X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Published 5 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
(Good)

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TAGS: 3 star movies, the wolverine

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  1. @ Brodie Bruce

    THAT PIMP CANE WAS HOT!!!!! THE HAT WAS NOT!!!!!

  2. I liked his hat so I’ll go from my 3.5 to 4

  3. OMG Vic it makes so much since now. Deadpool is 1 of my fav mutants and I loved the news of Renolds being cast but then pissed when there was 0 footage of him in his trademark costume. I became even more frustrated when I saw the bald guy with no shirt. But I saw the film and it hit me that not until he is horribly disfigured did he need 2 wear that full body suit. And he broke the 4th wall just as he always should. Which makes me long 2 see Ryan Renolds suit up in a future installment

  4. People really need to stop ragging on Gambit. Seriously. As a Gambit fangirl who fell in love with him through the Xtreme X-Men universe and promptly wikipediad the relationship between him and Rogue, I thought every one involved in the movie handled Gambit surprisingly well.

    They could have used that craptastic excuse of “Artistic Creativity” for Gambit and butchered him royally. They could have skipped the red eyes completely and ditched the accent entirely. But they didn’t. A genuine Cajun accent is very difficult to replicate. And when it actually happens, how many of you will actually recognize it? When a really good accent popped up, I myself actually had to go look it up. That was from the medic in the French town in Band of Brothers.

    Kitsch did really try. You could hear it in his “bs” and “ds” when Logan first met him in New Orleans. However, his problem was consistency; Kitsch totally ditched it on the helicopter ride. It didn’t amuse me, but what can you do?

    I liked the hat a lot; it fit Gambit’s persona to me. For those of you whining about the lack of a headband to push up his hair; that wouldn’t have looked very good on the big screen. When he didn’t have the hat, his hair looked a bit flat. So I didn’t mind it for the 20 seconds it was in there. It was a great prop for Taylor to use, and he utilized it well.

    That said, there was really only one complaint I had about Gambit (besides the way he entered and exited the scenes, but that has to do more with the plotline): not a single french catchphrase came out of his mouth. Seriously, he had a few good chances to throw in a “mon ami” or two. But he didn’t. However, that can be fixed easily if Gambit gets his own movie.

    As far as the movie as a whole, I have only one thing to say:

    Attn Marvel Studios:

    Please buy back the X-Men franchise from Fox, and make these movies the RIGHT way. I, as a passionate fan, am so sick of seeing so many of my beloved characters butchered along with the plotlines. Fox has shown time and time again that they don’t deserve to own the franchise.

    Sincerely,

    Becca

    PS Emma Frost as Silverfox’s daughter? Seriously? And the sparkles was so dumb, they could have done that better. Like the claws. Why did they make the claws CGI? They did NOT look like they came from Logan’s knuckles and they were irrationally shiny.

    At least they got the dark tone right. It’s about time that happened.

  5. @ Richard

    hat made Him look like Wimpy from the Popeye Cartoons. HAT = – 0.5

  6. As far as Deadpool, I watched an interview with Ryan Reynolds when he was promoting “Adventureland.” Ryan was ticked off with the direction they took Wade Wilson/Deadpool. I was pretty pleased when I heard that, because that tells me he’s a passionate fan that’s read the comics, who was intending on portraying the character as accurately as possible, “Artistic Creativity” be d*mned. Give Reynolds a Deadpool movie with him controlling the character, and I really think that Ryan will bring Deadpool to life and make the most hardcore fanboys quite happy.

  7. becca Umm Emma was Silver fox’s sister not her daughter.

  8. Yup, sister not daughter. I loved the scene with all the mutants locked up, it was like a little scavenger hunt for me lol.

    Spoiler warning???

    I loved how they showed Quicksilver’s power. I hope they still make him Magneto’s son.

  9. Whoa. You’re right. Ha ha, whoops, my bad. Sorry about that.

    And where was Quicksilver in all of this?

  10. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    He was in one of the cages, his whole body was being held by ropes and you can see him struggling to get out. BTW, did anyone see Stan Lee? I didnt see him, i thought he was gonna have a cameo :(

  11. @oscar
    Stan lee was probably busy playing the “uncaged edition” of the wolverine game… With all the gore and stuff. They change the story up a bit in the game though… And show you alot of the stuff that “really” went down in africa…game is awesome. As is the hat on gambit… In my opinion that is… Someone that wears hats like that.

  12. @ Jago

    DOWN WITH THE HAT.

  13. DOWN AS IN REMOVAL NOT ACCEPTABLE.

  14. The movie was decent, but not decent enough. I definitely agree that hat was terrible. All you fanboys/girls would have seriously been pleased to see Gambit fighting in that hat? Twirling his baton (yes I know its staff ) as he floats down looking like a failed Malcom McDowell from a Clockwork Orange? I think not. Definitely was not pleased with some of the claw CGI bone and adimantium. Hope there is an extended or director’s cut planned for release.

    @ SIN

    LOL Wimpy from Popeye.

  15. ^^^^He wouldn’t have been able to fight in that thing anyway. The hat was on for 20 seconds. So what was the big deal?!

    My point is that Gambit was portrayed very well, when it could have been absolutely horrible.

    Like Deadpool’s ending.

  16. The Game was definately better than the movie. I’m playing it now and it’s pretty bad ass. I mean in the first 2 minutes of the game Wolverine jumps on a helicopter punches through the glass yanks a guy out and hold him up so the blades chop off the dudes head. Sweet ass game. Violent as all hell like Wolverine should be.

