X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated May 10th, 2009 at 9:39 am,

Short version: While not exactly great, Wolverine is better than X-Men 3 and is a decent start to the 2009 Summer movie season.

wolverine review X Men Origins: Wolverine Review
Screen Rant reviews X-Men Origins: Wolverine

So it’s finally here… The next X-Men movie, Wolverine. There’s been MUCH controversy surrounding this film (at least to fans of the comic book titles) – certain characters injected into the film that shouldn’t be there (a young Cyclops, for example), the height difference between Wolverine and Sabretooth (silly, in my opinion), whether Gambit would have an appropriate Cajun accent, and the biggie: The depiction of “Deadpool” (played by Ryan Reynolds).

For details and reader comments on all this check out this summary post of the Wolverine controversies.

In addition to that we had the April Fool’s day bombshell of a workprint of the movie making its way onto the internet. Would this hurt the box office? Early opening weekend ticket sales indicate that it probably didn’t.

Wolverine follows the life of James Logan from a young boy (in the late 1800s?), through (briefly) a number of wars and takes us through his adamantium skeleton implantation and right up until the point where he loses his memory. As a young boy, we discover that the older boy (Victor Creed) who will become Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) is actually Logan’s brother.

After a death, the boys go on the run and during the opening title sequence we watch as they fight side by side in a number of wars. During this sequence (which is quite possibly the coolest thing in the entire film) we watch as Victor becomes more and more bloodthirsty as Logan tries to hold him back. Eventually it culminates in the murder of an officer, and the army attempts to execute them both. Too bad both of them have regenerative healing powers and can’t be easily killed.

This is where William Stryker (Danny Huston) comes in and offers them the chance to “really serve their country.” Here is where we meet the other members of Stryker’s team: Agent Zero (not clear on his power), Wade Wilson (assassin with healing ability already?), John Wraith (teleporter), Frederick J. Dukes (future Blob and incredibly strong and resilient) and Bolt (telekinetic powers).

They go on a mission, things get out of hand, and Logan bails on the team. Six years later we find him living in Washington state as a logger with a beautiful woman in a lone cabin. Things look good, but of course they don’t last. One thing leads to another and Logan goes back to Stryker, who wants to turn him into a super-weapon. Logan agrees if he can get revenge on Sabretooth – and warns Stryker that he is now the animal that Stryker always said he was.

As indicated in the previous X-Men movies, things do NOT go well directly after the adamantium implantation, but it is pretty cool to see exactly what went down during and after the procedure.

In order to track down Sabretooth he comes across John Wraith again and the (now) Blob, where we get a bit of a funny scene between the two. From there he seeks out Gambit who, yes, has a slight Cajun accent (almost unnoticeable). [MINOR SPOILER AHEAD] A battle soon ensues between Sabretooth and Wolverine, which is for some bizarre reason interrupted by Gambit, allowing Sabretooth to escape. Within the context of the story and considering Gambit’s reaction to the mention of Victor Creed, it didn’t really make any sense to me. [END SPOILER]

Eventually Wolverine makes it to the secret base where a bunch of mutants who could very well be the cast of the in development film X-Men: First Class. He runs into Weapon XI (previously Wade Wilson aka Deadpool) and the big final beat-down ensues.

So after all this, what’s the verdict?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not that bad. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty decent – IF you’re not a hardcore fan of the comic book universe. If you’re a fan (which I’m not, really) I’d say all of your fears about characters and their relationships will be realized in the film.

From what I’ve read, fans are going to be pretty mad about the depiction of Wade Wilson (I don’t want to call him Deadpool, since he doesn’t seem to be that character yet) in the film. There’s also the issue of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Wolverine having met prior to the events of the first X-Men film.

Some of the “adamantium claws” CGI was pretty poor. Why, I have no idea since I thought the claws looked pretty darned good in the previous films. Did the maybe go from mainly mechanical effects to poorly done CGI? Also, with two primary characters using claws to basically rip, shred, stab and disembowel their opponents, the lack of a single drop of blood being shed is highly noticeable and ridiculous. Ane the way in which Wolverine loses his memory… it’s not the actual way in which he loses it, but the certainty on the part of Stryker that it will work that seemed pretty silly.

There was also a scene early on where Agent Zero reloads a couple of handguns in the most ridiculous way possible – I actually laughed out loud when it happened, and that was not the intention of the scene. Then again, that could just be because I’m pretty familiar with handguns.

As to Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, I’m conflicted. I think Reynolds was a good casting choice, but especially considering that they supposedly went back and added more shots with him, he didn’t have much face time as himself (as opposed to Weapon XI). He got off a couple of minor zingers, but nothing really substantial as far as wisecracks. He did have a very cool scene early on in the film however, where he gets to show off his skills.

