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X-Men Origins Wolverine

The 2009 prequel to the X-Men film series focuses on the Wolverine character.

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Explosions and Decent Action Don't Distract You From the Story Much

  • Feb 5, 2010
There used to be two stakes in the heart to any superhero series.  The first is making a third movie with so many villains it's just hard to focus (Spider Man 3, for example) while the other is making a fourth movie.  Yet it seems there could be another stake... making a prequel.  Much of Wolverine's story was pretty much told in X2: X-Men United.  Quite a bit of it actually.  The pivotal scene in the film is just shown rather than told.  If there was anything that X-Men Origins does do right it would be that there's a ton of action.  On the other hand, much else about the movie you look at it and say, "Typical." 

X-Men Origins begins by seeing a young boy named Jim (or Logan... but the point is, that's Wolverine) who is sick in bed.  Until a disturbance comes home and his father goes to check on it.  Some guy broke in and shot him.  This causes Jim to go just a little crazy and attack the shooter with his newly discovered bone claws. The man he kills actually IS his father.  In the process Jim not only forgets he has a cold but sort of runs away only to be accompanied by Victor Creed who has the same type of powers (well, sort of).  From there the opening credit sequence begins.  And that's probably the best part of the movie.  The opening credit montage is spectacular, showing the two brothers fight through the Civil War, the World Wars and Vietnam.  The movie then slips from the Vietnam War into the gist of it all smoothly when it's discovered that James tried to rape someone.  When his squad tries to stop him he kills one of the higher ups.  And James (Logan... Wolverine, whatever) decides to defend his brother.  They are both sentenced to a fire squad and both survive.  Victor describes being shot by the fire squad as something that tickled. 

As a result William Stryker is invited in and brings the two to a top secret squad that consists of mutants that handle missions.  When on one mission they meet some pretty interesting people.  There's John Wraith played by Will.i.am, Fred Dukes played by Kevin Durand, bolt played by Dominic Monaghan, Agent Zero played by Daniel Henny and then there's Wade Wilson played by Ryan Reynolds.  And of course there's Wolverine and his brother Victor Creed/Sabertooth.  Each as their own powers.  Kind of.  John Wraith sort of has these powers similar to Nightcrawler, Bolt can control many electrical things, Agent Zero is awesome with his guns while Wade is awesome with his swords.  Most of these guys are quite forgettable, though.  In part because most of the guys who play them just don't hand in memorable performances.  You'll probably walk away remembering Ryan Reynolds because he just happens to do such a good job and he's funny (plus he's got that really incredible action scene).  Wolverine, of course, has his bone claws while Sabertooth has the amazing ability to grow his fingernails (it's hard NOT to think of Family Guy when you really consider it).  They're a really awesome group as they sneak into a compound and find out about this strange rock that the government apparently needs.

There's a lot more to this shady dealing than meets the eye.  And I suppose that after a while Logan had enough and decided to leave.  From here on there seems to be a checklist of things that Origins does... and many of it just isn't very well.  Logan walking away when he realizes they're doing something wrong?  Okay, fine.  But when he gets to Canada and is living his life the movie seems to dabble quite heavily in cliches.  Logan meets a special someone, right?  Well as is the rule for just about any Superhero Origin story (or somewhere down the line) she's got to be put into a situation that will get her killed or something (although Origins does an interesting twist, it is unfortunate that it's twist is, you guessed it, another overdone cliche not presented very well).  On the other hand, what's interesting is that the movie at least jumped six years down the line where William Stryker approaches Logan in Canada as he's trying to live a "normal" life and calls him back to service when it's discovered that someone is running around killing his old team mates.  As I said, that puts Logan's lover in danger and him.  When Kayla Silverfox is killed he decides he needs revenge and William Stryker can help him.  This is where the origins finally comes out.  

We'll stop there for the moment, but from there it's like the boys behind X-Men Origins opened up a rule book they were supposed to follow.  That moment where Kayla is murdered, for example, does the whole Characters looks up and screams while coddling her body as the camera pans out.  He needs to get revenge only to discover that the Government he wants help from isn't really all that helpful.  What unfolds is not just Wolverine's Origin Story but *gasp* a Government Conspiracy.  You'll see Wolverine get the Adamantine Claws (which is some really horrible looking CGI) and how he comes to get the jacket, but the film just can't help itself.  It has to go by the rule book which insist that just about anyone who gets close to Wolverine dies.  

