Reviews

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

3

Clawing his way back onto the BIG screen.

A film with a tortured upbringing, X-Men Origins: Wolverine has endured much on its way to cinemas. Worth the wait? Whets the appetite for the
touted Origins: Magneto? Will Vinnie Jones’ Juggernaut get a film of his own? Answers: Sort of. Yes, definitely. In his dreams.

Gavin Hood’s blockbuster bow begins as Wolverine (Hugh Jackman; hairy, roars a lot) and Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber; less hairy, snarls a lot) are sent on covert ops by Team X’s Col William Stryker (Danny Huston).

Disgusted when a raid turns nasty, Wolverine backs out. Stryker, though, is obsessed with harnessing mutant power and years of hide and seek follow…

Origins is an accomplished slice of comic-book entertainment, full of fights and action set-pieces impressive for a director touching big budget for the first time.

A motorbike vs chopper fight is the standout, but throughout Hood handles the legacy with poise: the opening sequence of Wolverine winning wars like a clothed Dr Manhattan, brims with comic-book verve.

But such action can’t disguise the fact that Origins rarely feels original, hampered by focusing on Wolverine woes already touched upon in Bryan Singer’s two stillfresh franchise kick-offs.

By marginalising the war footage and reducing an 1845 backstory to the precredits, Hood’s film too often feels like an unnecessary retread, one that sadly substitutes the bold ethnic cleansing subplot of the first three for a hackneyed Hulkstyle story of the military wanting better weapons.

In fact, a lot of the interest in Origins: Wolverine ironically comes from watching other mutants given tantalising cameos. Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool – sarky, cocky, cool – is top of the list for a film all his own, while a late hello from an old favourite makes it clear that mileage can be found in setting Origins stories in years further removed from Singer’s originals than Jackman is here. Magneto’s WWII adventures will do.

Jonathan Dean

Verdict:

Good blockbuster fare. Origins lacks the magic of the previous films, but Hood does well with a franchise whose shelflife depends on which mutants are next.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • BenCh

      Apr 30th 2009, 9:33

      Sat through this last night. It felt rushed and over edited and very very light. It's clunky screenplay unfolded like a bad TV movie. Maybe if the studio piled more money into the effects budget rather than Jackmans wallet, this may have felt more accomplished. Disapointing.

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    • davidmeeks2003

      Apr 30th 2009, 11:08

      3

      Saw this last night and enjoyed it.A bit of a mess of a movie but fun all the same.Trying to fit in too many comic book characters most with too little screen time didn't add anything to the story. Also watching two 'indestructible' guys beat on each other gets boring surprisingly quickly. With the discussions of decapitation it reminded me of Highlander. Biggest problem,though, for me,as mentioned above, was the amount of the plot already covered in the x-men movies esp number 2 .As a result, knowing that various participants in this movie survive to star in that one lessened the tension a great deal. Also the way they 'shoe-horned' in the amnesia plot was lame in the extreme.I really feel I now have far more information about wolverine's origins than I need.

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    • StephenToman

      Apr 30th 2009, 11:54

      2

      Since when did the phrase 'good blockbuster fare' come to be used for below-average films? Agreed with the review, but a film that makes another film sound more appealing (Magneto Origins) doesn't make it a good film. But if you gave it only two stars (or even one) Hugh Jackman may not talk to you again (which may not be a bad thing - comes across as a nice guy but his interviews are hardly the most exciting read in the world: "I wanted to be, like, so ripped I head to eat four carrots and a protein shake, like, four times a night. While I was asleeep. Insane. Croikey-fack!")

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    • rorschach

      Apr 30th 2009, 13:39

      3

      I also enjoyed the movie for what it was, id give it 3 stars too..but what a p**s poor review! Empire only gave it 2 stars but at least they went intoi a bit of detail why..How were the performances total film?..eh, well...

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    • paddydebeast

      May 1st 2009, 1:15

      No giant squids in it.TERRIBLE.

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    • Chufferstud

      May 1st 2009, 16:00

      3

      Nowhere near as bad as some have said! But I agree that it was flawed. Too many (should be major) characters are sidelined (although I am bored with the out pouring of grief for how Deadpool was treated!) I did chuckle as (spoiler!) laser-beam eye Deadpool cut through concrete with ease, yet Victor's clothes could take a direct hit and not even get slightly ruined...only in a superhero film I suppose. Roll on X-Men:Origins - Magneto!

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    • starray

      May 2nd 2009, 1:42

      The trouble with so many who have seen this film is that they know too much about X-men - therefore it's impossible to live up to their expectations. I've seen previous X-men films, but honestly, because I've not read the comics, they meant little to me. I loved this film because it was fantastic to meet the characters for the first time and with fresh eyes. I loved everything about it because I enjoyed it as a stand-alone film and wasn't constantly comparing it to what I already knew of the X-men films. A very enjoyable ride indeed and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone who just wants to watch a really entertaining film and is not there to intellectualize it to death.

