X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Big-budget cluster-fuck X-Men Origins: Wolverine comes out today, May 1st. I, like millions of others, watched the leaked prescreener, anxious to see how the movie compared to last year's Iron Man and of course, The Dark Knight. Those two films forever changed comic book movies, Iron Man with it's under the radar political commentary and Downey Jr.'s drunken Tony Stark, The Dark Knight with it's visual effects and the over rated, but still great, Heath Ledger Joker performance.
Comic book movies seem relatively simple to put together, the characters are already established, there are, in cases like these, thousands of story lines you could base your screenplay after, and hundreds of supporting characters you may chose to meet your film's needs. No one expects the movies to follow the same continuity as the comics, but we like hints the director knows what's going on-- little nerd "cameos" that get us excited. Continuity in film is where it starts to get a little tricky, and where Wolverine even has casual viewers asking nerdy continuity questions and sighing loudly.
It's no secret that Marvel has big plans for their "movie-verse" (which it's rumored will get it's own earth number, as in 616, 219, etc.) slowly connecting the films with things like Captain America's shield in Tony Stark's workshop and Nick Fury slowly making contact with the different heroes, for their big Avengers movie, scheduled for 2012. X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place before the three "X" movies, so when Wolverine meets young mutant Cyclops, it brings up questions about why they didn't know each other as adults? Small things like these seem insignificant, but also are telling of how disorganized the film feels.
The main issue with the movie isn't that it doesn't follow any kind of comic book or movie continuity, it's that Wolverine may be the most popular character Marvel has, and the movie isn't as good as the weekly Wolverine one-shots. The acting is almost on a Star Wars level of poor, it only has slightly better writing going for it, none of the performances stand out as the best because they are all sub-par. Any shocking cameo that would have been exciting have been taken away from us not by the leak, but by the promotional material itself.
The movie wasn't all bad, scenes of Creed (later Sabretooth) and Wolverine battling in the American Civil War and storming the beaches of Normandy during WW2 were visually impressive as well as told a narrative of their friendship before Creed goes "feral". The brotherhood they share (which in the film is literal, the two coming from the same parents) is finally shown, deepening the relationship between the two similarly powered mutants.
"Merc with a Mouth" Deadpool is the second most notable character to Wolverine, the Liefeldian trigger happy Weapon-X survivor is played by Ryan Reynolds, but instead of a terminal cancer patient, he's just a plain old mercenary. Once he actually becomes "Deadpool" he's referred to as "Weapon-XI", and instead of a healing factor, he's given the powers of all mutants, much more like the Dark Reign X-Man Mimic. The only reason this is something of note is the huge push that Deadpool has been getting the past few months, multiple comics, one-shots, and crossovers. Old fans will be disappointed and new fans won't understand the differences between the characters.
There are few scenes in the movie that have you revisiting the ideas behind them, and there is no motivation to see the movie twice. Even as a huge Wolverine fan I had a hard time getting through it, and felt only disappointment afterwards. The only the question that X-Men Origins: Wolverine presents is "How do you fuck up a Wolverine movie?"