X-Men Origins: Wolverine Leak on Purpose?
You may have heard the news here, here, and so many other places, that an early rough cut copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine has leaked onto the internet. Was this leak on purpose by the studio, a disgruntled employee, or my theory, done so at the behest of the director?
There had been reports of rifts of direction on set with actors, the director, writer, and studio arguing about the characters, story, and tone of the movie. Reportedly, Fox wanted a lighter tone reminiscent of the first X-Men movie to make it more family friendly, with the director wanting to stick to the darker tone set by its far superior sequel. My theory is, in hoping for a public rejection and bad word of mouth, the director or someone supporting him, would get the studio to see the light and give us the movie we want to see.
Well, I viewed the film, and have to say the studio won that battle. The movie while at times shows beef, and dark tones, comes off fitting the original X-Men film. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great action, but no Dark Knight is this.
Overall I was left with a blah impression. If the third X-Men film was ranked a C I’d give X-Men Origins: Wolverine a C+. The story seemed jumpy (which the studio claims will be fixed in the final version), but overall three things stand out that no amount of reshoots will fix.
- The acting is just bad. It feels phoned in. Heath Ledger proved you can up the game to Oscar worthy levels.
- The writing is just cheesy. I don’t expect Shakespeare, but come on folks. Cliched lines that are used over and over, delivered in new ways, is not breaking new ground.
- The characters themselves don’t seem to fit the comic books (which would have been fantastic). It’s bad when Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King in Blade Trinity had more witty banter in that role than befits X-Men‘s resident merc with a mouth Deadpool. And while Taylor Kitsch (who’s shown acting chops on Friday Night Lights) was ok as Gambit, there is just so much depth to that character in his mannerisms alone than what was mined. Looking cool with a staff and deck of cards does not make this character and he was left with little to do. Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabertooth was good with what he had to work with. Danny Huston as William Stryker was decent (Brian Cox was better). And Hugh Jackman does what he’s done in the first three movies, try to be dark, not belt out show tunes, and look beefy (which reminds me I need to hire his trainer).
And one thing that I won’t get into due to spoilers, there’s a strained attempt to tie this film into the first three X-Men movies that ends up in just plain silliness. Kind of cool in a geeky sense to play, “spot the character”, but we’ve already been there and done that. This was just stretching it a bit too far in an attempt to connect the dots.
Now, all that being said, I’ll be there opening weekend (surgery date pending). I hope Fox is serious in saying this was a very rough cut (the cgi, wires, and music from Backdraft indicate that, Hans Zimmer rules!) and that numerous reshoots will address the issues. But the fact remains this was a cut of the film, and a bad one at that, showing us a version of the film that possibly was.
The movie made news earlier in the year when talks of a fanboy boycott of the movie began when Fox sued Warner Bros. about the release of Watchmen. That suit was later settled.
And with this, I just turned into the “Comic Book Guy”. “Oh, I’ve wasted my life…”