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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)


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From Patrick Goldstein's latest update on the question of whether Fox "fibbed" by claiming that the leaked workprint was 10 minutes shorter than the final theatrical version of the film:

But this afternoon the studio was more forthcoming. Fox's senior vice president of corporate communications, Chris Petrikin, who was out of the country on vacation -- in Mexico, of all places -- when bloggers started bashing Rothman last week, explains that he was probably the person who told Rothman that 10 minutes were missing from the pirated version of the film. He stressed that the studio was under enormous pressure after the piracy as it attempted to sift through a host of often wildly speculative Internet reports about the theft.

"There was no 'fibbing' involved -- that would imply that we were so on top of things that we anticipated having one of our biggest films of the year stolen and had time to concoct a plan to purposefully 'spin' wrong information," Petrikin told me. "Remember, Tom gave this [Entertainment Weekly] interview a day after we learned of the theft. A lot of information and misinformation was flying back and forth then, and there was no way to sort it out quickly or definitively. In fact, I think I told Tom that there might be 10 minutes missing from the stolen version, based -- obviously -- on misinformation I was given or misinterpreted. The real issue is the scale of this crime and that the film was not finished when it was stolen."

"There was no way to sort it out quickly or definitively"? Seriously? Like, dudes, you couldn't just have downloaded the file yourselves? What were you afraid of, getting sued? Who was gonna sue you -- you?

So Fox's defense, one week after the blogosphere apparently catches it spreading misinformation, is to say, "No, we didn't lie. We're just utterly incompetent and/or completely lacking in tech-savvy." Amazing. "So you say this workprint was leaked to something called an internet? And it can be found where, exactly...?"

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I see this tonight

Oh, and on whether or not this will be a bigger draw than the originals given it has fewer stars, I think it's worth pointing out that a lot of those actors only became stars between films 1 and 3.

Matt

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There was a strong consensus reaction among the critics I sat with last night at the screening at another upcoming movie. I've yet to see Wolverine.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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MattPage wrote:

: I think it's worth pointing out that a lot of those actors only became stars between films 1 and 3.

Hmmm, I wonder, did anyone emerge from the X-Men trilogy a bigger star than they were before?

Okay, Ian McKellen counts -- partly because he also released a little thing called The Lord of the Rings in the time that it took for the first two X-Men films to come out. That was a great one-two punch for him. (Though his only major film since then has been The Da Vinci Code, in which he had a supporting role.)

But beyond that? Hugh Jackman became famous as Wolverine, but I don't think he has ever starred in a hit film that DIDN'T feature him as Wolverine. (Well, Australia is doing very well overseas... especially in, uh, Australia...)

Halle Berry was just another actress when X1 came out, and she had won an Oscar by the time X2 came out... but by the time X3 came out, she was well on her way to being just another actress again, following the flop that was Catwoman.

Even Patrick Stewart saw his star -- indeed, his star trek, you might say -- fall over the course of the trilogy. He made one Star Trek movie between X1 and X2 and it was by far the biggest flop in the Star Trek series. And then X3 killed his character off, and fairly early in the story. What's he done since?

And beyond that...? Well, Ellen Page is a star now thanks to Juno, but the fact that she was also in X3 the year before that is almost accidental.

Anna Paquin is more or less where she was before the trilogy started: someone who once won an Oscar when she was 10 years old or thereabouts (for The Piano), and whose name can certainly give a small indie film a boost, but I wouldn't say she's a bigger box-office draw now than she was before; indeed, she might even be less of one, since she can no longer trade on being a "child actor".

And beyond that...?

This is all off the top of my head; I haven't checked anybody's stats yet.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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s'funny Peter, I thought I was re-iterating a point you made somewhere about how the cast had all grown - but that was perhaps just between 1 and 2, since then, as you say, I suppose things have gone downhill a bit.

