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[personal profile] tommo
Saw Wolverine yesterday.

*I liked the movie for about the first 2/3, and then it went totally off the rails and sucked pretty hard for the last act.

*Hugh Jackman continues to be a great Wolverine.

*Actually, the casting was generally solid. Schreiber made a brilliant Sabertooth, Zero was pretty badass, Ryan Reynolds made a great Wade Wilson during the opening sequence, and I'd love to see him play a proper version of the character in a stand-alone film.

*The opening "break in" sequence where you get to see all the characters being cool and using their powers? That was fun :)

*You remember how I did a post a while back about hating it when movies manufacture a "last minute villain" using the same tech/magic/whatever that gives the hero their powers? Yeah, it's even more annoying when movies do that when THERE'S ALREADY A PERFECTLY GOOD VILLAIN WHO HAS A CONFLICT WITH THE HERO AND YOU'VE BEEN SETTING UP AN IMPENDING CONFRONTATION FOR THE ENTIRE FILM. Hell, you've got two established antagonists if you include Stryker. And you unnecessarily fuck up Deadpool in the process. Nice job.

*So, yeah, that's the "disappointing third act" I was referring to with dot point number 1.

*I liked the opening credits sequence, with all the little freeze-frame bits.

*I can't get used to de-aged Xavier. It just looks weird.

*Gambit was a bit of a non-event, but I didn't mind the actor portraying him. Hopefully they'll have some more of him in future films.

*I like how when someone with the power of suggestion tells you to walk until your feet bleed and then just keep on walking, it actually means "walk until someone talks to you, then just stop, it's cool."

*This film featured a lot of yelling at the sky. Once per film is enough.

*And someone actually said "I'm so cold" during their death scene. Nice one, Johnny McClichePants.

*I can't think of anything else worth mentioning.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Spinning decapitated eye lasering was amazing.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That did look awfully cool, but by that point I just didn't care anymore.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was actually wondering what the odds were that it'd spin so perfectly horizontally..

Date: 2009-05-04 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Me too! :)

Date: 2009-05-04 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and I love the fact that it cuts through concrete like butter, but when it hits Sabertooth he just gets "thrown back" by it.

Date: 2009-05-04 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm wondering why Sabertooth didn't get chopped into bite-sized pieces by Deadpool's adamantium swords when he was flashing back and fourth on the edge of the cooling tower.

Date: 2009-05-04 09:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It made me laugh out loud. It was like I'm spinning a perfect helter skelter type thing.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This film sounds like it falls into the "slightly interesting failure" category based on what most people are telling me.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a pretty good way to describe it. The first hour or so was really quite promising. If they'd just had some sort of Wolverine/Gambit vs Sabertooth/Stryker showdown, and had generally fixed up a few other crappy bits and pieces in the last 30 minutes, it could've been a whole lot better.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It surprises me that so many Hollywood flicks have those sorts of screenplay issues, i.e. they don't just do the obvious thing and provide the payoff, but instead stray in some peculiar, non-functional direction that derails everything in the exposition.

I wonder if it's screenwriters over-correcting ... trying to produce something clever or literary and just ending up with a stuck in the middle mish-mash of weak plot directions.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I suspect you're right. A lot of writers probably think too highly of themselves to just take the easy road and give the audience what they probably want to see.

Oh, and speaking of exposition - this had one of the best moments of horrible, clumsy exposition I've ever seen:

---another big spoiler coming up---

Stryker - "I'll shoot him with this adamantium bullet."
Lab assistant - "That won't kill him, he'll just regenerate."
Stryker - "No, but it will destroy, HIS MEMORIES!"

I'm not kidding...

Date: 2009-05-04 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Why didn't they give the magic bullets to the magic gun man? Ergh.

Date: 2009-05-04 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I nearly yelled that out loud in the cinema.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's incredibly bad -- I do wonder sometimes how things ever get that bad. Probably has to do with the whole "write by committee and then focus group" model.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I vaguely recall there were a few moments of really bad "We don't trust you to understand what we are implying, so we'll add some really explicit dialogue about it".

Date: 2009-05-04 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked how X3 managed to make things unpredictable by doing dumb shit instead of cleverly intertwining its plot lines.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
X3 sucked, hard.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Speaking from brief television experience, it's not screenwriters overcorrecting, it's execs and producers saying "we like this character, rewrite it so they're in it more" or "make that character funnier", or even "I like ice, can we set the climax somewhere where there's ice", and after rewrite after rewrite the writer loses perspective and forgets to think properly about what he/she is writing and whether or not it all fits together.

This particularly happens when producers/directors start forcing rewrites of the script while the film is shooting, or even going back six months later for a whole range of re-shoots - which is apparently something that happened with Wolverine.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, that sounds like my other from-position-of-complete-ignorance view of screenwriting which is the "too many cooks / focus group" thing mentioned above. Crazy-ass world. I suppose there are cases where the product is demonstrably improved, the credit just gets slated to the writers then?

