X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a spin-off film in the comic book adaptation franchise, X-Men. Taking place long before the original X-Men film, this movie appropriately details the backstory for one of the most iconic mutants there is; Logan, also known as the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
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The Film Review
Directed by Gavin Hood, this X-Men movie trades in the whimsical mystery of the original trilogy for a more brutal and hard-hitting dose of action. The original X-Men movies were highly regarded for their fresh and unique take on the comic book adaptation genre. Does X-Men Origins: Wolverine provide the same intrigue, or is this a spin-off that was better left on the cutting room floor? One thing is for certain in X-Men Origins: Wolverine… Logan is mad, and he needs answers.
The story of X-Men Origins: Wolverine kicks off during Logan’s childhood, where he runs away with his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber). Ousted for their mutations which grant them incredibly strong weaponized bones, the brothers stick together through thick and thin. The opening scenes see the brothers fighting side by side through almost every major war, enduring pain and suffering that most men would crumble from.
When things get out of control during the Vietnam War, Logan sticks by his brother’s side. The pair are eventually recruited for by William Stryker (Danny Huston), whom fans of X2: X-Men United will undoubtedly recognize. When Logan is betrayed by his team, he sets out for vengeance when they eventually cross a line.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine does a great job giving us a detailed if cliché origin for one of our favorite mutants. Wolverine’s backstory is filled with the appropriate amount of tragedy and sadness. This is offset by a handful of humorous scenes, some of which work better than others. The movie occasionally gets far too silly, betraying its serious and gritty overall tone. The movie also introduces a handful of new mutants, also to varying success.
X-Men mega-fans will be glad to see the inclusion of mutants like Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and a young Cyclops (Tim Pocock), but will be exceptionally disappointed with the depiction of Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). Overall, X-Men Origins: Wolverine does a mediocre job with its characters, underselling the best characters for gags and jokes.
The uneven blend of quality is apparent during action scenes as well. Some fight scenes look and feel brutal, with heavy punches and exciting stunts. Others are plagued with ridiculously bad CGI, which looks outdated even by other X-Men film standards. This is especially true for Wolverine’s signature metal claws, which often look plastic or completely computer-generated.
When the poor visual effects aren’t distracting you from the action, you’ll probably become annoyed with the hefty amount of cuts. Many action scenes are littered with unnecessary cuts, hiding the poor fight choreography. To top it all off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is rated PG-13, so most of the more violent action feels underwhelming and held back.
Although there are some redeeming qualities to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the majority of the movie is underwhelming and unintentionally funny. Hugh Jackman does his best in the role of Wolverine, as do actors like Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, their performances are hindered by a poor script that relies too heavily on its action scenes.
Those action scenes aren’t nearly as cool as the movie would like to think, despite a few impressive shots and sequences. While you shouldn’t completely write off X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a bad movie, you should definitely level your expectations before viewing. There’s some entertainment to be had with the movie, but you’ll have to wade through some disappointing waters to get there.
- Introduces fun characters like Gambit
- Delivers an appropriate backstory for Wolverine
- Ties itself well to other X-Men movies
- Poor CGI brings down the overall quality
- Excessive editing interrupts fight scenes
- Betrays its serious tone with ineffective humor