Thursday, 7 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I've never read the X-Men comics, so I'm not qualified to judge the character himself, or the quality of the Hollywoodisation.

But I'm perfectly qualified to say it is a mediocre movie, worth watching only for the special effects - and even they are none too exciting.

What X-Men Origins: Wolverine is notable for is purely as a template for filming graphic novels (comics, to you and me).

1. The key characters in the movie are distinguished by a total lack of personality; the Good Guy is Good, the Bad Guys are Bad. But at one point in the movie, the Good Guy just might go bad (but doesn't), and the Bad Guys just might be good after all (but aren't) .

2. The supporting characters are also distinguished by a total lack of personality.
  • The Intermediate Good Guys / Gals are Good, but betray the Good Guy and then show their True Goodness before dying or being forgotten about.  
  • The Intermediate Bad Guys / Gals are Bad, but do assist the Good Guy just once before Resuming Their Badness, before dying or being forgotten about.
  • Hangers-On may be junior Good Guys or Junior Bad Guys. Either way, they generally have no personality other than supporting their leader and maybe getting killed.
  • Hangers-On who are killed are either killed accidently, or are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or are otherwise unlucky - they have too little personality for anyone to bother with consciously bumping them off.
3. The plot is breathtakingly, almost nauseatingly simple, and involves a simple reversal of the Paper-Scissors-Rock game. it goes like this:

There's only one Good Guy; though he may have hangers-on, and one or two Intermediate Good Guys. The Bad Guys, however are infinitely more complex. That is, the movie perms any two out of the following three:
  1. Pure evil, with no redeeming points.
  2. Pure evil, but with a sad past which makes that OK-ish.
  3. Evil, Confused.
(I told you it was complex!!)

Now, if we think of the Good Team as Rock, then the Evil Teams must be Paper and Scissors The blurb may tell you there's only one Baddie, but we discerning Cinema Goers can spot the rivalry between strands of Baddie!

As no one team can beat both the others, this gives scope for sad, brief, almost unbelievable alliances between Rock and Scissors against Paper, Rock and Paper against Scissors, and when the baddies combine, Scissors and Paper against Rock.

This messy and disjointed bunch of inequalities means that the central issue of the movie (whatever that is) is never really resolved - even the Good Guy cannot win - requiring a sequel to reach closure. 

4. Whatever superpowers or tricks are available to Our Hero and his foes, come the day, the finale is satisfied by no more and no less than a good old fashioned brawl.

5. The inevitable sequel will miss the point of the first film, failing to resolve the key outstanding issue, leading to a plethora of futile sub-plot dead ends.

  • What a waste of $130 million, not to mention my cinema ticket!


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