Wolverine: What He Does Ain’t Pretty


Despite leaking all over the internet and being widely panned by critics and internet scuttlebutt, the new Wolverine movie was a box office hit this past weekend. This is not at all surprising. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is a big draw; people don’t really care if the movie is good or not, just so long as they can watch Wolverine growling and slashing and saying ‘bub’. I suspect the leak had next to bugger all impact. The few thousand people who bothered to dowload an unfinished copy of the movie were exactly the sort of people who would go and see the movie anyway.

The reviews weren’t wrong. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a bad movie. It’s not X-Men: The Last Stand bad, but it is bad. Blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the writers, whose attempt to reverse-engineer an origin for the franchise’s most popular hero involves a skimpy un-plot strung together with a golden classics compendium of dialogue clichés.

Jackman is still good, of course. He can growl and chomp cigars and say “bub” like he was born to it. Ryan Reynolds is predictably entertaining as Wade Wilson, and Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit is so spot on that I want to see that Gambit movie now, please. (And I’m not just saying that because he’s hot, but if he weren’t hot, he wouldn’t be Gambit.) Daniel Henney’s role as the cool and beautiful Agent Zero will hopefully be the start of a long and wonderful career in silly action movies.


Beyond the pretty boys’ brigade, the performances are less convincing. As an actor, Will.I.Am makes a terrible rapper, while Liev Schreiber’s saucer face seems hopelessly ill-suited to the part of Sabertooth, and making him do those silly cat leaps was a mistake. I came to regard him as a supervillain version of Nermal, the World’s Cutest Kitten. Danny Huston is a dependable rogue, of course, but the man deserved a meatier part to get his teeth into.

It’s also rather important, in a big special effects blockbuster, to get the special effects right. Maybe the people who saw the leaked version without effects were lucky; they were spared the sight of claws that looked like cardboard covered in tin foil, and a de-aged plastic Xavier who looked like the water creature from The Abyss.

Now for the fanboy stuff. (This is where it gets spoilery.) The filmmakers threw some geek-chum into the waters to please the loyal base - guest appearances by the likes of Toad, Quicksilver and Storm. Unfortunately, they ballsed up most of the things that fans are actually likely to care about. Emma Frost as a funny-looking girl in a tanktop? Heather Hudson reimagined as Ma Kent from Superman? Cyclops using his eye beams to set things on fire? And they used the origin from Origins, which I personally think is disastrously stupid. Making Wolverine’s origin that of Little Lord Fauntleclaws feels like a fundamental misreading of the character.


The biggest crime, though - apart from having Wolverine spending centuries fighting for the US military when he should have been fighting for Canada - was what they did to Deadpool. Ever since Blade: Trinity, Ryan Reynolds has been considered dream casting for that role - so of course they squandered it, turning the merc with the mouth into a mute goon who shoots fricking laser beams out of his face. Fans don’t like it when you pretend you’re going to give them what they want, then whip it away from them.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that the film got Deadpool so badly wrong that they cannot possibly do a spin-off. And, you know, they cut off his head. The fact is, Wolverine had the third most successful opening weekend of any Fox picture. Spin-offs are going to happen, and a little decapitation isn’t going to stop that. A sociopathic Deadpool with blades, teleportation and a healing factor is pretty consistent with the comics version (even if the blades do now come out of his arms). I just pray that they drop the laser beams.

The Gambit spin-off and the long promised Magneto spin-off have to be good bets as well, but apparently the most likely direction for the next movie (apart from X-Men Origins: Wolverine II: Wolverine in Japan) is X-Men: First Class, following the first class of Xavier’s students (probably Scott, Jean, Hank and some others, since Bobby and Warren won’t be available in this continuity). Mind you, if that means more of Xavier’s Oil of Olay face, I can probably live without it.

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4 Responses to “Wolverine: What He Does Ain’t Pretty”

  1. Jill Says:

    I think you’ve typed a Wolverine up there when you meant to type a Sabertooth. But Liev Schreiber is darn funny looking. Perhaps he was cast for resemblance to a Minimate figure. Actors with cylindrical heads are rare beasts. (Although Nathan Petrelli is another one.)

    Anyway, I think I will put off watching this until it comes on Virgin Movie Choice, unless I can find a cheap cinema where they let you drink. Mind you, I actually quite enjoyed The Last Stand (well, a bit) when I watched it on TV the other day, but that was probably because I was expecting utter rubbish and by heck, that’s what I got.

    I don’t know what Deadpool is meant to be like (I am assuming he post-dates any X-Men knowledge I ever had) so I just read his Wikipedia page and err… I still don’t know.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for the catch! It’s definitely a film that you could stand to wait for - the sort of film that’s more fun if you don’t expect an ‘event’.

    Deadpool’s main schtick is that he’s a smart-mouthed funny guy - sort of an amoral version of Spider-Man. So taking away his mouth, as they do in the film, is a little bit misguided. But it’s easily fixed if they do a spin-off.

  3. Marysia Says:

    I was actually okay with Schreiber and failed to notice most of the cameos you mention, I didn’t realise diamond skin girl was supposed to be Emma Frost cause I left comics before the diamond skin stuff and even so she started as a telepath no matter what nonsense they may have added later. Where was Storm? Where was Toad?

    The film was a big heap of shite. Stupid stupid big budget film makers.

    I clearly need to rewatch X-Men Last Stand as I don’t remember it sucking, but actually I don’t really remember it much at all. I saw it once at the cinema and I don’t own it.

    Bring back Bryan Singer.

  4. Andrew Says:

    Toad was one of the kids at Three Mile Island. Storm… well, she was in the trailer, and I missed her in the movie, but I’m told she was in the Africa scene at the start, and I’ve also read that she was cut, so, who knows?

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