Matt

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Quick question on the opening scene. Is Wolverine presumed father played by Hugh Jackman and his assumed father played by Liev Schreiber? And do you think it's safe to assume that Wolverine and Sabretooth are the respective sons of these two men and therefore half brothers?

Matt

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Ignore that, I see that IMDb lists ex-Neighbours star Peter O'Brien as John Howlett, and Aaron Jeffery as Thomas Logan. Nevertheless, the style and dress of the two men suggest what I just said, no?

Matt

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Quick question on the opening scene. Is Wolverine presumed father played by Hugh Jackman and his assumed father played by Liev Schreiber? And do you think it's safe to assume that Wolverine and Sabretooth are the respective sons of these tow men and therefore half brothers?

not quite, but something along those lines.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Is anybody here planning on watching Wolverine in the theatre and then rushing home to watch the original X-Men on DVD, to see whether the stories "match"? I guess you'd have to watch X2 as well, since it gets into the Stryker stuff.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Is anybody here planning on watching Wolverine in the theatre and then rushing home to watch the original X-Men on DVD, to see whether the stories "match"? I guess you'd have to watch X2 as well, since it gets into the Stryker stuff.

Done it.

The only thing that does not really make sense is that if Wolverine and Sabertooth are brothers? Why is Sabertooth behave like he is unfamilar with him in X-Men? I mean, Wolverine not knowing who he is makes sense, his memory is a mess. But there is no indication in the first X-Men film that Sabertooth lost his memory.

(a lot of Wolverine's recovering memories from the original films match up well with the footage in Wolverine)

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Is that the only thing? My impression was that so many discrepancies that such an exercise would not really be worth the effort, but it's been a while since I saw the orignal films so I might be overstating it. It all just seemed so preposterous. Here are a few I thought of though:

Logan is older here even though he should be younger (OK that's a bit silly)

Using his claws don't seem to hurt him at this point

Logan and Sabretooth have been friends for so long, in all kinds of horrific shit, but it's only once they are in the jungle they discover they have major differences

Professor Xavier walks (OK that was just a joke)

Stryker and Sabretooth both look dfferent (that too)

I thought that somewhere in the trilogy it said that his claws were not much of a thing before.

Suffice to say that I think you, Peter, would have a field day. Perhaps there are less continuity things and more things that are just stupid, but there are some glaring continuity issues in the film, so I can't imagine they were too fussed about those with the original trilogy.

Matt

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No real continuity glitches there. :)

*Using his claws don't seem to hurt him at this point

I am not sure how we gage that...I mean, even in the three films, there were only a few instances when he actively expressed pain. He says it hurts every time once. But he pops the claws effortlessly a lot in all three films. It's not clear that it is painless in Wolverine, either.

*Logan and Sabretooth have been friends for so long, in all kinds of horrific shit, but it's only once they are in the jungle they discover they have major differences

Of course, in real life, people never overlook differences in family member and live in denial...right? Since part of the theme of the character is that he is trying not to be the beast that everyone believes he is, it stands to reason that he would not want to accept that his brother is willingly an animal.

*I thought that somewhere in the trilogy it said that his claws were not much of a thing before.

Not sure how you mean.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Nezpop wrote:

: The only thing that does not really make sense is that

if Wolverine and Sabertooth are brothers? Why is Sabertooth behave like he is unfamilar with him in X-Men? I mean, Wolverine not knowing who he is makes sense, his memory is a mess. But there is no indication in the first X-Men film that Sabertooth lost his memory

.

Well, from the look of things,

Sabretooth underwent a massive physical transformation between Liev Schreiber and Tyler Mane, so perhaps there was some sort of "experiment" between the two movies that affected both Sabretooth's looks and his memory as well

. :)

One question I have concerns the claws. From what I've seen of the bone claws, they look kind of gnarled, or knotted, or something. But the adamantium claws are so smooth, so pointed. Can that really have been the result if they were simply adding an adamantium surface to his existing skeleton?

