A few weeks back the powers that be at Fox were shook to their core when an advanced, nearly complete version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked out on the internet. They shouldn’t have worried, it turned into the best bit of advanced publicity the film could have received.
Instead of turning everyday moviegoers away from this first mutant prequel, many casual fans became virtually rabid. The ultimate kicker is they wanted to see the finalized version—the one with all the CGI effects in place--would look “on the big screen.”
So the question doesn’t become if this latest chapter in the cinematic X-Men mythos is a worthy apology for the previous mistake. That was a dead issue. The real question then becomes is the completed version of Wolverine, the one that will have all the huge bangs and screaming whistles, truly worth seeing on the big screen?
The answer is a qualified yes.
If the guys at Marvel Entertainment have bestowed the voice actor Steve Blum the job of the animated Logan “for life,” they really should think about tying Hugh Jackman for his live-action work. Yes, he’s a lankier, better looking and just plain taller than the comicdom’s #1 crazed Canuck. At the same time, when he finally lights an oversized cheroot and starts saying “bub,” one just can’t see anyone else in the role. Jackman wears his claws like a well-cut suit these days, and is all the better for it. Director Gavin Hood gives Jackman plenty of wonderfully explosive backdrops that frame Wolvie’s crazed killer side for maximum posterization.
Another worthy addition to the cast is that of Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit. The con man Cajun lays down the funky hustler motif with sweet cool and proper aplomb. In fact, overall the cast in general does solid work with every one of their individual roles. They do their job so well it almost makes you forget the flaws in this movie, and they are doozies.
This especially becomes apparent when you leave the theater and it dawns on one and all just how big a chump the scriptwriters turned our hero is. The facts are Hood as well as primary scriptwriter David Benioff and Skip Woods jumble and mix up a lot of X-Men history in putting this story together. On the plus side, unlike X-Men III, they concentrate on one story line, the origins of guess who. On the negative side, they do play so fast and loose with logic that the holes will hit you like a left hook from one a certain Fred Dukes on the car ride home. For instance, when one discovers the deception Kayla Firefox (Lynn Collins), Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), and Colonel Stryker play on our man, one has to wonder if our dear Logan is either a total idiot to fall for it or been puffing more than his trademark cigars. The only thing that saves it is Jackman plays that sequence with such passion it doesn’t really hit you until much later.
In other words, Jackman and company do a solid job of making you initially miss those errors. Hood packing the film with plenty of ultra-violence and a few truckloads of C-4 don’t hurt neither.
So getting back to the original question. Is Wolverine a solid enough an apology for X-Men United? Overall, yes. Are movie buffs who saw the leaked bootleg going to get their money’s worth? Considering they are not overall as critical as hardcore aficionados, they most certainly are, honest.
Still, overall, is this film worth seeing? As long as you don’t think about it. Think too much and you too will be howling in horror and disgust.