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. Vic Star Trek is one of the films i’m unsure of. The Trailers look great and the cast seems to be great, but while I’m a semi trek fan I never liked the original show I thought it was horrible I only liked TNG and DS9. Also there is the matter of JJ I’m not generally a fan of his work. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything he has done that I am a fan of though I’m sure there is something and I’m just missing it right now.

    Positives for Trek are one I like Trek in general, the trailers look great, and the cast is good.

    Negatives are JJ, it’s based on the original and then the random factor that even something with a good trailer can suck.

    Terminator is the film I’m looking forward to more than anything this year.

  2. So. First off, I have always hated Star Trek. Always. I’ve given it many chances, watched different episodes of every series, watched most movies. Really can’t get into it. This one however, I am excitied about. Like haven’t been this excited for a movie in forever, aside from Wolverine (which was amazing once again). Zachary Quinto as Spock – Perfect casting. Despite never enjoying star trek, Spock was always cool. And the scene in the preview when Kirk introduces himself to McCoy as “Jim Kirk” blows my mind. Not really sure why, cause like i said, not a trek fan and it was far from the coolest scene in the preview. Just something about that moment made me think, this is going to be one of the best movies of the year.

    And also, Christian Bale as John Connor. Going to be sick. Something else I just can’t wait for. Going to be the best Terminator flick to date…at least i hope so. I can’t see myself being disapointed with it, but anythings possible. My biggest worry is my expectations getting too high and winding up being disapointed that a great film was only great and not spectacular.

  3. @Vic
    Does this mean you already saw Trek?

    I saw Wolvie this weekend and I did enjoy it. Theres no need for me to go into the flaws, as Rob, I think, was spot on. I would probably give it 3.5 (maybe even 4) out of 5. Come to think of it, 3.5 would be my rating. Agent Zero’s gun play was outrageous but it was a comicbook movie, so I took it as such. Me and my boys really enjoyed the acrobatics and I was never bored. Too bad they didn’t make an R-rated version to show just how beserk Wolvie can be.

  4. Daniel, finally someone who I agree with on this bit of Trek heresy:

    >>while I’m a semi trek fan I never liked the original show I thought it was horrible I only liked TNG and DS9.<<

    I was a very young sci fi fan when Star Trek aired. I couldn’t handle the corny fake styrofoam sets or the melodrama. Okay, it was watchable but I [rolled eyes] a lot.

    I could tolerate Voyager & Enterprise also.

    Since “Star Trek Zero” never caught on, I’m calling this “JJ Abrams’ Star Trek.” I’ve only seen his LOST and Cloverfield, and am impressed by both. I hope JJ resurrects the franchise by scrapping all but the *spirit* of the original series.

  5. What I hope is NOT in JJ Abram’s Star Trek:

    * Kirk facing the camera at the end of the movie, with starry eyes, reciting platitudes about love or truth or the human race.

    * Furthering the ridiculous habit of “humanizing” alien characters. This is so opposite of Roddenberry’s vision of a multicultural future. This trying to prove that Vulcans (-or androids or changelings or holo doctors) are “human” is like…I don’t know, trying to make a black man more pale or something.

  6. John,
    Not to take the tongue out of your cheek, but-because the thought of “converting” a black man is anathema and the epitomy (sp?) of racism.

    On another topic, note how quickly the Wolverine thread lasted before we meandered to Trek and Terminator…it’s the biggest way to tell this movie was a fan flop.

  7. Guys, I saw Star Trek already.

    The original series is my favorite, but you have to remember I was watching it 30 years ago when VFX weren’t great. I still love it for the stories and the character relationships. While I loved TNG when it came out, looking back it’s just too politically correct – which is something I abhor.


  8. Oh hey Vic, I forgot to mention this, but seeing the movie, I saw the reload thing with Agent X…

    LMAO!!! I laughed out loud in the theater when that happened!! I can’t believe there were some ooohs, aahs, and whoas in the audience, seriously, I don’t think you need to be familiar with weapons to realize how dumb that was…

    The best unrealistic reload of dual wield handguns was in Equilibrium. That was freakin awesome, lol.

  9. well, i think some of the bloggers in here already know my take on the wolverine movie, as a result of reading some of the stuff i have been saying about past superhero flicks. Obviously, people who are not fans/fanatics when it comes to the comics, would enjoy the flick. I think some of you had good arguments as to why the movie smelled, therefore i don’t have to mention the main reason as to why the movie should have been rated a 2.5 (because they did not follow the comic…not even a little bit). Maybe later.

