X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - 2-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Fantasy / Special Interest
Fox || PG13 - 107 minutes - $34.98 || September 15, 2009
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2009-09-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Gavin Hood
Writer(s): David Benioff and Skip Woods (screenplay)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will i Am, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds


Theatrical Release Date: May 1, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

I'm a huge X-Men fan and have been the vast majority of my 26 years on this planet. We've been there in other reviews (see my X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand reviews for this site)... There's not a major reason to go there again. But I will comment slightly on the films by saying that (for the most part) I loved the first 3. First one was good and a dream come true to watch, second was excellant in nearly every way and the third, while flawed, I still found highly enjoyable.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an entirely different animal. Although I would've vastly preferred an 4th X-men film to this, a solo Wolverine flick is not without its prospects. Here we follow James Howlett/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman who continues to commit 110 percent to this role and character) from the first time he pops his claws as a boy alongside his brother Victor/Sabretooth(a slimy Liev Schreiber taking over for the role from the first X-men film's Tyler Mane) to the duo taking part in various Wars(the civil war, World War I and II, and a few other major skirmishes) to the time where the brothers spent time as mercenaries under William Stryker(Danny Huston playing a young Brian Cox in a way). This team of mercenaries also included Wraith (Will I Am), Fred Dukes/The Blob (Kevin Durrand), Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), and Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). Wolverine eventually decides that Stryker and his mercenaries are going too far and he quits living a quiet log cabin life with this new girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lyn Collins). But after Victor reappears in Wolverine's life, tragedy occurs and Wolverine ends up on a hunt for revenge.

On the surface, the film is what a Wolverine film should be. It contains his backstory with Silverfox, Sabretooth and the Weapon X program and it even manages to shoehorn in various X-characters to varying degrees of success (including Taylor Kitsch as long clamored for by fans X-men member, Gambit). But other than just basic requiresments, it's not much to write home about. The biggest problem by far is that I never felt Wolverine's pain was real enough. As much as Jackman and Collins try, their relationship is written to be very compelling and I never felt they were a real couple. That in turn is problematic because it makes Wolverine's revenge quest hard to swallow. Also problematic is that we never feel that Wolverine is that much of an "animal" despite being referred to as such throughout the film and by various characters in the previous films.

Another major problem is the treatment of the supporting characters. I love Gambit but his part could have literally been ANY x-men character. Other X-men characters appear for little to no reason as well (Cyclops, Emma Frost, and a couple more) and then disappear. Most of them were all interchangeable. Blob could've been Omega Red or Avalanche or any other number of other x-villains and it felt very much like this was kind of just a hodgepodge of characters thrown around.

The action and FX are not great for a film of this magnitude. Wolverine's claws look terrible at times which is confounding since they look so good in the first 3. The green screen explosions contain little excitement and the final fight between Wolverine, Victor, and Weapon XI is a downer with its cheesy pieces peppered in.

Ryan Reynolds is great as Deadpool and shows he really could carry that oft rumored spinoff film and Taylor Kitsch is every bit what I felt Gambit should be in look, mannerisms, the whole 9. Liev Schreiber is also excellent as Sabretooth and I think it would've been great to have seen him in the first x-men film. Finally, Hugh Jackman is still good at playing Wolverine. My only problem with this performance is that if Wolverine is supposed to be so "hard" during this time period, why is he softer here than in any other X-film? This is supposed to be a prequel.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn't really a bad film; it's just a mediocre one that feels kind of phoned in. Could've been worse but it also could've been far better.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Audio Commentary by Gavin Hood and another audio commentary by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter Both commentaries are good and somewhat revealing. Donner and Winter talk a lot about the genesis of the way certain scenes play out and are more upbeat than I expected. Hood is also nice to listen to but I feel like he was holding back to an extent which was even more evident in the deleted scenes (more on that in a minute).

The Roots of Wolverine with Stan Lee and Len Wein was a very cool interview/discussion between Wolverine creator Len Wein and X-men co-creator Stan Lee. I love Stan Lee. He's very genuine and honest and speaks with a large modicum of enthusiasm about these characters. Len is more reserved but still fun to hear. Probably the most entertaining feature on the set.

Wolverine Unleashed is a 10 minute doc about the making of the movie that spends a lot of time interviewing Hugh Jackman about where he feels this film goes as opposed to the others and details a little of how Jackman got into shape again for the role.

3 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Gavin Hood isn't my favorite part of the set but it's the most controversial for me. The first scene was indeed unneeded and the alternate ending is equally useless. The real meat and potatoes is the middle scene which radically alters the film's climax in relation to Wolverine's memories and it works about 10x better than what we got in the finished film. What makes is more confounding is that Hood appears to actually prefer this version too and you can't help but wonder how much this film was tampered with by the higher ups.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

This is a very good looking disc and the sound rocked my socks. I would even say it ended up looking better on disc than X-Men: The Last Stand (which looked damned good). Of course, my disc has the Fox watermarked so once final product comes in, I will amend this review.



.::OVERALL::.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is sadly just okay and is a step-down in the film series but it's still one that I can recommend to fans as all the basics of this story are here and complete. The features on the DVD are good enough but compared to the Blu-ray, it's missing some major behind the scenes stuff. Wolverine is worth a purchase but don't expect it to be a frequent spin.