For years, Marvel kept the history of the popular X-Man a tightly kept secret. Then they made the decision to disclose the definitive origins of the feral mutant. But after origin story on top of origin story, no one is still quite sure who or what Wolverine is, aside from a claw-sprouting killing machine.
Unfortunately, the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine has mutated into something else entirely. James (Hugh Jackman) and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) are feral mutants with ferocious fighting and healing abilities. Thanks to these abilities, the pair have survived for well over a hundred years as itinerant soldiers fighting from war zone to war zone. After a stint in the special special ops Team X (whose numbers include Ryan Reynolds, Will i Am, Dominic Monaghan and more), James leaves to have a normal life.
As you can expect, this doesn’t end well, as a bloodthirsty Victor comes calling and leaves a tragic message through James’ girlfriend Kayla (Lynn Collins). With the help of his commanding officer William Stryker (Danny Huston), James enters the Weapon X program to gain power to take revenge on Victor, who is hunting down members of Team X. But both men are pawns in a larger game.
Its not for a lack of effort that Wolverine fails. Jackman bulks up for the role to make Wolverine look especially intimidating. With exploding helicopters, a U.S. history class worth of battlefields and government intrigue galore, Wolverine is one of the most action-packed installments of the franchise. And the movie is literally littered with stars ranging from Ryan Reynolds to Taylor Kitsch to Jackman himself.
Oddly enough, the cast is one thing the movie has going against it. It’s not bad acting – and its overactive casting. There are plenty of great characters – like Ryan Reynold’s one-liner spewing Deadpool and Taylor Kitsch’s card-blasting Gambit – but not enough plot to go around. As a result, characters come and go without a satisfying resolution on the plot. It becomes painfully clear Wolverin” isn’t a spin-off – its a platform for more spin-off’s.
Unfortunately, with the plot trying to be both a prequel and a platform at the same time, it ultimately fails in both regards. In the end, Wolverine falls apart into an impressive but nonsensical collection of action sequences.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is well worth the five bucks it costs to spring it from the bargain bin. Like both bargain bin picks, the special features are pretty minimal. This version does however include a featurette of Wolverine’s transition to the comics. There’s even an anti-smoking PSA!
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is by no means perfect, but its interesting to see how irrelevant the intended platform has become in the shadow of the much-superior X-Men: First Class. Still, for healthy doses of mindless action alongside tons and tons of cameos, X-Men Origins: Wolverine makes for an unrelenting if misguided superhero action flick.