  17. @ Becca

    The big deal is that it was UGLY and pointless. Didn’t make him look regal or established one bit. Sorry but I am one the many who disagree with character choice for Gambit. I’d rather have seen Olivier Gruner or another French guy play him (since it appeared to be difficult to find some one with some what of a cajun accent) play him. I don’t hear too many of the “fanboys/girls” getting up up in arms about his staff not being adimantium or extendable, but are so quick to defend that silly hat.

    “Adamantium as key component
    Adamantium is used as the key component in several instances in the Marvel Universe, including:
    Agent Zero’s combat knife
    The outer skin of some of Alkhema’s robotic bodies
    Battlestar’s shield
    Bullseye’s spinal column and some strips coating several of his bones.
    Constrictor’s original wrist-mounted, prehensile metal coils
    Cyber’s claws and skin
    A unique set of Doctor Octopus’ arms
    Hammerhead’s skull plate
    The outer layer of Citizen V’s rapier
    Lady Deathstrike’s skeleton and talons
    One of Mister Fantastic’s labs for extremely dangerous experiments
    Moon Knight’s crescent blades
    A unique suit of armor once used by the villain Stilt-Man
    The outer skin of TESS-One
    The outer skin of some of Ultron’s robotic bodies
    Wolverine’s skeleton and claws
    X-23′s claws
    One of several layers of containment at the superhuman incarceration facility known as the Vault
    An outer coating on the Swordsman’s blades.
    A special brand of bullet in the Iron Man suit’s ballistic weapons.

    ——————————————————————
    Gambit’s staff
    ——————————————————————
    Sabretooth’s skeleton and claws
    Underworld uses adamantium bullets
    Jon Dunn’s skeleton”

    source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adamantium

  18. @sin and anti-fanboy
    I’m not defending the hat…lol. I just liked how the whole ensemble looked on him while he was sitting down. As for it being appropiate for his attire… I could care less… Only way they would do him right would be in an animated movie… And thats mainly because of fox in my opinion that is.

    Another thing… To me… No x-men movie was good. So on my behalf i hope that things go wrong on the set of every other x-men movie on the way… But thats just me.

  19. I’m with Gambit and greenknight333.
    I had my gripes like the blades as Becca pointed out, but liked it overall especially the story and fight scenes with Victor.

    SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My nagging question is this:
    Wolverine is wearing the same, exact leather jacket at the start of X-Men (2000) that was given to him by the old couple in the barn. He took it off in Gambits plane prior to jumping and got his memory erased to the point of not even remembering the woman he loved so…how did he get his jacket back or even remember he had a jacket when he didn’t even remember Gambit? Same. Jacket..with the stripes on the sleeves.

  20. I liked all the X-Men films including X-Men 3 but this new film was bad, bordering on Bomb status. Weak story, silly and bankrupt at its core, the film is a huge disappointment. I couldn’t help but shake my head throughout while watching it. I liked Spiderman 3 and Daredevil (I really feel that film is very underrated)but Wolverine just didn’t work in any way for me.

    chuck

  21. @Chuck,
    You should have put the fact that you LIKED Spiderman 3, X-Men 3 and Daredevil at the BEGINNING of your post..

  22. Anti-fanboy,

    That was probably because everyone was incredibly caught up in the fight. And the movie is about Wolverine, and they needed a cheap way to end the fight. Honestly, I didn’t remember that until you pointed it out (I knew there was a reason why I went “WTF?!” when his staff split in half. They were glorifying Wolverine Hollywood style).

    It’s pretty clear and blatantly obvious that the movie was all about the overall picture and did an awful job about the details. But I thought Gambit’s persona was done very well. What I’m more surprised at is the ridiculously shoddy CGI and green screen effects. I could tell when they were behind a green screen multiple times. And of course, there were the claws (and the blades on Stryker’s experiment that looked like Deadpool).

    Easy way to fix that: For any other X-Men movie, have the franchise be sold to Marvel Studios. It’s as simple as that really.

  23. @JessSayin’

    Well Wolverine seemed pretty satasified with his name being logan when Gambit and he did then trust and follow Gambit. I assume Gambit lead him back to the plane. I guess I can’t really say how I’d act if I lost my memory. But if I did and some random guy tells me he is my friend and my name is Logan, and i believe that much, well i highly doubt I’d question him saying..oh by the way, Logan, this is you’re jacket you left it in my plane.

  24. JessSayin’,

    I was wondering about the clothing but ya if he flies out with Gambit, his stuff is there and he’ll get it from Gambit or whatever.

    Maybe he wears it to Japan.

  25. @ Daniel F,

    uh oh, lol. We all left after the Stryker scene.

    Ah well, I’m seeing it again Tuesday with some folks from my home town so I’ll make sure we all stay back for the entire credits.

  26. JessSayin I’d imagine Gambit said “hey don’t for get your coat” makes sense to me.

  27. Guys, if you’re unsatisfied with Wolverine – just hang on a few days for Star Trek.

    Trust me.

    Vic

  28. Hugh Jackman related ;
    Did Van Helsing make money?
    I just remember reading about a sequel coming and I am still waiting.
    5 years later.
    Just curious.

  29. @VIC
    28 days later looked sooooo good in the trailer and lots of people were giving it good reviews… “tv based” that is… didn’t use the internet to really find out… and i mean if it weren’t for this big breasted lady sitting kind of under me where i was able to catch a peek of something that was more interesting… i would have walked out of a movie theater for the first time in my life. So star trek… eventhough the trailers are extremely awesome… just based on the show and cloverfield i’m going in with very low expectations which hopefully it will be as good as they say to those who are not a fan of the show.