Written by: Dan Geer
It seems like this film is getting a lot of crap from a lot of critics out there. Now, while I don’t feel like this is the greatest film it could have been, I really walked out of the theater surprised. I liked more than I thought I was going to. Maybe I’m just a little more easy-going when it comes to popcorn movies, but I really enjoyed it…
…well, at least half of it.
Let me just put this out there: This is not a perfect film by any means. It’s not even a near-perfect film. It’s an okay fun summer movie. It could have been more, but it is entertaining for what it is. On the surface, it is a highly entertaining sci-fi/action film. Someone knew what they were doing when choreographing the action sequences.
Also, Wolverine’s story was superb for the most part, particularly with the whole dynamic between him and his half-brother Victor Creed – also known as Sabertooth. I loved this aspect of the movie! The drama was there, and it was believable. Both Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber did an incredible job. I even enjoyed what we did see of the love story between Wolverine and Kayla Silverfox. Lastly, I was so happy that they didn’t ignore the character of Stryker and his whole role in Wolverine’s story. I didn’t remember seeing his character at all in the trailers, so I was a little worried that they were just going to ignore everything that was established in X2, which is my absolute favorite X-Men movie. I’ve pretty much remained spoiler-free for this movie.
But the problem is that since this movie had to try and remain true to the comic books, at least on a basic level to please the fans, it had to include all sorts of other mutants like Deadpool, Bolt, Agent Zero, Blob, etc. Now, I’ve never read the comics and don’t know exactly how Wolverine’s backstory is depicted in the literature. But from what I understand, it is pretty close to the comics in some ways. Perhaps “loosely based” is the term. So I get that they had to include them. But on a film-making level, the story could have operated just fine without any of these extra characters after the beginning of the film establishes them as a part of Wolverine’s background with Stryker’s team of militant Mutants (Team X). They were not needed after that. But since they did more than they should have with them, and also included other mutants like Gambit, it tends to cram the movie with stuff that, I think, takes away from Wolverine’s story. Basically, whenever a new mutant shows up, they have to spend time showing off their abilities because they’re just so darn cool.
If this were an X-Men movie, I might be more forgiving of these scenes taking up screen time, because it’s not just one person’s story. But because this is a Wolverine movie, there really shouldn’t be this much time spent on showing off what other mutants can do. Because they did that in this film, it makes it seem like there should be more dealing with these extra mutants. They now seem like main characters because so much focus was given to them. They are main characters in the comics, but not for Wolverine’s story specifically. Now, we’re left wanting more than we should out of these extra characters for this particular film.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved Deadpool. I loved Gambit. I loved pretty much all the mutants in this movie. They all had some great scenes. However, it is because of these scenes that it really just takes screen time away from Wolverine and his development. Notice how little time was spend with the Weapon X program and Wolverine’s adamantium procedure, for example. That scene could’ve been longer and more dramatic, but it was over and done with very quickly. I liked what was shown, but I wanted more. Same thing with the love story. I liked what I saw, but there wasn’t enough.
Now, I realize that some of the story’s concentration on other mutants may be setting up for future Wolverine movies, or perhaps spin-offs for other mutant characters. Perhaps in a sequel, Gambit would be as important as Sabertooth was in this film (many of these mutants have decades of comic history behind them). But right now, it doesn’t really appear any more than just cool mutants having more screen time then they actually should have.
Bottom line is that, from a story-telling perspective, Sabertooth, Stryker and Silverfox should have been the only other important characters in Wolverine’s story. From a geek perspective, however, it was really cool to see these other mutants do their thing. I enjoyed it quite a bit. But with X-Men: The Last Stand having the problem of too many mutants, I would think that a Wolverine story wouldn’t have that problem. But somehow this movie suffers from it.
Rating: (Out of four)
On a side note, there was no reason to change Wolverine’s story so that adamantium bullets somehow inexplicably take away his memory if fired into his head. Apparently in the comics, he simply goes insane after the procedure and can’t remember anything. There was no need to include this plot element. It made no sense.
On another side note, make sure to stay to the very end of the credits. Depending on which ending you get, it may boost your opinion of the movie positively (or negatively).