- - -

'Wolverine' too violent for Swedes

Hugh Jackman starrer has been given a 15 classification, which means that no one under that age will be allowed into theaters -- even if accompanied by an adult.

The three previous "X-Men" films were all rated 11, which meant that they were suitable for that age group, but kids as young as 7 could see them with an adult. . . .

The decision comes as a surprise as other violent pics, including "State of Play," "Quantum of Solace" and "Valkyrie," were all rated 11.

Variety, April 30

- - -

Just for the record, the previous three films were rated PG where I live, but Wolverine is rated 14A, which means anyone under 14 doesn't get in without a guardian. (So it's stricter than the American PG-13, which as I understand it is purely advisory -- that's why it's PG-13 and not R-13.)

However, all four films were rated PG in Ontario. (At least, I assume they were. For some reason the original film doesn't show up in the archives -- but if all the sequels and prequels were PG, then surely the first film must have been, too.)

And in Britain, the first film was rated 12 but all the sequels and prequels have been rated 12A. (If I understand this correctly, that means that under-12 kids in Britain could have seen the first movie in the theatres on their own, but would not have been able to buy or rent the DVD -- and would have needed adult supervision to see all the sequels and prequels in the theatre.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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: And in Britain, the first film was rated 12 but all the sequels and prequels have been rated 12A.

: (If I understand this correctly, that means that under-12 kids in Britain could have seen the

: first movie in the theatres on their own, but would not have been able to buy or rent the DVD

: -- and would have needed adult supervision to see all the sequels and prequels in the theatre.)

No it means that no under 12s could have seen the first movie in theatres, whereas now they can if accompanied by an adult. It's a recent(ish) changes to the ratings system.

Matt

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One question I have concerns the claws. From what I've seen of the bone claws, they look kind of gnarled, or knotted, or something. But the adamantium claws are so smooth, so pointed. Can that really have been the result if they were simply adding an adamantium surface to his existing skeleton?

Comic Book movie physical laws? :)

I think this was a case of trying to please fans with sticking close to the comic art of the bone claws. Really, the comics had the same issue.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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It's okay.

As I was writing my review, I realized just how, well, domesticated Wolverine has become. He's never alienating or unsympathetic to the viewer -- never picks a fight, or reacts with excessive force when provoked. There's no sense that he struggles with a bestial inner nature.

I was reminded of the opening scene in Batman Begins in which Ducard told Bruce Wayne that he had become "truly lost." Shouldn't Wolverine be at even greater risk than Bruce Wayne of being "truly lost"?

The larger issue, though, is that there are just no surprises in this movie. Even Iron Man had a few curve balls, and Batman Begins was consistently surprising. To say nothing of Star Trek. :) By contrast, Wolverine feels like the filmmakers are basically working from a checklist.

My review..

One question I have concerns the claws. From what I've seen of the bone claws, they look kind of gnarled, or knotted, or something. But the adamantium claws are so smooth, so pointed. Can that really have been the result if they were simply adding an adamantium surface to his existing skeleton?

Comic Book movie physical laws? :)

I think this was a case of trying to please fans with sticking close to the comic art of the bone claws. Really, the comics had the same issue.

Well, but it's more complicated than that. The whole bone claw thing was a late innovation -- originally the claws were purely mechanical. Also, they were originally rounded, but Frank Miller turned them into blades, which makes the later bone claw thing even more problematic.

Still, unless we see the actual process in the comic book, it's possible that they surgically opened the backs of Wolvie's arms and enhanced his bone claws with a molded metal sheath.

Certainly in the first film I thought that the Weapon X process had involved surgically exposing his bones and overlaying the adamantium manually, not just injecting it at key points, although the Deathstryke showdown in the second film does suggest an injection process.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Steven, I read your review this morning and it made me kind of sad (not because I disagree with it, but because on the contrary, your "comic-book movie" reviews are usually on target). I guess that since X3 was not that great, I shouldn't have expected Wolverine to be terrific. Perhaps Fox only had two good X-Men movies for us. Nevertheless, I'm tired of mediocre action movies based on stuff that I like!

