X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

reviewed by
Homer Yen

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Slices and Dices His Way Forward
by Homer Yen
(c) 2009

I think what made the X-Men films fun to watch was the fact that all of these uniquely powered mutants came together to create a dynamic team environment. Thanks to Dr. Xavier, who could keep them in check, teamwork would make the dream work. Truthfully, I never much appreciated Logan's solo act as he would brazenly charge into battle without much reflection on his actions. I understand that this is part of his appeal. However, it's hard to care about someone who doesn't really care about himself. Yet, as I think about the options for possible "X-Men Origins" movies, Wolverine would probably have the best chance of breaking out with a film of his own.

The final product is more entertaining-than-not, but wavers in its ability to deliver solidly. It gets off to a great start, visually, as we are introduced to Logan (Hugh Jackman) and his brother, Victor (Liev Schreiber). Logan runs as fast as a wolf; but Liev can also pounce like - well, uhh - a sabertoothed tiger. Both share amazing regenerative powers and long life. When the film opens, we are in 1845. We are treated to a creative montage of previous wars with Logan and Victor fighting side-by-side as soldiers and surviving through all of them against all odds. Their unique powers come to the attention of a shadowy government entity, who recruits them to do heinous things. Now, it's about 165 years later with Logan looking like Hugh Jackman (and acting like a morality-stricken boy scout) and Victor looking like Liev Schreiber (and acting like the warmongering bad-boy that he is).

Now it devolves quickly into a highly stylized video game. The creation of a Mutant Mercenary Group, especially with some swordsman that could deflect incoming bullets, makes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look classy. As tough as it is to watch this part, it does set into motion the theme of the film, which is the rift that develops between the two brothers and a subsequent hasty decision by Logan that would ultimately transform him into Wolverine.

The problem here is that in its effort to sustain a story that focuses on just one person, they never really unleash the film's soul until midway into the film. And now with time running out, it's too hard to catch up on what hasn't been said and to make up for all of the wasted special effects. Yet, the film is actually pretty good once the need for revenge overtakes Logan's generally passive side. There is a higher level of grit present here than in the other X-Men films.

For me, the urge to see it was one more of curiosity than a real desire to see an "X-Men" film. I had seen all of the others of this franchise (and I think that this is better than I, but less entertaining than II and III). I have wondered how he got those indestructible ginsu-for-claws and why he was unable to remember his past. Thanks for sharing. But you know what? I think that I just miss Dr. Xavier and Magneto who had bigger and better ideals to squabble about.

Grade:        B-
S:        0 out of 3
L:        0 out of 3
V:        2 out of 3

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