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    • starray

      May 2nd 2009, 1:42

      5

      The trouble with so many who have seen this film is that they know too much about X-men - therefore it's impossible to live up to their expectations. I've seen previous X-men films, but honestly, because I've not read the comics, they meant little to me. I loved this film because it was fantastic to meet the characters for the first time and with fresh eyes. I loved everything about it because I enjoyed it as a stand-alone film and wasn't constantly comparing it to what I already knew of the X-men films. A very enjoyable ride indeed and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone who just wants to watch a really entertaining film and is not there to intellectualize it to death.

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    • thedarkknight

      May 4th 2009, 22:12

      4

      I thought this was a very entertaining film, with some wonderful action set pieces and interesting characters. Good acting all round, although Jackman overuses the angry/sad scream thing. Not enough time given to the most interesting character, Deadpool. However, with this little teaser part there may be a franchise starter in him yet.

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    • razzaman123

      May 5th 2009, 16:59

      5

      awesome film you get the feel and the background of wolverines past very very good hugh is spectacular so is leiv this is a realy good kick of to the summer great movie and if he dident overuse the angry scream you woudent get the fel of a angry animal like being !

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    • harley1903

      May 6th 2009, 13:40

      4

      I really enjoyed this film, it was what i was expecting it was a fun movie Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is perfect, I left the cinema wanting more I wanted to know what happens next to wolverine.

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    • Phoenix81

      May 7th 2009, 13:39

      3

      Not bad - Improvement on The Last Stand. Nice back story

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    • graham6

      May 11th 2009, 23:44

      4

      Really good- some bad CGI, and not enough Deadpool; Ryan Renyolds was brilliant in it, he has to have his own origins story. It's not as good as the first 2 but a little better than the 3rd.

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    • duncan1964

      May 15th 2009, 14:02

      2

      Hard to know where it all went wrong for this X Men prequel (Wolverine Begins, if you will). A real mess of a film that lacks any dramatic narrative and makes Wolverine the least interesting of all the characters involved. Asks a lot more questions than it answers, and has the over riding feeling of studio interference. A noticible lack of blood also seems to indicate a lot of trimming to get a lower certificate. A wasted opportunity

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    • JD1994

      May 17th 2009, 21:35

      2

      The opening sequence seems to be the only good part of a film, which lacks action and suspense that keeps you hooked, just like the other films did.

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    • johnmoorefan

      May 19th 2009, 13:13

      3

      Better than The Last Stand due to improved performances and direction of the plot, but overall a little to formuliac and rushed to warrant anything more than a mild thumbs up.

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    • Mattsimus

      May 20th 2009, 22:34

      3

      Well although its a bit of a shame to say that the movie is far from perfect, its def a step up from the last stand (ok not saying much), but this movie is a lot of fun even if some of the special fx are at times a little cheap looking(in front of mirror scene looking at his claws etc...)but its full of action, some great fight sequences and cool character introductions (Gambit, Deadpool) even if one of the best scenes is thanks to deadpool after he exits the lift......, for some reason you find yourself wanting just as much of deadpool as you do wolverine!You clearly cant take away any credit from mr Jackman as he has worked hard to hone and perfect an already ripped physique to conquer the physical perfection of a realistic wolverine not to mention the fact that he happens to be an excellent actor also. Its unfair to call the film forgetable as there are many great parts to it but for now lets get back to the full potential of the xmen and lookforward to future origins.

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    • nolanfan

      May 20th 2009, 23:51

      3

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    • hendrixisgod777

      Jul 7th 2009, 0:01

      3

      No Alpha Flight, no 'Gaijin' Wolverine tearing it up in Japan, no encounters with the Incredible Hulk. It seems to me that they took the least interesting stuff about Canada's premier superhero and made it worse instead of taking the coolest stuff about him and making it better. Granted, the opening scenes are fantastic; Schrieber and Jackman's performances are fun to watch and the tweeking of the manifestation of Wolverine's powers work better than the convoluted and unconclusive mess in the 'Origins' graphic novel. However, I can't help wondering : why there isn't more Team x screentime; why are Wolverine's other abilities, his heightened animal senses, watered down; why couldn't they think of a better way to take away his memories other than a silver, sorry, adamantium bullet - wtf! This film has obviously suffered from too much studio interference and almost ends up as mutant speed dating with potentially interesting characters being reduced to bit part players (Gambit and Deadpool) and unnecessary characters being brought in for the sake of it (Cyclops and Emma Frost anyone?). All in all, I give this film 3 stars. Non-fanboys and fans of Singer's X-men films will get more out of it than Claremont/Miller Wolverine fans waiting for the nasty, psychopathic, berzerker fury driven canucklehead we fell love with. For me? I'm still waiting for Jackman to say the "I'm the best there is at what I do...but what I do isn't very nice." line. This film is probably the best adaptation of Wolverine we'll ever see on the screen. Unfortunately, he's just a little bit too nice.

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    • zodiacspeaking

      Oct 22nd 2009, 14:10

      3

      I actually quite liked it at the time even though wolverine is a very obvious charecter to do a movie about. I thought it was a bit pointless as we'd practicly learned his story in X-men 2. I thought the story was exciting and with some great cameos of charecters (Gambit, young cyclops) I thought it was one of the better x-men movies.

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