I am 21 now, meaning that when X2 came out, I was 15. It had the same kind of impact on me that the original X-Men comic books probably had on you older guys when they originally came out. Ever since the day I saw X2, I have wanted to see how Wolverine became the character that he is. Not being a big Marvel comics reader, I have, in a sense, been waiting for this film ever since then (X3 had no answers- at least, nothing terribly revealing). Naturally, assumptions can be drawn from the prior films, but this one was supposed to tie it all together.

I'll still see it, of course, and I should probably try not to walk into the theater with negative preconceptions. Still, this stuff is important to me. If I sound like I'm whining, it's because these stories have been a long-running source of enjoyment in my life, going back to my adolescent days. It was eye opening stuff then, and I have long desired to see its fulfillment.

::wolverine::

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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MattPage wrote:

: It's a recent(ish) changes to the ratings system.

Ah. Kind of like how, where I live, the PG rating used to be called the Mature rating? One rating was replaced by the other, but they both show up in the books? (For that matter, the American PG rating used to be known as the M rating, between 1968 and 1970, and then as the GP rating, between 1970 and 1972, and those old ratings sometimes turn up when you look up the ratings of older films that haven't been re-rated since then.)

SDG wrote:

: As I was writing my review, I realized just how, well, domesticated Wolverine has become. He's never alienating or unsympathetic to the viewer -- never picks a fight, or reacts with excessive force when provoked. There's no sense that he struggles with a bestial inner nature.

Yeah, I've heard that complaint elsewhere, too. Is he more domesticated now than he was in the original film, though? I guess, if he is, we could always chalk up his later lack of domestication to something that happens in the decade or two between these stories. (Hmmm, many critics have said the new film seems to take place in the 1970s, but what about characters like Cyclops? Could the guy we met in the first X-Men movie, back in 2000, have been a teenager in the 1970s? James Marsden was born in 1973, so I doubt it, but...)

: The whole bone claw thing was a late innovation -- originally the claws were purely mechanical.

At least the bone claws have SOME basis in the comics -- unlike Peter Parker's organic web-shooters, right? :)

And personally, I always wondered how the claws could have stayed in Wolverine's body, if (1) the claws were a later addition to his body and (2) his body was designed to "heal" itself and to expel foreign matter (such as bullets, etc.). There's also the question of creating an interface of some sort between the claws and his brain (or you could just hook them up to certain muscles, I guess). Anyway, it makes sense to me that the claws would be essentially organic, and "coated" the same way as all of his other bones.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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: As I was writing my review, I realized just how, well, domesticated Wolverine has become. He's never alienating or unsympathetic to the viewer -- never picks a fight, or reacts with excessive force when provoked. There's no sense that he struggles with a bestial inner nature.

Yeah, I've heard that complaint elsewhere, too. Is he more domesticated now than he was in the original film, though? I guess, if he is, we could always chalk up his later lack of domestication to something that happens in the decade or two between these stories. (Hmmm, many critics have said the new film seems to take place in the 1970s, but what about characters like Cyclops? Could the guy we met in the first X-Men movie, back in 2000, have been a teenager in the 1970s? James Marsden was born in 1973, so I doubt it, but...)

I think Logan clearly had more juice in the first two X-Men films. Can anyone imagine the Logan of Wolverine as a cage-fight gladiator-for-hire, or even thinking about leaving a young girl stranded in the snow outside a roughneck one-horse watering hole?

Since the new film ends with Wolverine getting amnesia, we can always choose to chalk up his rough-around-the-edges-ness in the later films to whatever post-amnesia influences we want. But it's not my sense of the character that he becomes undomesticated. I think of Wolverine as a character who is fundamentally, originally feral, and slowly becomes more human. The new film doesn't get that at all.

