Continuing our journey through the X-Men franchise, we get to the film that explains how James Logan became the Wolverine and all his adventures before he arrives on Professor X’s doorstep with no memory. What we actually get is a disjointed mess that makes me wish I could forget everything that happened too. Spoilers ahead.
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Director: Gavin Hood
Writers: David Benioff and Skip Woods
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Will.i.am, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Ryan Reynolds, Tim Pocock
I really wanted to see this one in theaters, but I was out of the country for a good portion of Origins’ initial run and then the bad reviews kept me away upon my return to the States. I rented it as soon as it was available and I wanted to kick myself for spending the $5 on that. The film was supposed to be a character study on how James Logan (Jackman) became the hero we come to know and love in X-Men, but all we got was a series of events and ties to other characters that makes no sense in the continuity of the franchise.
The film starts off in Canada in 1845 with a young and sickly James Logan (Troye Sivan) being watched over by a boy named Victor Creed (Michael-James Olsen) who is sharpening his nails to a point with a knife. We have no idea why Victor is hanging around with the unwell Logan other than the plot requires them to be in the same house when Victor’s father comes banging on the front door, inebriated and wanting to talk to Logan’s father. The man kills Logan’s father and Logan, in anger, brings out his bone claws for the first time and kills Creed senior who is actually Logan’s father. Logan goes running from his family home and Victor follows him stating that they “are brothers, and brothers take care of one another.”
I really don’t understand how these two characters are made into siblings for Origins when they fought in X-Men and Sabretooth (played by Tyler Mane in that film) doesn’t acknowledge the connection. If you were him, wouldn’t you be like “hey we are brothers! Don’t you remember me? I thought we always take care of one another. Why are we fighting?”
Cut to the opening credits montage of the two brothers (now played by Jackman and Schreiber) fighting in every major war for the United States including for the North in the Civil War and ending with their time with the army in Vietnam. One thing that really bugged me when I first watched the film (and it still bugs me now) is why are two Canadians fighting for the US? Why weren’t they shown fighting in something like the Fenian Raids? The Raids were a significant part of Canadian history and I would imagine two Canadians would take part in them. (Yes, I had to look up what the Fenian Raids were and their historical significance. I plead Texan and we were taught more about Mexican wars or conflicts that had an impact on the Southern United States.)
Canadian troops played a large role during both World Wars and the Korean War, so why have two Canadian characters fight for the United States when they should be fighting with their own countrymen? Lazy storytelling attempting to appeal to Americans, but by this point the targeted audience knows that Wolverine is a proud Canuck. Canada didn’t take part in the Vietnam War (at least not in a military way) so I could give their appearance there pass because it seems as if Victor had developed a bloodlust by this point and would have reveled in joining a war with so much carnage attached to it.
Victor’s out of control behavior gets the two men sent to the firing squad and the attention of Col. William Stryker (Huston) when they don’t die. Logan and Victor become mercenaries in a group that features not-Deadpool (Reynolds), a hobbit with telekinesis (Monaghan), Wil.i.am, a human battering ram (Durand), and a dude who is really good with guns (Henney). Do those guys have names? Yes. Do I care? Nope. We are only introduced to these people briefly and are featured in one really horrible action sequence. The only one that made an impression on me was Reynold’s Wade Wilson who was exactly what I was hoping he would be. Then we don’t hear from him again mostly because his mouth is sewn shut when we meet him again at the end of the movie. Epic Fail! Than you to Deadpool for righting this wrong.
Tired of killing people, Logan tells Stryker and Victor he is going to walk away. The two men tell him that he “just can’t walk away,” but off Logan strolls into the darkness without so much as a peep from anyone. There is something in the middle where Logan gets married to a non-Native American named Kayla Silverfox (Collins) and then she dies, but not really because it is all just a giant six year con by Stryker and Victor to get the adamantium onto Logan’s skeleton and the name Wolverine. Of course the only reason why Stryker wants to get the adamantium into Wolverine is to see if he can survive the process and then use his DNA (along with the DNA of other mutants) to create a Super Mutant, named Weapon XI, to kill all Mutants. That is dumber than Stryker’s plan “use Cerebro 2 to give the entire Mutant population giant migraines” plot from X2. There is a Gambit cameo too (Kitch with a terrible Cajun accent) that wasn’t too bad, but by that point I was so bored I’m didn’t get excited to see one of my favorites from the X-Men cartoons.
In an attempt to tie this movie in with the rest of the franchise and give another character an origin story, we see Scott Summers (Pocock) as a teenager getting kidnaped by Victor and Stryker to be a part of the Weapon XI program. Logan and Scott never have any contact with one another in Origins other than when Logan comes to rescue the group of mutant children Stryker took hostage, but Scott was blindfolded at the time. When the two meet in X-Men, Scott pipe up and say he was a part of a mutant research program too? Maybe that is a clue as to who graphed adamantium to Logan’s skeleton? Wouldn’t Scott recognize the voice of the man who rescued him?
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was lazy storytelling coupled with CGI that looked so out of date it is laughable. The graphics from the first X-Men film were more impressive. There was no linear story told, just scenario after scenario to get Logan with no memory and wandering around to the point where we meet him in X-Men. A character loved by so many fans deserved a better origin story than this one.
What did you think of X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Were you really disappointed by the giant continuity errors? Did you cringe at the CGI? Let me know in the comments section below.