In the comic world, Wolverine the best there is at what he does. Why is it then, that in the movie world, I’m still waiting for him to do it the best? Both attempts, while enjoyable, have there ups and downs. But, which is the better film? Let’s give them a chance to scratch each others eyes out and see who comes out on top.
It appears that Gavin Hood was given two different films to make when he was hired to direct X-Men Origins. The first half is a more realistic style, with a little lighter on the CGI fair. While the second half was meant to be more of the “super hero” style, oversaturated with bad CGI and green screen. It gives the film a frustrating balance. Mangold was obviously given more of a long leash by Fox Studios when he shot The Wolverine and it allows the film to have more of a continuity throughout.
Hugh Jackman is absolutely fantastic in the role that has made him most famous and it is pointless to argue, so let’s look at the supporting cast. Origins re-introduces us to both Sabretooth and Stryker. The younger versions are portrayed brilliantly by each actor! Unfortunately, this is where the brilliance ends, as the rest of the characters suffer from bad casting, screenwriting, acting and in some cases all of the above. The Wolverine, on the other hand, almost seems the reverse. The supporting actors are all admirable in their roles, but the main protagonist Viper, is incredibly over the top in EVERY way. Her portrayal, lines and powers are ridiculous when she is on screen and it completely takes away from any sense of danger that our hero is supposed to be in throughout the film.
I found both film adaptations to adhere to their respective source material about the same. X-Men Origins does a fantastic job in the first hour, showing us where Logan comes from and what makes him the animal that he has become. The Wolverine does the same, as it spends the first hour showing Logan in all of his loner glory, who reluctantly agrees to rejoin civilization.
Harry Gregson-Williams finds a beautiful balance in his soundtrack for Origins. The sound finds an even flow, from haunting, to touching, to heroic and action packed. On the other hand, Marco Beltrami is quickly moving up my new favorites list, and his score for The Wolverine only helps that cause. The score obviously calls for a Japanese cultural sound. But, Beltrami never over does it and when the claws come out, so does the beserker sound.
THE END OF THE ROAD:
Both films start very strong, only to go out with a wimper. X-Men Origins has been beaten like a red headed step child since day one. The biggest gripe (and rightly so) has always been that the script took way too many liberties. Some, I am fine with. Creed and Logan being brothers for instance, gave more humanity to Logan’s character and I felt that it helped the story have alot more impact. However, it has always bothered me when characters step out of their realm, in regards to their ability. Gambit running up walls and doing side flips from building to building still makes my blood boil. The adamantium bullet theory and Dead Pool… that’s a whole other blog all together. What I am seeing in regards to The Wolverine however, is that no one seems to have a single problem with the same amount of ludicrous liberties that were taken. I have already mentioned Viper. But, by the end of the film, I was rolling my eyes at the complete shift of reality feel, as we are introduced to a 10 foot adamantium Silver Samurai and the hole drilling into the severed claws to “mwhahahaaa”, steal your power!
As I mentioned before, I find both films very enjoyable and with equal faults. The Wolverine is obviously aimed more towards a “Nolan” super hero style. More arthouse and realistic. It is a beautifully made tribute to traditional Japanese movies. But, these are precisely some of the reasons that would make me actually choose Origins over it. Much like my taste of Burton’s Batman films over Nolan’s, I just prefer my “comic” films to remain more in the fantastic world. If I am going to see fantastic and unbelievable things in my comic film, then I will not be swayed by it just being here and there or throughout. Origins, in my opinion, is simply more fun and entertaining throughout, making it very re-watchable. Being able to pop a movie in anytime is a big determining factor for me when it comes to a “good” movie. Understand me, I am NOT saying that Origins is a “better made” film. I am only saying that it was more entertaining throughout.