Let's be honest.  The story in X Men Origins: Wolverine is absolutely nothing special.  There are a couple of comedic moments and it's filled with a lot of cool actions sequences (okay, SOME cool action sequences, that moment with the helicopter is NOT one of them) but it's hard not to pick at how some of the film presents itself.  In the first place the whole Wolverine and Sabertooth running like animals sounds really cool but it's look laughably bad on screen.  In fact it adds some cheese to some of the moments that are supposed to be cool.  Not only that, but you're getting a lot of action that gets boring real fast.  Not because much of it is overdone, but because the movie hardly decides to add much heart to much of anything.  It's far from being as bad or as stupid as anything Michael Bay puts out there.  At least Origins tries to be a meaningful movie and tries to have a concrete plot, but most of it is just not as fun as you expect.  Totally cool explosions at some moments, but a lot of these action moments and sequences just feel "typical".  There's the whole "It's amusing how everyone important to you dies."  Then there's the stupid sidekick like character (we'll get to that) and then there's the classic dramatic walk away from an explosion moment.

Again, it isn't that Origins dabbles in cliches, it's that most of them just aren't presented that well.  The worst part about it all is that you get quite a few characters that find themselves in there for the sake of cameos and the appeasement of fanboys it seems.  Gambit shows up but he's an annoying sidekick like character that is there for the sake of comedy in some moments and to provide a deus ex machina in another.  It's all about how Origins presents this stuff, and for the most part it isn't all that well.  You even get a cameo by a young Scott (Cyclops) and even Professor Xavier before he was confined to a wheel chair.  These are moments that are put in there for the sake of appeasing fanboys.  Scott's inclusion in particular is a bad step because someone could've easily told him, "Some guy with claws saved us... we all saw him... too bad you didn't.  We're all at the same school and I suppose we COULD just describe him and point him out when the first movie comes along but... nope we won't."  Why can't Wolverine remember Scott?  Oh, because the movie throws in a Deus Ex Machina that renders Wolverine unable to remember anything which happened in this movie (I assume that's a good thing... I wish I wouldn't remember the movie either).

While some action sequences look okay and are pretty fun (the best of them is at the beginning when Ryan Reynolds kills like fifty guys) the last confrontation is, like Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith... anti-climactic.  I don't say this to nitpick, I only say this because it's a prequel.  Why does the movie try so hard to get us to worry about Wolverine when we know he HAS to survive?  You're making a prequel, here.  That was like how Lucas tried to make us actually try to guess who was going to win the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin... the two kinda had to survive otherwise Episode IV wouldn't have happened.  It's a similar thing here.  It's actually enjoyable, but you wonder why they're trying so hard to draw out the suspense in a moment where the outcome is clear.  Yet what's unforgivable is that little twist of making sure Logan can't remember anything that happens here.  I'm not entirely sure if that's a spoiler or not.  But it feels like a cheapshot to make sure it's convenient as to why none of this ever comes up in the original X-Men trilogy.

I can't dismiss X-Men Origins: Wolverine entirely.  It's got some decent action... just a very lazy and poorly executed plot.  The "twists" thrown in there are more annoying than they are surprising.  Yet the worst of it is probably that they stick in a lot of characters not for the sake of adding to the story, but to please fanboys who want to see them, even though they're not really instrumental to the story.  Gambit, for example, seems like he was thrown in there to provide Wolverine with a goofy sidekick than to be a character of any real merit.  The movie also abandons some of the series major themes.  The civil rights issue for the mutants?  They kind of sort of throw out.  That was one of the important themes presented in X-Men but Origins kind of sort of ignores it.  It scratches the surface with the whole, "We want to get rid of the bad ones," but that's about it.  There's a lot of action but in the midst of it they seem to forget that the characters involved are actually important. 

