Monday, May 11, 2009

Wolverine: Eh, Good Enough....

As I sat through Wolverine, a line from another movie came to mind. Not a line from "X-Men," though, as you might expect. Not even a line from another Superhero movie, nor even one from a blockbuster summer hit.

No, it was a line from "Sideways," spoken by Paul Giamatti to describe a rather bland wine at an all-too-corporate winery: "Quaffable, but far from transcendant."

Some movies are made because they have a good story to tell, and they want to tell it well.

Others are made because they know they can still milk the public, after having given them a few good offerings in the past.

This movie falls into the latter category.

I mean, it was OKAY, I guess. They blew crap up and they had fist and blade fights, and that's always cool. I like flashes of light and loud noises and wisecracking superheroes, and they sure gave me a lot of that.

I like Marvel, too, and up until now I have always enjoyed their approach to movie making. I mean, this is truly the era for comic book movies, with the advances in CGI animation and special effects. Gone are the hokey man-flying-on-a-fishline special effects of the past. Now you can count on everything looking realistic enough for the movie-goer to almost forget you're even using any special effects.

Which is probably part of the problem. You can't just wow me with cool looking stuff anymore. You have to give me a good story.

This was an adequate story. I mean, it gave me Wolverine's background, which in the end was about all it promised, right? He's apparently like 170 years old or something, and got himself a super-alloy-coated skeleton (complete with Edward Scissorhands) in a fit of revenge. And he got duped by his own brother, and then caused the Three-Mile-Island meltdown in the 70's. Hey, who knew?

But it left me feeling a little duped. As if they figured, "Well, just write something, throw it out there, count the money, and hurry up and cash in on whatever characters worked before people realize we're just cranking out crap."

If you have any doubt about this, just look at the plans Marvel cranked out immediately following "Wolverine's" huge $85 million weekend: another Wolverine sequel, as well as a spin-off featuring Deadpool, known in this film as Weapon 11, and also a Magneto sequel, plus another X-Men featuring younger mutants-- are you feeling a little sick of X-Men already? Yeah, me too- and that's just READING about these films.

Well, movie-making is a business, after all, and I guess I can't gripe about that. Like any business venture, they look at what makes them millions and they run with it.

And like I said, it was pretty good. I got a couple of hours off from thinking about unemployment or woman troubles.

I give it a 6 and a half. Good enough.

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