When Bryan Singer’s creative team made changes to the continuity for the first two X-Men films, they made the story stronger. When Brett Ratner’s creative team tried to put things back they were supposed to be, the movie sucked rocks. Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine sits somewhere in the middle.
As an X-Fan since 1964, and a Wolverine fan since his first appearance in 1974, I have to say it was an interesting experience to see how the David Benioff/Skip Woods script took the elements of Logan’s [Hugh Jackman] origin and the creation of William Stryker’s [Danny Huston]team and folded in an odd, but unfortunately not compelling, retcon of the continuity of major Marvel characters like Scott “Cyclops” Summers [Tom Pocock] and Emma Frost [Tahyna Tozzi] – which, in the case of Summers, also contradicts the previous X-films.
Sure, we learn about Logan’s backstory – at least to the point where he loses his memory [handled here in a ridiculously silly manner] – but there are so many other characters that even his big brother [in more ways than one], Victor [Liev Schreiber], only gets two dimensions to play with: vicious killing machine and “brothers look out for each other. Outside of Logan and Victor, though, when another character does hold our attention it’s because the actor manages to stand out in spite of the script – like Taylor Kitsch, the young Canadian [!] who makes Remy “Gambit” LeBeau very magnetic.
I’m not saying that Hood hasn’t produced an entertaining film. He did. It’s just that X-Men Origins: Wolverine deals with some characters and situations that are compelling in the Marvel Universe, but are, here, nothing more than a series of effects and fight choreography because there are so many characters, there’s no time to really tell the story. It’s like fat-free potato chips: there’s a similarity, taste-wise, to the real thing, but there’s also something missing. Even the segments that deal with Logan’s attempt at the idyllic life with Kayla [Lynn Collins] seem more like a perfunctory interlude to build to another scene of Logan screaming, that their impact is minimal.
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, what’s missing, unfortunately, is the heart. It’s enjoyable but not essential. Color me disappointed.