‘X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
How It Began For Wolverine
Do the words ‘bub’ and ‘blob’ sound the same? 😀
For the fourth instalment of the ‘X-Men’ film series by 20th Century Fox, we venture into prequels territory! ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ was released at cinemas in 2009. I didn’t see this film at the cinema as I wasn’t interested in it. I hoped there would be an ‘X-Men 4’ following ‘The Last Stand’. 😐
This was meant to be the first of a subseries of ‘X-Men’ films called ‘X-Men Origins’. This would look into the origins of each X-Man that have appeared in the ‘X-Men’ movies so far. Due to Wolverine being popular in the ‘X-Men’ comics, cartoon TV show and movies, it made sense to begin with him!
Wolverine was created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita. He made his debut as a cameo in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ #180 before he made a full appearance in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ #181. Since then, Wolverine has become one of the most well-known and well-loved ‘X-Men’ characters ever! 🙂
The origins of Logan/Wolverine had been touched upon in the film ‘X-Men 2’ where the character William Stryker made his appearance. So, I suppose this film elaborated more on what Wolverine’s origins were actually like compared to how he was regaining his memories during the original trilogy.
I recall seeing the film once when my best mate Stephen showed the film to me on his DVD player. But I saw it in two halves – the first half on one day and the second half on another day. So I hadn’t seen it properly from start to finish. For this review, I have seen the film properly from start to finish.
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ was directed by Gavin Hood. Like I said, this was meant to be the start of the ‘X-Men Origins’ film series, including a film which was meant to look into Magneto’s origins featuring Ian McKellen. The ‘X-Men Origins’ film series didn’t quite turn out as initially planned here.
Whilst the initial ‘X-Men Origins: Magneto’ movie ended up being ‘X-Men: First Class’, the film ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ went through a troubled production. Also, despite being a box office success at the time, ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ isn’t looked upon favourably by the ‘X-Men’ fandom.
People regard it as one of the worst ‘X-Men’ films ever made. Do I agree with this argument? Do I think ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is an abysmal film? Is this movie to be skipped entirely? Should ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ be avoided at all costs? Should this be a film never to see the light of day…?
I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think this film is okay.
Hear me out on this! You are free to disagree with what I say about this movie.
I’m not saying ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is a great film. Far from it! It’s clear this movie is clumsily put together in terms of storytelling and character development. There are obvious problems with the editing of the film and the action sequences can often at times be clunky as you’re watching it. 😐
With that said, this is a film that could have worked. I stress could have worked. There is a lot of potential in detailing Wolverine’s origins and how he came to be where he ended up in the first ‘X-Men’ movie. The problem however is how everything seems to be really crammed into this one film.
I would have just done the first half of the movie and ended it with Wolverine getting the adamantium skeleton before having his memory wiped by Stryker. This could have easily been a two-part movie where Wolverine’s origins were detailed. They could have been fascinating to uncover.
Mind you, it doesn’t help when the film’s writers happen to be David Benioff and Skip Woods. Whilst David Benioff might be a decent writer, having penned episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the script of the 2004 film ‘Troy’, Skip Woods wrote ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’, which happens to be unpopular. 😐
Prequel films can also turn out to be mixed bags for people whenever they view them as turned out to be the case with the ‘Star Wars’ prequel films. The prequels that I felt the most satisfaction from are ‘The Hobbit’ movies, though I do know some people can pretty divided on how they turned out.
At the start of the film, we see what Wolverine was like as a little boy when he was originally named James Howlett…also known as Jimmy. It would have been fascinating to find out what Jimmy’s childhood was like before he decided to run away with his brother Victor, fighting in the many wars.
Sadly the childhood aspects of Jimmy Howlett are handled too quickly, especially when he kills the man who turned out to be his father with his bone claws. Yeah, Jimmy had bone claws before he got the adamantium skeleton and they became metal claws. A lot of Jimmy’s life gets rushed in the film.
It would have been interesting to see how Jimmy and Victor grew up together as brothers and how they decided to run away from home and fight in the wars before eventually becoming rivals. But the whole progression of how they end up of characters does feel haphazardly handled in the telling.
I would have liked to have seen how the progression of Jimmy’s childhood turned out and what the relationships with his mother and father were. The trauma of Jimmy/Logan’s fighting in the wars could have been fascinating. But those aspects of the story aren’t explored in the manner we would like. 😐
The wars that Jimmy/Logan and his brother Victor fought in include the American Civil War, the two World Wars and the 1973 Vietnam War. They’re showcased in the film’s opening credits sequences. Honestly the exploration of Logan during those wars could have been intriguing if that was taken up.