Yet the biggest offense is how at the very end they kind of sort of just throw in that whole, "Wolverine doens't remember any of this..." meaning... was it really worth putting this film together?  And if so, wasn't what we heard in X2 enough?  If that's the case wasn't this movie kind of a waste of time?  I know the idea sounds pretty cool but what's the point if at the very end it's going to sort of leave you with this sort of, "But it wasn't really important."  It's the equivalent to watching a movie in which all this colossal stuff happens only for the main character to wake up from a dream and think, "That was a fucking awesome dream..." And then you forget about it. 

That's almost exactly what happens at the end of the film.  It begs the question, "So why did we go through all of that in the first place if in the end the main character through it all just sort of forgets about it and walks away?"  In short, a movie that was already kind of mediocre was made worse by an ending that serves as an excuse to immediately forget it.  

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February 12, 2010
I have to say tho I can't really say I disagree with your rating/review, I have to say that I still had fun with this movie. nice one.
February 06, 2010
Great Review. I agree...this film is nothing special.
More X-Men Origins: Wolverine reviews
review by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Spin awef-ul
I liked the X Men movies, even the Last Stand which in all honesty made the most effort to present the "mutants rights = modern day civil rights" issues that was supposed to be the X Men's comic book analogy in the real world when it debuted in the 60's.  As the movies were made, more and more emphasis is put on Wolverine who had the strongest back story of the characters in that he has none and is always on a quest to learn more about his past and top that off with an animistic …
review by . May 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
teaser poster
Seeking to further capitalize on the popularity of Marvel's favorite mutant group, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is a prequel of sorts to the X-men trilogy. I'll get right to the point, if you thought Bret Rattner's "X-Men Last Stand" was a mockery of the franchise, then "Wolverine" provides some redemption. This latest spin-off won't exactly offer anything groundbreaking but it is an improvement over Rattner's version. Director Gavin Hood‘s …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Disappointing.  I wanted to like this movie.  I really did! But by the end of it I not only wanted my money back but I also wanted to strangle Wolverine.  Yes, one of the greatest X-Men comes across as nothing more than a whiny, mopey, emo...kitten.  He spends a large portion of the film either mourning his past or his girlfriend.  Eventually you just want to scream at him "Get over it and kick some butt!"       The only saving grace of …
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There used to be two stakes in the heart to any superhero series. The first is making a third movie with so many villains it's just hard to focus (Spider Man 3, for example) while the other is making a fourth movie. Yet it seems there could be another stake... making a prequel.
Quick Tip by . August 05, 2010
Purely average action film that is more enjoyable the less you know of the other movies and this movie's characters. Lots of action and Hugh Jackman is awesome as always.
review by . August 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I was never a huge X-Men fan, but I enjoyed the first three X-Men movies. Between Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and Hugh Jackman, they had a strong cast that made the movies slightly more than just an adaptation of a comic book.     X-Men Origins: Wolverine has a lot going for it. It has a good soundtrack, strong acting (Hugh Jackman is really raw), and the effects pretty good. Unfortunately, X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't rise to the level of its predecessors. For whatever …
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
a good addition to the series. lots of action and some pretty good special effects. you finally get to learn more about wolverines background.
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
Three words... "Slow. Motion. Explosion" Decent action/comic flick if you ignore the cheese ball parts.
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
thoroughly disappointed. The hype of Gambit was disappointing. Most of the character stories and plot had nothing to do with the comic.
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie could have been better I felt I know some people that really enjoyed it I was not one of them
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Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie


Wolverine is a 2009 Action, SciFi film by Academy Award-winning director Gavin Hood. This X-Men spin off, stars Hugh Jackman as James Logan, the mutant who eventually becomes Wolverine and struggles to find the secrets to his past. The film tells the origin story of how Logan emerged from a barbaric experiment as an indestructible mutant with retractable razor-sharp claws and awakes the pain and loneliness once forgotten. In this thriller, Wolverine battles his complex relationship with Victor Creed (who later becomes Sabertooth) and seeks revenge for the death of his girlfriend, ultimately going through the mutant Weapon X program.

Hugh Jackman appears alongside the cast of Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), John Wraith (william), Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), and Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston). The screenplay was written by David Benioff and Skip Woods. Wolverine was filmed throughout New Zealand, Australia & Canada.

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Director: Gavin Hood
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: May 1, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: David Benioff
DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
Runtime: 1hr 47min
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