: The whole bone claw thing was a late innovation -- originally the claws were purely mechanical.

At least the bone claws have SOME basis in the comics -- unlike Peter Parker's organic web-shooters, right? :)

True.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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This was probably mostly an attempt to set up Gambit and Deadpool spinoffs, maybe even an Emma Frost one. Gambit's inclusion doesn't make much sense as my understanding was that he's supposed to be much closer in age to Cyclops and the other original X-men, but this movie took place some 10 or 15 years before the first one.

I dunno, it was entertaining enough and I caught and laughed at the

Daniel Negreanu

cameo. I'd like to see more Gambit, and more Deadpool, and more Emma Frost, but if they get progressively worse, as seems to be a safe assumption, then I'm not sure how much longer I'll be excited about these.

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Saw it tonight. Question: If the adamantium is supposed to cover Wolverine's entire skeleton, why doesn't it cover his teeth?

theoddone33 wrote:

: . . . this movie took place some 10 or 15 years before the first one.

I'm wondering something. Several critics have guessed that the movie takes place in the late '70s; and at least one has speculated that the climactic sequence at

Three Mile Island

is meant to be the very same accident that happened there in real life in 1979. But I don't think the movie ever quite specifies when it is taking place. There is a prologue that includes a bit of the Vietnam War, and then a title card that says "six years later", but we never really find out what year we are in before OR after the "six years later" business, do we?

At any rate, the fact that Cyclops is depicted here as a teenager in high school leads me to wonder how old he is supposed to be in the original trilogy, where he was played by an actor who was born in 1973; and this, in turn, leads me to wonder when the original trilogy is supposed to take place. (And how much time was supposed to have passed BETWEEN the movies in the original trilogy? If memory serves, Wolvy stole a motorbike at the end of X1 and then brought it back near the beginning of X2 -- and the gap between X2 and X3 seemed similarly short. The actors all got six years older, but we weren't really supposed to believe that six years had passed, were we?) (Did the tombstones at the end of X3 specify the date of the characters' deaths?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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At any rate, the fact that Cyclops is depicted here as a teenager in high school leads me to wonder how old he is supposed to be in the original trilogy, where he was played by an actor who was born in 1973; and this, in turn, leads me to wonder when the original trilogy is supposed to take place. (And how much time was supposed to have passed BETWEEN the movies in the original trilogy? If memory serves, Wolvy stole a motorbike at the end of X1 and then brought it back near the beginning of X2 -- and the gap between X2 and X3 seemed similarly short. The actors all got six years older, but we weren't really supposed to believe that six years had passed, were we?) (Did the tombstones at the end of X3 specify the date of the characters' deaths?)

Well, the films are vaguely set in a future near our present (X3 states it takes place in the near future) and there are no dates on the memorial tombstones for Prof X, Jean Grey or Scott Summers. For the movie series timeline...the film makes Scott Summers at least in his late twenties. Logan had roamed for 15 years with no memory at the start of the first X-Men.

The new film ends at his point of amnesia. If Scott is thirteen or fourteen, and I guess he is a bit older, which puts him in his thirties.

Not entirely unreasonable, but definitely would trip up the idea that this is the seventies.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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I'd like to see more Gambit, and more Deadpool, and more Emma Frost, but if they get progressively worse, as seems to be a safe assumption, then I'm not sure how much longer I'll be excited about these.

I presumed the Emma Frost bit was a nod to comics, where

Emma and Scott are a couple

. Can't be a future in the movie universe since Jean offed him in X3. I am thinking maybe Emma would be part of the First Class film in the works.

Deadpool...I liked him at the beginning, though I saw the end coming a mile away-specifically when

he just disappeared from the film and Stryker (or someone) mentions he was killed by Sabertooth

...but you know... Ryan Reynolds plays good smart-asses. DeadPool is exactly that...a super powered smart ass. I liked him until

they just made him a drone with multiple powers and no

freaking mouth.

Ack.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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