Hugh Jackman returns to play Logan/Wolverine in this ‘Origins’ film of his. There’s also Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan and Ryan Reynolds in the film. A lot of the actors provide good performances as their characters. A shame most of the characters are weakly handled.
Knowing how Logan/Wolverine is going to end up, it was intriguing to see how this film dealt with his beginnings as a mutant on the run before he became involved with the wars, met with Stryker and ended up having an adamantium skeleton. Hugh Jackman seems very into playing Logan’s character.
This isn’t surprising considering Hugh Jackman is also one of the producers of this ‘X-Men’ film. Mind you, some things that happen to Logan in ‘X-Men Origins’ doesn’t match to how he ends up in the ‘X-Men’ film trilogy. For example, the flashback sequences to his past in ‘X-Men 2’ aren’t reflected.
The scenes where Logan comes up out of the water during his adamantium skeleton experiment and when he escapes from Stryker’s base on Alkali Lake don’t match to the flashback scenes in ‘X-Men 2’. There’s no blood on his claws from that and he doesn’t escape by pushing a door in them scenes.
Instead of pushing a door, he makes an X in the wall with his new metal claws. I know it can be argued that the brain plays tricks on the mind, causing Logan’s memory to be distorted. But I would at least like some familiar elements from ‘X-Men 2’ to be incorporated into the ‘X-Men Origins’ film.
It’s also intriguing how Jimmy/Logan seeks revenge on Stryker and Victor Creed for the seeming apparent death of his lover Kayla during the film. Whilst Jimmy’s romance with Kayla is sweet, it’s hampered by a lot of scenes cramming into each other to appreciate the emotional core of this film.
Liev Schreiber stars as Victor Creed, Logan’s apparently mutant half-brother in the film. Now I’ve heard Liev Schreiber voice another Marvel-related character in another film. I wonder who that was.
Ah yes! Now it comes back to me! 😀
And in case you hadn’t realised, yes! Victor Creed ends up being Sabretooth, Wolverine’s menace in ‘X-Men’. Though him being Jimmy/Logan’s brother is somewhat debatable as that’s not the case in the comics or the cartoon show. One wonders why it was done to make them brothers in this film. 😐
Also, Victor Creed doesn’t match to how Tyler Mane would play Sabretooth in the first ‘X-Men’ film. For one thing, Liev Schreiber is very talkative compared to how Tyler Mane who only uttered a few words when he spoke and growled/roared a lot. He also doesn’t have the long blonde wild hair in this film.
It’s also a challenge to understand why Logan and Victor would end up becoming enemies when little is explored in terms of their relationship as brothers. Also, I know Wolverine has a self-healing factor because of his mutant powers, but it’s never established how Victor can live as long as Logan.
Danny Huston stars as William Stryker in the film. Now I know this is a young Stryker and the actor isn’t going to do the exact same performance as how Brian Cox played him in ‘X-Men 2’, but I found Danny Huston unconvincing as Stryker when I saw him as he doesn’t echo Brian Cox’s performance.
Stryker’s motives are unusual when he acquires mutants to create the ultimate weapon to protect humanity. I know Stryker’s a mad man and he’s doing it to secure his son’s future since he’ll experiment on him later on, but Stryker can be uneven when trying to acquire Logan into his agenda.
There is a mid-credits scene for Stryker where he gets detained for questioning in connect to the death of General Munson. Yeah, Stryker killed the General to save his experiment. He won’t get away with that. 😀 Stryker also has a terrible line to say to Logan before his adamantium experiment begins.
Stryker: “We’re going to make you indestructible, but first, we’re going to have to destroy you!”
Ugh! Terrible line! Who wrote that?!
Dominic Monaghan stars as Chris Bradley a.k.a. Bolt, a mutant who can manipulate electricity and electronic objects. Dominic Monaghan is well-known for playing Merry in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. Bradley is one of the Team X members that Stryker assembles, including Logan and Victor, to infiltrate a Nigerian base. 😐
I feel Dominic Monaghan’s character is wasted in this film. He gets killed off too early by Victor in the film’s first act, six years after Logan broke up from Team X in Nigeria. To be fair, I feel Dominic Monaghan’s appearance in this film is meatier compared to his role during ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. 🙂
The film also features…Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson?! As in, the Wade Wilson who becomes Deadpool! WOW!!! Deadpool makes his debut in this ‘X-Men’ film! I was amazed to see Ryan Reynolds appear in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ after seeing him in the two ‘Deadpool’ films he would later do.
Mind you, Ryan Reynolds is wasted too since he appears as Wade in the Nigeria scenes using his katana blades; says a wise-crack and two here or there; speaks Nigerian to someone for a bit; and… Well, that’s about it. There’s not even enough fourth-wall breaking for our Wade Wilson to do.
