The Australian has become a superstar, thanks largely to his metallic-clawed anti-hero, and now returns almost a decade later to show us how Wolverine became the man/beast we know.
When it was announced that the X-Men series would come to a close after the third (and ultimately unsatisfying) instalment to make way for spin-offs, it was a no-brainer which Mutant would first appear again. Although everyone seemed to agree on who it would be, the journey to get him onto his own adventure has been anything but, with director Gavin Hood (a surprising choice) and Fox notoriously having battles throughout production; and rumours of Richard Donner (the Granddaddy of directing first class superhero flicks: â€˜Superman: The Movie') being sent over to smooth relations between the two. So begs the question: After all is said and done is the film worth all the waiting and the trouble?
As the title suggests, this is the origin story of how the man we know as Logan/Wolverine became what he became. The spine of the film is about the splintering of a brotherhood between Logan and Victor Creed - the man who will become Sabertooth. The clever title sequence takes a page out of Louis Leterrier's â€˜Incredible Hulk' by giving us a succinct passage of time in both our main character's lives, and setting the film up for the meat of the story, so to speak. But almost as soon as this clever storytelling device is over, the story starts to spin its wheels.
Months ago as the extremely long list of names cast in this film started rolling across my desk, I started to worry that this film would suffer the fate of â€˜Spider-man 3', cramming too many characters and events in to make it digestible. Sadly, my suspicions were correct. While there are very exciting themes to explore, as well as compelling characters throughout (with the highest calibre of actors to play them), too much is spewed out in an action-overloaded frenzy for it to come off successfully. Specifically, Logan's romance subplot suffers at the expense of too many characters vying for screen time. Is it cool to see a young Cyclops? Sure. Gambit? The Blob? Deadpool? And countless others? All great flavours, but too many spoil the broth. Far more time should have been spent with Victor Creed, Stryker, and Logan's beloved. These are the through lines to his character's transformation, the characters with the most emotional resonance, and more than enough - story wise - to carry the movie.
What doesn't fail is Jackman's portrayal (nor anyone else's, really) Hood's adept direction (with the exception of a few dodgy CGI effects) nor the feeling, come the rolling credits, that you've got yourself a good flick it ain't great, but it ain't crap either.
So was it worth the wait? The troubled production? Maybe. If those in charge of upcoming superhero films don't learn from this and â€˜Spider-man 3' in respect to putting too much in their soup, I suspect box office receipts will soon teach them. This - like the web-slinger's last outing - delivers some gems amongst the frenzy; certainly enough to make one want to see Wolverine again. Let's just hope next time they decide less is more.
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English; French; Spanish.
Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD French: DTS 5.1 Surround.
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.
Commentary - Feature-length commentary track with Director Gavin Hood and the producers
- A conversation with X-Men creators Stan Lee and Len Wein
Deleted Scenes - deleted and alternate scenes
Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging
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