By TGB 2 Comments
Just watched the Wolverine movie. I have to say that I left the movie feeling pretty meh. I didn't really have any strong feelings for or against this prequel. I guess my biggest complaint is that it stayed in the middle in between being an actually good action comic book movie and being an awesomely clichéd Arnold-esk explosion spectacular. My favorite action movie of all time is "True Lies" which always knew that its premise was pure ridiculous so they just went with it and made it a crazy expodey comedy filled with some of the best contrived one liners ever to grace the silver screen. I was hoping that the Wolverine movie would turn more toward that once he blew up a helicopter by lighting a gasoline trail with his claws with the force of friction. Once he did that and said some smart-ass remark I started to get excited, but the movie decided to stay in that strange nexus between a well made thoughtful action flick and a Michael Bay or Arnold insanity fest. So average and boring.
Even Gambit being in the movie didn't really do anything for me, which is pretty bad since Gambit was my favorite character from the TV show. I mean I would suffer through numerous Jubilee heavy episodes just for a few seconds of Gambit awesomeness. Anyone who has ever watched the show knows that it takes quite a bit of fortitude to watch an entire Jubilee centric episode of the cartoon, thats how much of a Gambit fan I was back in the day. I always liked him more then Wolverine because while Wolverine was always a bad ass, he was also a team player. He was alway taking orders from that douchey prep-boy Cyclopes, sure he would grumble and say something smart allicky but he'd end up doing what Cyclopes wanted. Gambit on the other hand did what ever the fuck he wanted. He'd join a mission when ever he felt like it. The worlds in danger? Fuck that, I need to go hit on chicks, eat some gumbo and explode some people with a deck of cards. I think that is what the movie missed. It needed Gambit exploding more things, I mean that was his job in the cartoon, he'd show up and shit would explode for crazy kinetics that were contrived but awesome. In the movie Gambit can just accelerate the relative speed of objects, which is nice but where is the pizazz, where is the style? Seeing someone push somebody through a brick wall with a deck of cards is pretty cool, but wouldn't it be more better if Wolverine was exploding while flying through a brick wall? This movie missed its chance at being an amazingly bad movie, something that would be infinitely quotable and would be perfect to bust out at a birthday party in like ten years. Something dumb, but exciting with a whole bunch of awesome one liners that your waiting to hear. Eraser? Terrible movie, plot makes not sense, premise is pretty dumb but it is all kinds of crazy awesome because the director, producers and actors knew that it was a popcorn flick and that the crazier, explosion ridden and nonsensical they made the production the more entertaining it would be. I feel like with Wolverine and Gambit both being rebellious bad asses that if they had gone into the movie with the thought that it should be produced like a latter day Arnold film and that it would my favorite movie ever.
It's kind of sad because X-men is one of the two comic book movies that I give a damn about. As a kid X-men was my second string afternoon hero cartoon after Batman the Animated series. While the Dark Knight satiated my need for an honestly well made, brilliantly acted and produced Hollywood film, the Wolverine movie was unable to achieve the right type of foil to the brilliance of the Batman movie. I knew from the start that with Brian Singer that the movie couldn't possibly be "good" good. That ship clearly sailed after X-Men II was followed up by X-Men III. Sure, X-Men is one of the most complicated and best allegories in the comic book world for the darkness that exists in the human soul, of the challenges the world has with racism and dealing with minorities. But the Wolverine movie was the perfect chance for the producers to just say "fuck story, drama and angst, we don't have to weighed down by all the crap from the previous three movies so lets go absolutely crazy nuts with explosions and terrible/awesome one liners." The movie could have been the Predator of comic book movies but ended up being the Alien vs Predator of the X-Men series. That may be a harsh assessment but that is the closest Arnold series parallel that I can pull out of my ass right now.
To reiterate I don't hate the Wolverine movie, I was just disappointed that the movie seemed like it could have joined the pantheon of good/bad action movies that I could watch dozens of times in the future. The movie is just too smutzy, too stuck in its own pathos, too damn talky to be that kind of movie. Its a movie that trying hard to be smart and deep but at its core is just a dumb action movie that lives and dies by its crazy action and CG magic.