Well, maybe him ending up as Deadpool will be great. Perhaps we will see him in the Deadpool outfit he’s so well-known for…or he’ll end up as Stryker’s Weapon IX project; be bare-chested; be played by a different actor called Scott Adkins at times and have his mouth sewn up for the most part. 😐
Logan: “Wade, is that you?”
Yeah, I don’t know what went through the producers’ or the director’s mind to have a Deadpool who looked nothing like the Deadpool from the comics. Since he is the ‘merc with the mouth’, why would Stryker’s team have his mouth sewn up?! Also, how did Wade end up becoming Stryker’s guinea pig?
Him having mutant powers surgically given to him such as teleportation, getting katana blades out of his knuckles and having Cyclops’ red-eye laser powers doesn’t match to what Deadpool was like in the comics or the movies. It just doesn’t make sense. I know a lot of fans weren’t happy with this.
But it’s okay. Deadpool gets shot in the head by…Deadpool?
(startled) Wait a minute, that’s not what happened in the movie!
Deadpool: “Finally I get creative control of Deadpool and done it my way!”
(groans) You naughty Deadpool! You can’t insert your clip from ‘Deadpool 2’ into my review of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’! That movie hasn’t happened yet!
Deadpool: “Look, it’s all very timey wimey, Tim. You should understand that from the sixth season of new ‘Doctor Who’ in the Steven Moffat era!”
You can’t deny the truth of what happened in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’! You can’t! You just can’t! You just flipping can’t!!!
Deadpool: “I can! I’ve become the saviour of Deadpool and made Fox a ton of money that Disney are keeping ‘Deadpool 3’ R-rated!”
Look, I’m telling the truth of what happened in this movie! You ended up as the merc without the mouth and that’s that! And quite frankly, you without your foul mouth is an improvement!
Deadpool: “No! The character was appallingly written! When you make a film company billions of dollars, they give you the ultimate power of rebooting your character’s story the right way!”
I’m telling the truth about this movie! (over-dramatic) I TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!
Deadpool: “You’re just upset you don’t have creative control of Spider-Man and can’t include Nyssa as Mary Jane.”
Anyway, you mucked up the continuity of that ‘X-Men Origins’ scene BIG TIME in your own ‘Deadpool 2’ movie!
Deadpool: “No! I’ve taken a badly-written character and turned him into cinematic gold! How the fans cheered at that scene in the theaters!”
But look at how the scenes from the two movies compare to each other!
In ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, Logan got his claws out and you got your katana blades out of your knuckles before Logan asked “Wade, is that you?” and said “I guess Stryker finally figured how to shut you up!”
In ‘Deadpool 2’, it was the other way around! Logan asked “Wade, is that you?” and said “I guess Stryker finally figured how to shut you up!” before Logan got his claws out and then you shot yourself in the head! THE CONTINUITIES OF THE TWO MOVIES DON’T MATCH!!!
Deadpool: “Look up plot inconsistencies in the dictionary and cease your nonsensical bafflegab!” (aside) “A wonderful line from Timelord007!” (continues) “It really doesn’t matter, Tim! I’ve brought peace to fandom and made the studios billions! I AM A GOD!!!”
But you shooting yourself in the head in ‘Deadpool 2’ doesn’t even match to the post-credits sequence of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’. You remember when your disembodied hand touched your head and you went “Ssh!” to the audience like it was a little tease? Indicating that you were going to regenerate into Ryan Reynolds for the first ‘Deadpool’ movie? It’s the closest you ever got to fourth-wall breaking in ‘X-Men Origins’.
Deadpool: “I shot Ryan Reynolds in ‘Deadpool 2’, remember? So because of me, we thankfully no longer have that atrocious ‘Green Lantern’ movie!”
IT WAS YOU IN ‘X-MEN ORIGINS’!!! DON’T YOU DENY IT!!!
Deadpool: “WHO GIVES A FOP ABOUT YOUR CONTINUITIES IN THESE MOVIES!!!”
I GIVE A ‘I’M NOT GOING TO SAY THE CENSORED WORD YOU JUST SAID’ ABOUT THE CONTINUITIES IN THESE MOVIES!!! THESE ‘X-MEN’ MOVIES’ TIMELINES DON’T MAKE SENSE!!! (Pause) And it will get worse by the time we get to ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’.
Deadpool: “It’ll get even worse when Disney reboot ‘X-Men’ and do a multiverse crossover event with the original X-Men for their dodgy third movie.”
(in Kermit the Frog style) WILL YOU GET OUT OF HERE?!!!
Deadpool: “I’m off to torture Francis some more! Bye bye, Mr. Angry Pants!”
