It wasn't entirely Hood's fault, though, was it? I seem to recall reading several stories during production and shortly after the film came out that Fox screwed with him quite a bit.
I just spent a few minutes searching for a specific article that I recall reading around the time of X3 that talked about a specific Fox exec overseeing the X-Men franchise who was often in conflict with Bryan Singer over the first film and was basically pushed aside for Singer to have free reign when X2 went into production. Unfortunately, I can't find that article now but I seem to recall it also mentioning that he was able to reassert his control over the franchise once Singer was out of the picture and I feel like he was one of the driving forces behind the Wolverine mess.
I wish I could find that article so I wouldn't sound so speculative and vague about my recollections. I keep feeling that it was Tom Rothman, co-chair and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, but I can't verify that since I can't find the article. I'm posting all of this anyways because I figure that if anyone would have a good memory of what I'm trying to talk about, it would be you, JA.
Well, it is true that 20th Century Fox has been notorious in their meddling of their productions including their comic-book properties such as X-Men and the Fantastic Four. They short-changed Bryan Singer on the first two movies in many ways, from cutting back time, budget, resources and basically making it nearly impossible for Singer to do some of the things he really wanted to do (for example, he wanted Sentinels, the Danger Room and other characters in X2
but they were cut; several origin sequences and characters had to be removed from X-Men
because of time and budget restraints).
They were also stingy when it came to negotiations for X-Men 3
which is one of the main reasons why Bryan Singer jumped ship to Warner Bros. WB has a solid reputation especially as of late for providing directors with the creative freedom to do the types of films they want to do (Christopher Nolan is a prime example) and the freedom and flexibility they gave Singer (Carte blanche, basically) was something he didn't have with the X-Men movies.
There were reports that Gavin Hood and Tom Rothman were having difficulties on X-Men Origins: Wolverine
. There were rumors, which were somewhat validated by Hood, that Fox was feeling skeptical about Hood's abilities and flew in Richard Donner to do some second unit work on some of the action sequences and other scenes (Lauren Shuler-Donner, wife of Richard Donner, said that Richard Donner was merely flown in as a "consultant"). It's telling that Hood was not offered to come back for Wolverine 2
(allegedly he was willing). Rothman has been a thorn in many filmmakers' sides. He was a big part of the reason why Singer departed X3
. Alex Proyas said after directing I, Robot
that unless of a regime change he would never do another movie for 20th Century Fox again.
However, Singer and Rothman have since ironed out their differences. Clearly, though, Rothman didn't iron out his differences with Gavin Hood. Still, even with a lot of the limitations that Singer had with the first two movies, he still managed to make good
movies. The fact that Rothman invited Singer back to the X-Men universe is highly indicative that they realize this. So while Hood doesn't deserve full blame, he was the director. Many directors working within the confines of the studio system encounter inference and problems, but that's a part of the game. Clearly Hood didn't have the stamina or prevalence to stick it out and at the very least make a decent movie. There is no excusing a bad movie on the level of X-Men Origins: Wolverine