With the return of the X-Men to the silver screen right around in the corner, we thought we would re-present another X-film, this one staring the perennial X-man favorite character, Wolverine in his first solo film outing:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Rated “PG-13” (107 Minutes)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Well, here it is; Wolverine’s prequel to the extremely-popular X-Men trilogy. And well, it is —quite frankly — everything that we figured it was going to be (actually, in spite of reading comics for 45 years, we recently (last few years) only learned that Wolverine was like 150 years old. Honestly, we knew he fought in WWII but that was about it.) Needless to say, this is that back story that perhaps we should have known, but didn’t because we actually stopped regularly reading X-Men comics back in the ‘90s. Anyway, this film is supposed to capsulize all information in just a couple of hours, giving us all of the excitement of an X-Men comic (film) without the complete X-cast.
Does it do it? Well, as far as we’re concerned (in spite of the all of our faux fanboy whining), it totally delivers the goods. While we did enjoy the backstory which let us in on the fact that Wolverine (and his brother, who winds up being Sabertooth), are about 150 years old, and then we watch at the two lads grow up and fight in virtually every single armed conflict from the mid-1800s to Vietnam, which is when the real story begins. (Interestingly enough, the opening sequence felt a bit like the opening to Watchmen, only with not as cool a soundtrack).
The film is fast and furious and plays well into the legions of fans of who Wolverine is (hey, we’ve been reading comics since the very early ‘60s and until recently we didn’t know that Wolvie had this much back story. Anyway, even though we recognized many of the characters (there were a couple we couldn’t completely place) and was aware of much of the plot threads that ran through the film, and still rather enjoyed what was going on in the film version of his past.
The interaction between Logan (Jackman) and Creed (Schreiber) plays well and you can see some of the animosity that will keep them at each other’s throats. We get to see how an already clawed Logan has Adamantium (a super-cool, wicked-hard comicbook metal) is infused into his bones, and why and how he lost him memories (which he doesn’t fully regain until the X-Men trilogy).
On the down side, those of you who don’t know as much about his visceral past might find some of this film a tad tedious, plus as this is all prequel there are no colorful costumes, and many of the characters that you might have gotten used to seeing in the first films simply aren’t here. Some folks might feel that most fans coming to view the film might want to see more of the kind of large-scale action from the first films, which is missing from this film, as it is much more of a personal story.
As for spoilers, well we have a few of those if you care:
- We can’t believe that they cast the perfect actor for Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), and then take away the one thing that makes him an ideal fit for the character, his ability to talk (and talk and talk)
- When we first meet Remy LeBeau (Gambit) he looks more like the very British Alex from A Clockwork Orange than any Frenchman we’ve ever seen
- Sabretooth’s loping attack style was a bit too much Twilight for our tastes
- As stated, the opening sequence very Watchmen, only without as cool a soundtrack
- When Logan left the special team of Stryker’s Mercs in Africa we couldn’t help but to flash on a similar image from more than one WildStorm/Image comic featuring Team 7
- Given the “immortal” nature of Logan and Creed, whenever these two went at it a little voice in the back of our head kept saying “There can be only One!”
- We really liked the Three Mile Island reference to the story. we think it fit into the time line of Wolverine’s back-story and this film
- Another reviewer questioned why Logan & Creed, as Canadians would keep fighting in U.S.-based wars. Our response to that is — what other country has been in more wars over the past 150 years?
- When Creed finds Scott Summers at school, Scot is in detention conjugating a Spanish verb 100 times on the blackboard, in a visual reference that calls up Bart Simpson
Still, even with all of the above, we still enjoyed the film, and even though it wasn’t as exciting or involving as the second Wolverine film, it wasn’t all that bad either.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.