Wednesday, April 29, 2009
X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie Review
Once you leave the spirit world you can never come back...
I'm not going to write too much about this flick and I recommend you steer clear of reviews that run through the plot too much, because part of the thrill in Origins is the roller coaster the story takes you on.
All you need to know is that I've seen it twice and it works. It has a lot of mutants in it - something I somehow didn't suspect since the title suggests that it's really the story of Wolverine. Well, it is and it isn't. The heart of this flick is about a bond that exists between two brothers, two almost indestructible warriors. Liev Schreiber steals the show, some have suggested. Yes, he puts in a great performance.
Anaesthesia won't work on him...
Hugh Jackman, who produced Wolverine, also put Hugh Jackman the actor through his paces. It's Jackman's best performance, and he acknowledges that in all his earlier incarnations he wasn't 100% happy with the results. You see him here looking in the shape of his life, and this didn't come cheap. Jackman claims he was able to "lift twenty percent harder, heavier and longer [in the gym] as Wolverine" - by staying in character. He brings a lot of emotional commitment to this flick, possibly because - for the first time - Jackman himself has become completely aware of the mythos behind this character. You may be surprised too, to learn that Wolverine has been around for some 150 years, and has accumulated a lot of trauma. There aren't too many movies that acknowledge high levels of trauma [pain] in their heroes. Highlander was one. Batman, to some extent, is another. Wolverine takes the haunted, powerful man mythos even further, and it's a fascinating ride.
This is your idea of an idea?
Jackman's mission for Origins was simply this: Exceed Expectations.
Director Gavin Hood, who admits to not being a comic book nut may not seem the logical choice for an unforgiving fan base. A man of classical tastes (Hood points out that some of the first superheroes in the human cultural archive came to us in Greek Mythology - the likes of Zeus and Poseidon), Hood delivers a mythic Wolverine: he takes us on a raw, visceral journey through some beautiful scenery. No, not Canada, but the New Zealand woodlands easily pass off as the Canadian wilderness.
There's no redemption where I am going...
What I enjoyed about this flick was its sheer masculinity. The proponents of this film are all intensely masculine, and charming, themselves. Schreiber, Jackman and even Gavin Hood himself, a man I interviewed a few days ago. The Wolverine mythos delves into all those things that young boys and men fixate upon - a man on his own finding his own way, wars, blood, physical work, fighting, strength, sweating in nature, rivalry and loyalty, love and betrayal. Perhaps more than anything else, Wolverine taps into the raw nerve of rage - something men and women alike may feel more sympathetic to in Wolverine than they expected.
Jackman had seen Hood capture this sense of inner conflict in Hood's Academy Award winning South African production, Tsotsi, and felt that Hood was the man to delve into Logan's inner turmoil.
Origins is filled with themes, from rebirth, to revenge. The package is cohesive, the script (from the pen of David Benioff) taught and riveting, the cast exceptional and the scenes carefully crafted and well executed. Jackman and his team have set a high standard and met them. They exceeded my expectations. Wolverine will probably punch you unexpectedly in the gut too.
Warning: This video contains spoilers.
Labels: X-Men Origins: Movie Review