Those who’ve braved Catwoman have nothing to fear from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. If Catwoman is a flesh-eating bacteria, Wolverine is only a case of man-flu. Yes, the movie is bad, and full of A-Team action sequences. Yes, it was written by a ten-year-old. Yes, it may land Hugh Jackman back doing dinner theatre. But it’s not Catwoman. Nor is it Supergirl. You won’t be left dumbfounded that intelligent human beings created it. Only mildly disappointed, that we’re back where super hero movies were in the 80s… disjointed script, schizoid tone, unconvincing effects and a cast like a C-list celebrity pirate ship.
Are all epic movies camp? Or is it just that we’re daunted by scale these days? I don’t imagine Cecil B. DeMille worried if his movies were camp. And I can’t see camp accusations giving Joe Mankiewicz any sleepless nights. But these days – when we’re practically born knowing what the “snails and oysters” scene in Spartacus is about – any movie reaching for something big seems camp to us. Australian director Baz Luhrmannn has based his entire career on camp; whether it be ballroom dancing or Shakespeare – he always winks. In Australia, he’s created a camp national epic. But knowingness is dangerous if you want to raise more than a smirk.
What goes through a movie star’s head when they’re acting in a really generic movie? Are they hoping: maybe it’s not as bad as I think? Or do they know, even as they schlep through yet another tired and derivative scene, that the scene is tired, and derivative, and that some things you just do for money… for a new boat. Deception (the new erotic thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman) is so formulaic it needn’t even have been made. The producers could have written on the poster: “just think of [blank] and save yourself some money!” and even if nothing came to mind, you would be more thrilled than if you’d sat through this machine-tooled piffle.