Elaine at the movies: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Elaine Blum

After the disappointing final chapter of the “X-Men” trilogy, I was dubious as to whether or not milking the same cash cow was such a great idea. Without a compelling storyline, all those fight scenes and blowing things up can get a little redundant. However, this flick was certainly better than “The Last Stand” and definitely was worth all $6.50 to see it on the big screen.
In addition to the special effects essential to any action film, the “X-Men” series easily impresses audiences by showcasing new mutants’ talents. What keeps those potentially redundant fight scenes interesting is that this series has a multitude of characters and powers to choose from. Audiences delight in witnessing how new powers match up and play off of one another.
“Origins” does well to host several new characters in addition to some familiar faces. Returning characters include Logan/Wolverine, Victor/Sabretooth, and William Striker. True, audiences thrill in finally discovering why Logan has an adamantium skeleton, why he cannot remember much of his past, and why Striker knows him.
However, demonstrations of Logan’s powers alone cannot carry the film, because fans are already familiar with them. We have seen him rapidly heal multiple gashes and even pop a bullet out of his head. Of course, these feats need to be part of the film, but new mutants and new powers can actually surprise viewers.
Audiences especially delight in the long-anticipated inclusion of Gambit and Wade Wilson, who had been excluded from the original trilogy. Gambit provides an impressive show of his skill with a deck of cards and ability to manipulate kinetic energy.
Ryan Reynolds plays the jokester, sword-wielding Wade Wilson. I know, at first glance, holding a sword pales in comparison to Wolverine, who has built-in weapons coming out of his forearms.
And, to avoid ruining one of the great scenes of the film – even if it does appear within the first 20 minutes – I will say only that once unleashed, Reynolds wields one of the coolest powers of the film.
Disappointingly, though, this is the only scene in which we are entreated to Wade wielding his swords and making wise-cracks. The formulation is hilarious! Why did the “X-Men” producers not utilize it more instead of the repetitive fight scenes between Wolverine and Victor/Sabretooth?
We get it, when those two face off, it results in a cat fight between two really durable kitties. I know that Wolverine is the title character, but the film could have benefitted from showcasing other intriguing characters more.
Though there are things to gripe about, I want to stress that this film should be seen on the big screen. Sure, the film includes perhaps a few too many twists within twists. And yes, “X-Men” fans may be disappointed if their favorite character does not receive enough time in the limelight. However, all of the fight scenes are impressive and often surprising display of how the mutants’ powers compete with one another.
Already there is talk of sequels. The comic book franchise never produces just one movie per superhero, even though many of these films would do better to leave well enough alone. The original blew audiences out of the water, so producers made another. “X2” met with resounding success, so they finished out the trilogy with a flop.
If producers want to continue milking the “X-Men” franchise, I support continuing with plans for “X-Men Origins: Magneto,” which has a tentative release date in 2011. However, I sincerely hope that there will be no “Wolverine” sequel. “Origins” explains Wolverine’s entire history. There is no need to wedge a sequel between the end of this film and the beginning of the original trilogy.