  10. Vic, you mentioned Wolverine being one of the most brutal super heroes ever… i think we’re forgetting Rorschach a little too early.

  11. oh and Ken… god i loved Equilibrium, for all of its stupidity. And yes, those reloads were insane, the way the pistols realign in a straight line to be concealed and everything… sick.

  12. My dislike for the orignial doesn’t have much to do with the bad special effects or sets that’s to be expected from it’s budget and time period. I hated the corny stories and ridiculous plot points. I also think that Will Shatnar is the worst actor to make it to the mainstream in the last 50 years. I think that Paris Hilton has more talent and I’m not exaggerating I truly believe that. I never liked the 60′s Batman show or the Original Star Trek for pretty much the exact same reasons. They were very cheesy and riddled with bad acting. TNG had the most amazing cast and took it’s self seriously it wasn’t just a big joke. I loved that.

    JC in Chicago See I’ve seen more things from JJ and haven’t liked any of it. I mean I can’t think of many popular TV shows that I hate more than lost. It’s one ridiculous plot device after another. The show started with a semi interesting idea a dramatized version of Gilligans island and they turned it in to this weird show lacking anything similar to logic that takes 4 years to explain even the smallest of plot points. Cloverfield was horrible as well the acting was the only strong point in that movie. The big reveal of the monster was disappointing. I was so hyped for that film and let down in a big way. The monster could of at least looked semi cool. Then there was all those over grown spider monkeys and it was just bad. I think there was about 5 min in the film that I wasn’t rolling my eyes. I thought Fringe was promising and I enjoyed it for about 4 episodes and lost all interest. Joshua Jackson was the only thing good about that show after awhile and I really couldn’t care about the main chick at all. Don’t even get me started on Felicity. Alias was just a typical “Lets make a bad ass female character” story. Get an attractive girl and make her kick ass. I never understood the popularity of that genre (for lack of a better term). I will admit I kind of liked Joy Ride.

  13. Sorry guys for another post just noticed the talking about Equilibrium had to say I loved that movie. I loved the idea behind it. The action was fairly cool and I really liked the idea. Good story though at times it started to feel like a B movie. I think with a better budget and a little more attention to detail that movie could of been huge and amazing. A good film that had so much potential.

  14. @Taylor

    Well I did say “one of.” :-P

    I guess I should have said “mainstream” or “well known.”


  15. I thought it was great, IMO better than all three Xmen movies (garbage) put together… I agree they changed some things, like deadpool, but what they did change worked and i throughly enjoyed it…

    I’m shocked at your 3/5 review, considering you gave films like tropic thunder a 5/5….

  16. @Gingerbeer

    What can I say? I thought Tropic Thunder was hysterically funny and did what it set out to do. This film did have problems, but I enjoyed it as a popcorn flick.


  17. I, too, enjoyed Tropic Thunder. I wouldn’t give it 5/5 but a definite 4/5. Robert Downey Jr. is just amazing.

  18. @ Daniel

    Regarding Equilibrium feeling like a B movie… well, it WAS a B movie… lol

  19. Ok, I realize that this is a little late, but I FINALLY saw Wolverine today and I absolutely loved it. I give it a 4 out of 5. I thought Jackman was, again, awesome as Wolverine. I thought they did a great job of keeping the movie within the continuity of the films (not the comics). There were a couple of over-the-top scenes (the aforementioned gun reload-then again, that might be his mutant ability-manipulating firearms?), but I really enjoyed this movie and I thought the action sequences were fantastic.

    Now bear in mind I am NOT a reader of the X-men comics, so I don’t know everything there is to know about the characters as some on this board do. However, I think they did a pretty good job of explaining why Wolverine doesn’t remember Scott or any of the other mutants.

    I enjoyed it so much, I might end up seeing it again next week during a matinee. I will definitely be buying the DVD (or Blu-Ray if I have a player by then). I’m just hoping for a Wolverine II….

  20. @Andy S
    I think it is a definite that a sequel will happen, especially after one of the special endings and the stellar gross.

  21. not surprisingly, i found myself wanting more of Ryan Reynolds being himself… his presence in any movie makes it automatically funnier / more entertaining


  23. I loved this movie compared to the previous 3 x-men movies.


  25. I liked the movie, but i thought the part where he cuts down the fire escape was a little corny. But it was still good

  26. Great movie if you dont know much about the “real” xmen history and storyline. It is without a doubt supercool and has plenty of badass action sequences along with some “science” thrown in to make it all come together.

    I read up a little on the history of the x-men via wikipedia after seeing this movie, and Im sure to hardcore fans the movie was irritating.