So what was good? Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber were great – both individual and when sharing scenes. Some of the action was pretty great, especially the few scenes where Gambit was utilized (would’ve liked to have seen more of that). I also really liked Lynn Collins as Logan’s love interest. Oh, and Wolverine is no longer the “wuss” he was being turned into more and more with each subsequent X-Men film – here he is a bad-ass once again.

Overall X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a not-very-deep, surface-level kind of movie where you don’t really get drawn into the characters very much (although I imagine that’s what director Gavin Hood was trying to accomplish). You just don’t get to know the characters very well outside of Wolverine. Even with all the screen time given to Creed, he still seems one-dimensional (at least until the very end of the film). It’s not as good as the first two X-Men films, but it’s better than X-Men 3.

However if you’re not hung up on the comic book details and don’t look for too much from it, I think you’ll enjoy the film as an action-packed popcorn movie, and a decent opener to the 2009 Summer blockbuster movie season.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. It’s taking a real beating on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes…

  2. Yeah. I can see how it might – I just enjoyed it much like you probably enjoyed Transformers. I didn’t take it too seriously although I’m sure I’m going to get a LOT of grief for this review…


  3. vic,

    which ending did you see after the credits?

  4. I think Vic is going VERY easy on this movie, haha. I think I’m about as excited for this as I am Transformers. Which means I won’t watch it unless dragged there by friends, and it seems I might be because my friend is telling me she really wants to watch Wolverine… ugh…

    Oh well, hopefully this 3.5/5 review means that it isn’t painful to watch at least.

  5. Vic,

    Careful, by making the Transformers connection, I don’t think I can bring myself to go see this now.

    Oh well, May is still going to rock hard between Star Trek, and Up, both of which are getting much more advance buzz than Wolverine. Pixar and J.J. Abrams have both earned enough street cred with me to allow myself to get a little more excited for their work and believe the buzz is probably true.

  6. I’m excited (and scared) to see what they did to Terminator. That’s another thing to look forward to in May in my opinion. Up looks pretty funny. “We’ll never be lost… oops…”

  7. and third spiderman…also a complete disapointment. and wow, after reading…its really too bad i didn’t care enough to spell check that.

  8. Well I hope I have the same thoughts about this movie that you did Vic, cause I am not a huge X-Men fan so I am just looking for a good movie, I don’t know crap about any of these guys when it comes to comic book history or anything. A good movie and a good start to what looks like a helluva summer of movies is all I was hoping for out of this one, and if I have the same thoughts as Vic then it served it’s purpose imo.

  9. possible

    I didn’t like the movie as much as you did, Vic. I was not familiar with Gambit, Deadpool, and the others. I was sort of LOST as to who Dominic Monaghan was and what his power was. Could I have missed him as the team was in Africa?

    I didn’t get, Gambit and his super-stick. I thought it was going to be a cameo by the Son of Odin. Is that another power? I heard SO MUCH about Deadpool and saw his great uniform, only to never see it in the movie. So he goes from Weapon XI to Deadpool?

    The skimmed past too much story. The opening event that makes the brothers flee just flew by too quickly. How about establishing the relationship so that there’s a sense of loss?

    Random: Why didn’t Wolverine smell his girlfriend 20 feet away at the Island?

  10. Personally, I think you’re being awfully kind on this one, Vic. ;o)

  11. i dislike this movie! even a Steven Seagal movie is better! i’m not a purist but a better scenario,a good director and better Fx would be great!

  12. I rest my case…

  13. I’m not a comic book fan. I’ve never read any, but I’m still rather pissed about what they’re doing to the characters and universe. Fox just can’t let a proven vision be. They have to make everything “better.”

  14. Looks like this will come and go pretty quickly.

    I’d be real surprised if this makes 90 mil by Sunday.

  15. I’m hearing that there’s a Deadpool scene after the end credits… ???

  16. I thought it was better in some areas than X3, but not on an emotional level where X3 was a gazillion times better. Whereas scenes in X3 like the Xavier/Jean fight stand out as memorable because they are emotionally-driven with powerful music, nothing in this stands out as memorable because it’s not at all deep or substantial.

    Also, Bolt is not a telekinetic – his specific power is to manipulate electrical equipment(hence his name). He may do so mentally, as do all mutants with their powers, but he’s not a telekinetic.

  17. Okay, many people will not like me for this, but I loved it. Sorry, but I did.

    I got exactly what I expected, a fun action flick. If you wanted some deep and enlightened experience you watched the wrong movie. Its a comic flick, what did you expect to see?

    Anyhow, one thing I did not expect was the secret ending for Deadpool. If any of you read the Deadpool comics, its perfect.

    Now that I have upset the purists, I’m off to re-watch the rest of the X-Men movies again.

  18. All right, listening to the talk it’s convinced me, I’ll wait until it shows up at the library and get it for free. While I’m not quite a “purist” as some it sounds more and more like the licensed characters were bought and a story vaguely similar was made.
    What’s next, the movie where it turns out Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees were brothers, the illegitimate sons of Freddy Kruger and they are eventually brought together to prevent the Alien face-hugger that rode to earth with the crash of the first Transformer who was fleeing a Predator who was under the orders of a Sith Lord to prevent the Spice from ever leaving the AraaKis system to prevent the rise of the Dark Gods of Cuthulu from taking place….

