Also known as “really bad stuff people will buy with good money.”
Did you ever have the experience of being told often and without restraint to watch a certain movie because it was so awesome you will wonder how you ever were able to breathe and feel joy before it came into your life? And then did you finally see the film and become disappointed by the fact that it did not free you from your unending existential crisis? You tell your friends, “meh, it was ok.” To which they reply, “Yeah, I guess we built it up a bit too much.” After that you probably eat or drink something together and everything is smoothed over and you all agree in the unspoken language of friendship that it is once again safe to love and trust each other again.
Well, this isn’t about that. This is about the inexplicable instance of something being demonstrably awful and unfit for consumption, yet it rakes in millions of dollars in revenue and attracts a not inconsiderable following of deeply misguided fans. I recently had the misfortune to finally sit down and watch what is seemingly one of every Marvel fanboy’s favorite pictures. Yes, I am talking about 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Now, before I go any further, I want to remind my readers (all three of you – the two gentlemen a month behind in their news feeds who were brought here by the picture of the fat guy and a lion and also you, Special Agent Abernathy… I see you watching me) that the opinions expressed in this blog are just my opinions and are not in any way meant to be read as some sort of manifesto. Trust me, if I had the arrogance to assume I was somehow “right” about anything, I’d be running for a government job. Instead, I’m here talking out of my ass and seeing which way the wind takes it. Please relax and take all of my shenanigans with a grain of salt. I hope you get a kick out of it, but if not then the exits are clearly marked.
Now, back to Hugh Jackman’s crowning turd masterpiece. Turdsterpiece? Masterturd? Masturdpiece? Masturdpiece. Yes, I’m blaming Hugh Jackman for the simple reason that I can’t fathom this movie ever getting made without the presence of his pecs of screaming sex. He’ll just have to find a way to deal with my ire as he struggles to stay atop his mountainous pile of cash.
Honestly, I like Hugh Jackman and I respect that he wanted to give Wolvie fans the full treatment the character deserved, but… Folks, this movie is full of so much crap it’s still being shown in German porn theaters to this day. Its script makes Japanese game shows look predictable and staid. The cast is actually pretty good, but trying to hand me Liev Schreiber as some kind of selling point is like putting a new coat of paint on a twenty year old economy car. I mean, yeah it still runs, but does anyone even care?
All I kept hearing about this movie was how good a job it did of handling the characters and the backstory, by which they meant that it stuck closer to the comics than other superhero movies. Right away that should have been a red flag for me. Also, the fans trumpeted that its action sequences were much more faithful interpretations of the super-powers being portrayed and looked awesome to boot. I guess that should have been another red flag or three, but I like explosions as much as the next Michael Bay.
I guess the action sequences and acting were decent, but the story and overall writing didn’t leave much for the actors to work with. First off, there were so many mutants tossed into the film it felt like they were more the rule than the exception. I liked the first X-Men movie because it purposely did not do this. Also, if this is supposed to be so faithful to the comics, why isn’t Gambit a Cajun? Seriously, the guy has barely a trace of a patois, but in the comics it was written so thick it was obnoxious. Also, he’s supposed to be as obnoxious as he sounds. Oh well, I guess in movie-Marvel Universe we get bland Gambit. Ok.
But I must confess I’m not as intimately familiar with X-Men as most of my friends. Growing up, I always thought the heroes were too overpowered and ridiculous to warrant my attention. But with that being said, if Sabretooth is supposed to be Wolverine’s brother, why didn’t he recognize him in the first X-Men movie? Maybe he did – hard to tell since he didn’t have any actual lines. But that’s another thing. Why did he go from being a half-animal thug there to being a bloodthirsty criminal mastermind here? I know the comics get to play fast and loose with the stories and characters, but do the movies have to start doing it, too? And for the sake of giving Liev Schrieber some significant screen time? Seriously, what kind of dirt does this guy have on Hollywood execs to keep getting major roles?
But my biggest problems with the movie come in the script. I’m a writer, so I’m always going to be utterly unforgiving when it comes to plot holes and hack jobs. There are several things that bother me with the writing in Origins, but you’ve been real sports for sticking with me to this point, so I’ll just pick one and then wrap this up. When Logan escapes after having his skeleton changed to adamantium, Stryker (the guy who was responsible for doing it and thus making Logan “indestructible”) orders his best assassin to kill him. So… you just made an indestructible man and your first order is to destroy him? Ok… Having difficulty with the logic there, but who ya got? Some kind of mutant who blasts people with massive lasers firing from his eyes? No? Who then?
A… a gun? Against an indestructible man? Where were you planning on shooting him? In an active volcano, perhaps? Oh, well. Fine. It wasn’t hard to see how that was going to turn out, but to the filmmakers’ credit, they made it a memorable scene with a helicopter crash and explosions and Hugh Jackman looking badass and everything. But, get this. The very next scene. THE VERY NEXT SCENE… Stryker’s top sciency-looking dude tells him that Agent Zero really had no chance anyway because Wolverine can’t be killed with anything but this adamantium gun and bullets right here.
Say what? Why the hell didn’t you give Agent Zero, the world’s best gunman, that damn thing to begin with?!?!?! Wait… Oh, I see. You guys just didn’t like him. All right. That’s a pretty shitty thing to do to somebody, but I guess Stryker’s outfit isn’t all that interested in scruples anyway. But then several scenes later, they get together again and surmise that the gun actually can’t kill Logan even though they haven’t even tried it once! Supposedly, they deduce this from the thin air whereof the writers are apparently pulling the plot. So, Stryker decides that he can’t/doesn’t need to kill Wolverine, he just needs to erase his memories by shooting him in the… memory, I guess?
I couldn’t stop groaning and punching things for a solid hour after it ended. This film made almost 350 million dollars. It is an indefensible pile of shit on celluloid, but it somehow managed to collect more money from stupid people than most Nigerian princes (citation needed). I don’t have a problem with movies that I just can’t understand or appreciate making money – everyone has different tastes – but when shit that has been pooped out without regard for quality turns a profit it just makes me crazy.
And here’s where I bring it home: It’s exactly like the get-rich-quick ebooks I see constantly topping the Amazon bestseller list, and I’m not just talking about the plagiarized erotica novels. Those are certainly bad and the con artist “authors” need to be found and stripped of assets, clothing and a vital organ or two, but they’re just part of the problem. Even more scammers wait to steal your money in the form of those dreadful how-to books. People have been craving a simple cure-all since the dawn of upright sapiens and there have always been snake-oil salesmen out there to profit from their misfortune. Alas, it’s no different on the internet. Everyone is so ready to get a simple guide to tell them how to do anything (make money on the internetz, get a good job, put a baby to sleep, have more sex, etc.) that they’ll eagerly throw away $16.95 so a supposed “expert” can tell them how. Or, sort of how. Well, see, it really works if you just follow all the steps… at the right time… in the right way… and you cross your eyes and squint your fingers… and just believe that childhood superhero dreams are always right.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check me out on my good side: Spy for a Dead Empire is on sale for $0.99 until Wednesday, August 26th!