Date: 2009-05-04 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The biggest problem is that the people ultimately in charge are the people with the money - the studio exec, the commissioning editor for the network, what have you. These people have often risen through the ranks of the commercial/financial side of the business, but now they're in charge of creative artists. Too many of them don't have the lack of ego to step out of the way and let the artists practice their art.

There's nothing worse, for example, than a TV exec who is in charge of comedy, but isn't actually funny themselves and thinks they are.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wait ... didn't you write a webcomic about studio execs? *g*

Mmm, yeah, well I've heard that story about many disastrously bad films, or damaged goods like the original cut of Bladerunner, but I do wonder if there have been many cases where the ego-driven "people savvy" interference of executives has actually saved a film from commercial failure.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
When Sam Mendes directed American Beauty (his first film), the first week of rushes were apparently abominable. There was talking of putting the film on hold, firing Mendes and bringing in another director, but instead Spielberg (one of the execs in charge) told Mendes not to worry about it, wrote off the first week and told him to start again.

12 months later, and American Beauty won Best Picture at the Oscars.

That's my favourite positive interfering exec story.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, but (a) you love Spielberg and (b) Spielberg is not a "bunny exec" but one of history's most celebrated directors.

I was looking more for an example featuring an exec with demonstrably none, or limited creative acumen. You know some hard-boiled, bottom line corporate / business guy who actually fulfils the fantasy and saves the floundering creatives from themselves by announcing "Forget it! Forget it! This film is about boy meets girl, remember that, you schmucks!?" (somewhere in there my required counterexample also speaks Yiddish).


Date: 2009-05-04 08:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lew Grade, who owned ITC, is a pretty classic example of a completely non-artistic exec who got the business and hired smart people to make clever shows. He was the only person willing to give Jim Henson the money to make The Muppet Show, for example, when nobody in the USA thought it had a chance.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Lew Grade" -- now that's a perfect spoof name for an executive on B-grade movies. Thank you for satisfying my curiosity with a perfect rags-to-riches hard-boiled Yiddish studio exec, however! Laughed at "it would've been cheaper to lower the Atlantic" as a quip re the failure of Raise the Titanic.

Date: 2009-05-04 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know the first hour was still pretty cliched.

And the trouble is, that we know Wolverine lives, we know he loses his memory and his girlfriend and we know he winds up with a freaky skeleton. So cliches that are normally kind of annoying, just really don't work.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*You remember how I did a post a while back about hating it when movies manufacture a "last minute villain" using the same tech/magic/whatever that gives the hero their powers?
I don't actually recall a post like that, but it does vaguely irritate me, too. Maybe not 'hate', but.. yeah. Oddly, I was about to type 'not a fan of mirror bad guys', but I realised that I'm not totally against it. So it really must be something about the 'last-minute-made-like-but-bigger/uglier/better-than-you' variety of mirror bad guy.

Suddenly I'm thinking about Hulk, or Ironman.

*I like how when someone with the power of suggestion tells you to walk until your feet bleed and then just keep on walking, it actually means "walk until someone talks to you, then just stop, it's cool."
Heh. On the suggestion thing, I did have slight issues with her saying that she could've made him pull the trigger on himself, but it would make her too much like him. Or something to that effect. So instead, she proceeds to order him to go and (what I'd thought at the time) not die right now, but suffer horribly with the walking and the bleeding stumps and stuff. Because apparently that's better? (Turns out it was, since, as you'd pointed out, it was negated when someone came for a chat.)

Oh. But even then, I still didn't mind the film. I didn't feel it was horribad, but then as you know, I'm fairly forgiving of things even when I am picking them to pieces.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Suddenly I'm thinking about Hulk, or Ironman.

Those are quite precisely the two films I had in mind when I made said post :)

I also had the same reaction to the "I'm not bad, so I'll horribly torture you to death instead of killing you quickly" thing.

Date: 2009-05-04 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That didn't bother me so much because those villains (Ironmonger and Abomination) are actual villains from the comics whereas THAT'S NOT DEADPOOL. The whole "a heroes powers turned against them" is a pretty common comic plot I think cause it basically shows it's the person that makes them a hero not the abilities so on so forth, blah blah :P

Off the top of my head, Venom also fits that story, and a whole mess of Hulk badguys.

Date: 2009-05-04 07:53 am (UTC)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_sqbr
Heh. You've inspired me to rant in my lj about what I ranted to cam about after the film.

Anyway, re your rant..yeah, the conclusion didn't have a lot of emotional punch.
And young Xavier looks way more wrong than old Xavier would. Afaict Cyclops should have been like 6 at the time of the film so it's not like they were making a huge effort on age continuity anyway.


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