For when “dislike” just doesn’t cut it…











{May 3, 2009}   The portrayal of Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

There is something about superhero movies that turn me into a gushing fan girl. Usually, it’s the way a certain character (usually not the fan favourite) is portrayed that makes or breaks an adaptation for me… Gary Oldman’s James Gordon in the Batman movies, Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl and Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias… they did justice to their roles and made up for all the ending changes and the throwaway one-liners.

I was so hella stoked to see the Wolverine movie, mostly because I knew it couldn’t get worse than X-3 (I’m sorry, is my bias showing?). I knew there would be cool action scenes and that I’d like it at least a little more than the average person. I did. I thought it was fun. I thought it was mostly well-acted and that the action scenes were awesome (albeit a little too Mortal Kombat in some places). I thought they mostly did justice to the characters.

I say mostly because there’s one exception: my lover, Gambit. They really dropped the ball on bringing Remy LeBeau to life. I think part of it was the fault of the actor, Taylor Kitsch, and the rest fell on the director, Gavin Hood.

My problems were:

  • His accent, or lack thereof. Gambit has a sexy Creole accent. It’s very thick, and as trademark to him as a kinetically charged playing card. Taylor could not for the life of him do one convincingly. At first he tried and it came out as some kind of southern robot. “That-de-pends-do-ah-owe-you-mon-ey?” After his first exchange with Hugh Jackman, he drops it completely and just sounds like a teenage boy again. Couldn’t Gavin Hood have said, “Um… can you maybe TRY to stay in character?!”
     
  • His card manipulation ability is deplorable. He tries a few (not entirely enough, but that’s the next point) and they are so obviously done by computers. Kevin, while waiting for the film to start, showed more impressive card tricks than the movie did with its blatant CG effects. Gambit is AWESOME, and his abilities with a deck of cards are definitely part of the characterization they wanted to emphasize. Fail.
     
  • As a follow up to my previous point, he throws very few cards at all. There was an over-reliance on his quarterstaff (actually, it’s a buck and a quarter quarterstaff, but I’m not telling him that!) but amid all the coat-flapping and metal-meets-metal noises, it really doesn’t *look* impressive. (I guess because they think it looks cooler than EXPLOSIONS!?)
     
  • Not much of a spoiler, but Wolverine beats him far too easily far too early in the film. In the comics (or even cartoon!), the Ragin’ Cajun would NOT be beaten in a minute – he is a street thief trained in Savate and specialized in hand-to-hand combat. I don’t care how overpowered you make Wolverine… I guess the one nerdy thing I can think of to explain it is that Stryker is not just filling that role, but also the role of Mister Sinister (who, in the comics, decreased Gambit’s power at his request so that he could remain more anonymous).
     
  • Where are his glowing red and black eyes? They flashed during the fight very briefly, and then went back to being *~*pritty*~*. His eyes are the whole reason he lives the way he does in the first place! (I know this isn’t “X-Men Origins: Gambit,” but still!)
     
  • Admittedly, what REALLY bothered me the most was that it was blatant fan service to even include him. He doesn’t actually play a role in Wolverine’s origin – he’s too young! He was cut from X-2. He was cut from X-3. His role is so minor, and they managed to screw up not just the character, but the continuity if they ever want to use him again. If they want him in a continuation of the trilogy (which they would have to if they want to do the Rogue coupling or anything involving his work with the X-Men), he’ll have to be played by someone who’s 40. Anna Paquin’s whiny bitch Rogue would not go for him, despite the sexual tension that taught nine-year-old me to make seven-card stud jokes.

I guess my boyfriend, who dressed up as Gambit for the film’s release, set the bar a little too high. I guess $130 million can’t compete with a $45 leather trench coat.

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Banshee says:

I disagree with you, I thought Gambit was one of the few characters the movies got right, he was amazing, the actor portrayed him so well.

Although his accent slipped near the end, but surprisingly it didn’t bother me as I thought it would.

I definitely think he was one of the best things in that mediocre movie.



[…] was happy to see Gambit on screen, but some people had objections. I don’t know a whole lot about Deadpool, but I understand fans of the […]



Phoenix says:

hi there,

Quick correction… Gambit actually was performing the card sleights. The scene of which the cards continually flew into Hugh- ok of course they were cgi, however, the initial ace that lead that pack in slow mo, the flicking of cards over the head into a fan, the thumb spinner dealing, and the flick of the spinner card into Hugh was real.

I know, I trained him & decided what effects we used & for what- the issue with cg was that I felt it would appear as though more was cgi when it in fact was his skill.

He is a natural with cards & owned the scene whilst manipulating them.

Heres hoping we are able to reveal more sleights in future mov’s.

Phoenix



Allegra says:

Thank you for the correction, Phoenix. I know how much practice goes into mastering a sleight. I stand by what I said, but knowing that Taylor performed some of his own sleights lends some credibility.



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