The 22nd Best Movie I’ve Seen This Year

#22. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
You know how every year you look forward to something, and it always disappoints you?
Your birthday comes and goes, and even if you do something fun, you realize that the only difference is that you’ve added a year to your age and gotten precisely three books richer. Every sports season begins this way for me – Opening Day nears, and I get outrageously excited. And then, as I sit through the first blowout loss, I suddenly remember “oh, yeah, sometimes these games suck.” Halfway through the first game, I’m poking through emails on my laptop.
The start of summer blockbusters is exactly the same for me – all throughout the spring, I see the trailers. Terrible horror movie after terrible horror movie comes out - I skip them all. As a result, I’m never at the movies, and I miss it – no sneaking from theater to theater, no smuggling in of food, no yelling out sarcastic things at yet another terrible Dwayne Johnson trailer. Instead, I wait for the summer blockbusters.
Naturally, watching the trailers, they all look amazing – dizzying fight scenes and pervasive explosions, and at the end of it you’re making note of the day it comes out so you can go to the midnight showing. And so when early May rolls around and you go to the first one, it’s not just a movie you’re going to see, it’s Opening Day for you. It’s the beginning of a whole summer of escapist fun.
And then, you see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and you remember “oh, yeah, sometimes these movies suck.” And it sucks the fun out of your whole summer.
With Wolverine, there were just so many things that went wrong. It wasn’t just that you could predict what was going to happen – it’s that you could predict it with such accuracy. There’s a moment where one of the characters – it’s not a spoiler, because you’ll see it immediately if you see the movie – takes a small step to her right, placing a window with a long, clear shot of the fields behind it directly behind her head. And before you can shout “quick, move, you easily replaceable one-dimensional character; before a sniper with superhuman accuracy shoots you through the head,” she’s dead.
It’s a shame, because the film begins with such promise – the Avengers-like fighting force that Wolverine joins at the beginning of the movie is oodles of fun – but quickly devolves into one man’s slow, explosion-filled quest to seek revenge on the men who took his love from him. Hugh Jackman’s quest to be the world’s Most-Ripped Actor ends up being the only effort in this movie that’s in any way successful.
Some things require a back story. How Wolverine got that bitchin’ leather coat is not one of them.