Share Article:
X-men Origins: Wolverine (Review)

X-men Origins: Wolverine (Review)

Jackman claws his way back from Australia
Apr 27, 2009
Our Rating:
Your Rating:
click to rate!
VN:F [1.9.12_1141]
(1 votes)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Runtime: 107 minutes Country: USA


Director:  Gavin Hood Writer(s): 
David Benioff

Skip Woods

Cast: , Hugh Jackman, Kevin Durand, Liev Schreiber, Lynn Collins, Will i Am
X-men Origins: Wolverine (Review), reviewed by Anders Wotzke on 2009-04-27T17:41:23+00:00 rating 3.0 out of5

One would have been easily forgiven for thinking that the title of the third X-men film, The Last Stand, clearly implied that it was the last of the franchise. Of course, a prequel is the industry’s devious way around a word such as ‘Last’. If you can look past the film’s flaws, It’s not such a bad thing; X-men Origins: Wolverine sees Hugh Jackman return to the character that made him a megastar.  Jackman  makes for the perfect action hero because, unless you’re Scrubs actor John C. McGinley, his effortless charisma makes him near impossible to hate. Even when his shirt inevitably comes off and your lady friend simultaneously starts to complain about it getting hot in the cinema, you’ll be too busy admiring those magnificent mutton chops to really care.

The film kicks off with Wolverine as a child, when he was known as the far less intimidating name of James Howlett. After discovering his retractable blades, James and his mutant brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) run away from home. They enlist in the army, where in a Watchmen-like montage, use their mutant abilities to help fight all the wars of the last century.  Opting to settle down in Canada with schoolteacher Kyla (Lynn Collins), James is drawn apart from his brother, who continues his unethical work for a special-ops team of mutant soldiers. However, Victor’s bloodlust sees him go AWOL, causing Colonel William Stryker to knock on Wolverine’s door, asking for his help in bringing him to justice. It’s only after his wife is viciously murdered by Victor that James accepts Stryker’s offer, undertaking a dangerous surgical operation to become the indestructible warrior known as Wolverine.

2009 x men wolverine 0151 276x219 custom X men Origins: Wolverine (Review)

I know I’m pointing out the obvious, but the inherit problem with a prequel is that it’s usually too predictable. If you’ve seen the series, you already know how it ends, who will survive and who will die.  But my beef lies  in the film’s blatant attempt to combat predictability, as Wolverine’s plot unconvincingly twists and turns more than your average colon. As a result,  good guys go bad a few sentences before going good again, ultimately ending just like you knew it had to.  It also features a supporting cast of new mutants that are barely given enough screen time to compete for our love in the absence of  the ones we came to know from the first three films.  Noticeably elsewhere is Ian McKellen’s enjoyable villain Magneto, perhaps waiting for his own origin film to make his return. Also missing from the usual line-up is Patrick Stewart’s Xavier, Halle Berry’s Storm, James Marsden’s Cyclops and Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique. Whilst the new mutant crew do get one fantastic scene to strut their stuff, that’s about all they get.  The one exception is Liev Schreiber as Wolverine’s brother Victor, whose bloodthirsty character is fleshed a great deal more than it was in the original film where he is known as Sabretooth (then portrayed by Tyler Mane). Although I can’t help but mention that Schreiber’s torn, violent character is a great deal like the one he portrays in the holocaust film Defiance, albeit the fact that he is a Jewish brother and not a mutant one.

But it’s Wolverine the film promises, and it’s Wolverine you sure as hell get. Hardly absent a frame, Jackman is mostly seen tearing three new holes in bad guys and solid objects.  It also seems as though his struggle to come to terms with the loss of his wife is matched only by his inability to keep his shirt on.  Despite being oddly inconsistent in quality, the CGI fueled action is relentless, causing the plot to take a back-seat until the film decides it’s time for us to breathe again.  Wolverine and his brother provide most of the brawls, stabbing and clawing at each other to no avail due to their ability to heal. If anything is at a loss to giving so much screen time to Wolverine, it’s that these brawls becomes somewhat repetitive; with it being just one man and his claws against the world, I started to miss the dynamism that the entire X-men team bought to the table.  Then again, we do get to see more of those beautiful mutton chops …


Let me break this down: Wolverine is  about on par with X-men 1, not as good as X-men 2, but better than X-men 3.

Follow the author Anders Wotzke on Twitter.

Get daily updates in your inbox!

View by star rating:

Underworld: Awakening
"Back in black"
- Anders Wotzke
Read Review
Take Shelter (Review)
Take Shelter
War Horse (Review)
War Horse
The Artist (Review)
Artist, The
The Darkest Hour (Review)
Darkest Hour, The
▶▶ More movie reviews ◀◀