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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

The flagship of the Marvel movie franchise returns once again with another installment of uncanny mutant mania. While Spider-Man may be the reigning champion of the Marvel filmography it was it's team of mutant heroes that broke onto the screen two years earlier in 2000 and raised the bar for superhero and comic book themed films which has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. After concluding a three part trilogy, the X-Men franchise once again begins to break barriers by announcing a series of films aimed at the origins of particular X-Men characters. Aptly named X-Men Origins, the first "spin-off" back story follows the series most famed character, Wolverine. Now the question is will XO: Wolverine join the ranks of Hollywood's great comic book films, or will it follow it the footsteps of it's predecessor X-Men: The Last Stand, and become another flashy overstuffed action film that's shunned by many a fans?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine follows the much beloved comic book character of Logan "aka" Wolverine from his progression of a wild-eyed young boy first discovering his abilities, to a revenged driven, lost animal that we see at the start of the original X-men film. Unfortunately much like the previous X-men films (especially the last one) XO: Wolverine fails to really delve much into character development and spends most of it's time introducing and killing off characters before any real connection of them to the story is made. Even Logan's own background is never explorer much deeper than the revenge driven relationship with his brother Sabretooth, and the backstabbing Stryker who bestows upon Logan his adamantium covered skeleton, something which was already pretty well covered in X-2: X-Men United. With that said XO: Wolverine is not lacking in terms of action, which keeps the film moving quickly even though the conclusion of the story is quite predictable, but thankfully there are a few surprises and twists which still manage to keep the film interesting.

Ironically, while the original X-Men film helped to set the bar for future comic book adaptations, since then the franchise hasn't progressed much past that bar itself. With recent films like The Dark Knight and Ironman having taken the genre past the pages of a thin comic book reality, the X-Men franchise seems to be stuck in it's rut of predictable action sequences, overpopulated/underused characters and little to no character development. Deadpool and Gambit are two examples of wasted characters that the writers have seen fit to abuse in this newest X-men outing, giving them even less screen time than that given to Venom in Spider-Man 3, and seriously straying away from the characters roots, according to many vocal fans.

Overall, I didn't find XO: Wolverine to be as bad as many soured fans claim it to be. Realistically the film is slightly below if not on par with the conclusion of the X-men trilogy (or even the recent Hulk film), which many viewers had little praise for, but which I still found to be a quite entertaining and average popcorn flick. With this early viewing being only a glimpse of a near finished product it's a little too early to truly condemn a film that's not even technically completed. Even so, I found watching the unfinished product quite enjoyable giving me a little more inside to the stages of a working film, and actually peeked my interest in seeing the final product. Although I don't have much hope that the finished product is going to be much superior in terms story and characters, at 107 minutes long and a projected 97 minute theatrical release it will at least be interesting to see it completely fleshed out discover what ultimately meets the chopping block, and what possibly may be added. In the end, if you enjoyed X-Men: The Last Stand, XO: Wolverine will keep you entertained, if not you'll probably be just as disgusted as some of the other hardcore comic book fans and exclaim this film to be a disgrace.


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