Deadpool waves to Tim as he leaves.
(groans) So where was I? Oh yes…
The rest of the ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ cast are as follows. There’s Will.i.am as John Wraith a.k.a. Kestrel, who can teleport from place to place like Nightcrawler can do. I don’t know much about the ‘X-Men’ comics and their characters, but John Wraith appears to be a good friend of Logan’s here. 🙂
Lynn Collins stars as Kayla Silverfox, a mutant who has the power of tactile hypnosis, influencing people to think what she wants them to think. She’s Logan’s lover in the film, although it’s saddening when it turns out she was a pawn of Stryker’s. Mind you, she wished to save her sister from Stryker.
Kevin Durand stars as Fred Dukes, a mutant with indestructible skin who ate a lot, put on weight and became the Blob. Him putting on weight doesn’t exactly match to what’s in the comics, but he ends up having a boxing fight with Logan. I would prefer a boxing fight between Logan…and Mr. Bobby! 😀
Taylor Kitsch stars as Remy LeBeau…a.k.a. Gambit, a mutant thief who can convert the potential energy of any object he touches into kinetic energy. Gambit is a gambler when we first see him. He helps Logan for a bit, though I don’t get why he started fights with Logan once Stryker’s name was mentioned. 😐
And there’s Daniel Henney as David North a.k.a. Agent Zero, a mutant who is a superhumanly accurate assassin with enhanced agility and reflexes, expert tracking abilities and lethal sniper skills. He was part of Stryker’s Team X in Nigeria before he served him on the Weapon X program years later.
The film also features Tim Pocock as a young Scott Summers before he became Cyclops. There’s Max Cullen and Julia Blake as Travis and Heather Hudson, an elderly couple who are like the Uncle Ben/Aunt May and the John and Martha Kent characters for Wolverine before they get bumped off.
Tahyna Tozzi stars as Emma, Kayla Silverfox’s sister who might be Emma Frost from the ‘X-Men’ comics or not. Although not in the film, there is a deleted scene featuring a young Storm in Nigeria (played by April Elleston-Enahoro), which I believe should have been included in the film’s final cut. 😦
Patrick Stewart also makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Charles Xavier, who looks digitally younger and is able to walk here. He saves the mutants including Cyclops and Emma who managed to escape when Logan and Kayla freed them. A shame Professor X didn’t meet Logan in this movie. 😀
Going back to the deleted scenes, there is an alternative scene where Logan decides to have his memory erased of Kayla before he rescues her from Sabretooth, which I think would be better rather than have him just walk away. There’s also a deleted end scene where Logan is in a Japan bar.
I believe that’s a tie-in to the next Wolverine film which would have been set in Japan called ‘The Wolverine’. Apparently ‘The Wolverine’ was pitched to 20th Century Fox by Hugh Jackman and producer Lauren Shuler Donner before Fox insisted they make an ‘Origins’ film for Wolverine first. 😐
I will admit the action sequences featured throughout the film are decent enough, including a chase where Wolverine on a motorcycle is pursued by Agent Zero in a helicopter. But I would have liked the character drama and the action to be balanced out instead of the action outweighing the drama.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a ‘Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins’ featurette with behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, including Hugh Jackman. There are also the deleted and alternative scenes with optional audio commentary by director Gavin Hood. There are also ‘Fox on Blu-ray’ trailers for the ‘X-Men’ trilogy and ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’ (or ‘Night at the Museum 2’).
On Blu-ray, there are special features including an audio commentary with director Gavin Hood and an audio commentary with producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter. There’s also ‘The Roots of Wolverine: A Conversation with Stan Lee and Len Wein’, ‘Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins’, ‘Weapon X Mutant Files’, ‘The Thrill of the Chase: The Helicopter Sequence’, the deleted and alternative scenes with optional audio commentary by director Gavin Hood, the ‘Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere’ of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’; the ‘Ultimate X-Mode’ for the film; a BD-Live lookup and the ‘Fox on Blu-ray’ trailers for the ‘X-Men’ trilogy and ‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’ (or ‘Night at the Museum 2’).
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is a wasted opportunity of a film to detail the origins of Logan/Wolverine in the ‘X-Men’ film series. I feel more time should have been devoted to Wolverine’s background as a character instead of cramming many scenes, which ultimately makes the whole film unbalanced.
I can’t blame Hugh Jackman’s enthusiasm to play Wolverine in the ‘X-Men’ films and I did gain some enjoyment out of watching this film. Personally, I would have preferred a follow-up to ‘The Last Stand’, which we would get in ‘Days of Futures Past’, instead of the films going into prequel territory.
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ rating – 5/10
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