book writing at all? If I read graphic novels that stand alone and are well written and all you need to do is omit, mashup and keep the best storylines, elements and characters from more than 25 years of them and fit it all into a 2 hour film. Why would you go out of your way to make your job HARDER when you already have such great material at your disposal? Why? If you don't stay true to the essence of what you're adapting then why make the goddamn film in the first place?

In conclusion, if you've never read an X-Men/Wolverine or X-Men title in your entire life and have NO interest in comic books or comic book film and don't care to learn more then this movie will kick ass to you. It will not make you want to hit/kick/throw things because some of the best writing of the past quarter century is being pissed on with each passing minute that the film airs. You won't be irate because characters that you've waited years to see on the big screen are finally there but they are watered down versions of themselves with no soul. You'll be completely oblivious to everything that's wrong with this film. This rant was Only Built 4 Fanboys & Fangirls. I have no allegiance to anyone. I'm not getting paid so I have no reason to lie. Just my opinion.


1 comment:

M.Z. said...

Tell'em why you mad Dart, lol.

Ever since I read Jurassic Park in the 5th grade and saw the movie 3-4 years later, I knew studios were on some bs.

So I feel where your coming from & you got me tempted to read that X-Men.