    Established characters, established storylines, established details. Minor embellishments to aid story flow, fine. Rewriting the Bible so that Adam and Eve are racing to get on the Ark before the floodwaters come? Not so cool.

  19. After watching the leak and then watching the release, the hype the studios were pushing about changing thing in the film are utter crap! They didn’t change anything that I noticed. You know Hollywood can screw up any good story. If the proper director is given full control of his film then we get good and decent attempts, Spiderman1, 2, Xmen 1,2, FF4 2., Iron Man. The problem is Hollywood thinks they can write the characters better than the original creators.


    These stories were fine and popular in their original forms. All Hollywood has to do is transfer from comic to screen with very little if any manipulation needed. But those guys just can’t do it. They have to screw with the stories to make them “interesting”. They do this because we all know that when they try to write original “mutant powers” we end up with Push.

    Vic you were way to easy on this pile, it’s edited together like a bunch of individual scenes instead of a flowing movie, reminds me of how they edited FF4 1. Why did they make him a logger? Why is he living in America, he’s Canadian? Why is he fighting with the American Army? Get the man involved with the Alpha Flight and show me Sasquatch, Puck and Snowbird! Now there is a origin story for you.

    The problem with Wolverine is that the whole origin could have been told in 15 to 20 minutes as a series of flashbacks or scenes streamed together as in the opening credits. This would have left at least an hour to dedicate to bad-ass action and interaction with other mutants from the Marvel Universe and that would have been totally acceptable.

    Good job Hollywood. Way to promise big expectations and delivers sub-par results.

  20. @ T

    When do thos tickets go on sale??

  21. The “no-blood” issues, throughout the film, made the film almost cheezy in my opinion. I’m well aware that nobody was actually being decapitated or stabbed for real, but why spend a hundred million bucks on special effects, and then TOTALLY leave out the blood, aside from the animal blood dumped on the girl? I mean, healing factors aside, and many of the cast did NOT have that, they should at least have had blood on the blades after each use. Horrible mistake in my opinion, for a movie that is basically a slash-fest. Let me get this straight; you can show people getting hacked and decapitated, but can’t show any human RED? Ughhh.

  22. Sorry to post twice, but I just read yet ANOTHER post saying, like the apologies for so many other action flicks, “it’s a comic book movie, what did you expect?”

    Well, lemme sum it up: for the hundreds of MILLIONS they put into it, along with assembling a REAL HUMAN CAST, I expect a heck of a lot more. Like you would in any other type of movie. “NUFF SAID.

  23. First off. This movie is terrible. Why is it that 9/10 super hero films are brutal. I could go on and on but I’m sure real fans will agree.

    Second of all, Wolverine was never living in Washington State. He’s Canadian. He even says it in the film. He starts off in the Northwest Territories and ends up a logger in an undisclosed palce in the “Canadian Rockies” as stated in the film.

    Just wanted to give props to the homeland. Maybe they’ll make a abetter film next time. Doubtful though.

  24. @Gambit

    I don’t know how long you’ve been on screenrant, but I’ve finally found someone who I’m in complete agreement with. Your assesment of virtually every Marvel film was dead on. To expound a bit, didn’t you find the Punisher War Zone reboot completely unnneccessary? The Tom Jane Punisher was a great flick, despite is faults. The new one was God awful. The Incredible Hulk was an awesome reboot however. And I don’t see why Daredevil catches so much crap. Despite Farrell’s over acting, Garner’s non-acting, and Affleck being miscast(I didn’t mind him that much in the scope of things) it was a good movie. The cathedral fight scene was wayyyyy stupid, but otherwise good movie. I don’t have a problem with who played Kingpin because it actually gave the character more levels than previous adaptations. Storywise, it fit, and its hard to find a guy that size that’s believable.

  25. @Matt K

    I saw the Deadpool ending.


    No, what I said was I didn’t understand why Gambit acted the way he did during the fight between Sabretooth and Wolverine AFTER noting his reaction to Creed being mentioned.

    @Charles Darwin

    Adding blood would have pushed this to an R-rating.


    Wolverine is pretty mucht the most brutal superhero out there, outside of maybe Punisher.


  26. Upon further reflection I’ve decided to downgrade this from a 3.5 to a 3.

    Again, I may have gone easy on it just because my expectations going in were abysmally low.


  27. Thanks for the review Vic. I’m planning on seeing this tomorrow with my 3 sons (I feel like creating flubber or smoking a pipe :-) ) and my daughter. Since there’s no blood, I feel OK for my 10 and 11 year old. My expectation is a bit low because of this review and rottentomatoes %41. I know little about Deadpool but I do know alot about Wolvie. Did you stay till the very end?

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