3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
It’s funny: X-Men: The Last Stand is insufferable for many reasons, one of which is entirely too much Wolverine. Yet this movie has even more of him and it’s totally watchable. Weird.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the first in a proposed series of prequel movies to flesh out the primary characters in the first three X-Men movies. That may not end up happening, but this movie does an alright job of digging into Wolverine’s past. The film shows us everything from his childhood to his lifetime as a soldier to love interests to, yes, the moment where adamantium is bonded to his skeleton. Hugh Jackman plays the title character for a fourth time and yet again does a pretty good job with the part.
This movie belongs to Liev Schreiber, however. Schreiber plays Victor Creed, better known to most as Sabretooth (but never referred to as such here) and is Wolverine’s half-brother/rival. There isn’t a single scene he doesn’t steal, and he quickly wipe’s Tyler Mane’s disastrous turn as Sabretooth in X-Men completely from memory. The “bag lady claws” are kind of lame, I suppose, but Creed oozes with swagger. I also quite liked Danny Huston as William Stryker, though that may have been because I’m a Danny Huston fan. In fairness, Huston isn’t nearly as good here as he is in Boogie Woogie, nor is he as good as Brian Cox is in X2 at the same role. But Huston does add a certain little something to the movie even without being flawless.
Other than Schreiber, Huston and Jackman, there’s not much positivity to go around for the rest of the cast. Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit is just plain annoying and I really hated Kayla Silverfox (played by Lynn Collins). Ryan Reynolds, another actor that I really enjoy, is barely used at all. I liked Kevin Durand as The Blob and Dominic Monaghan as Bradley, but both suffer from the same fate as Reynolds and rarely show up. John Wraith felt like a character who was only on the screen so often because he was played by a famous person (will.i.am).
Large chunks of the plot are largely ridiculous and the action is almost uniformly unsatisfying. Everything with Kayla was painful to sit through, particularly the escape sequence towards the end where she helps a bunch of mutant children escape from captivity. Patrick Stewart’s de-aging effects make him look a little too much like Jar Jar Binks, which is a lame payoff to the escape. There’s also a subplot after Wolverine bonds with the adamantium where he escapes the facility and finds a well-meaning elderly couple that help get him back on his feet. They’re cute, but they’re killed off within five minutes of screen time, rendering the whole affair completely absurd. Their murder is immediately followed by a cringe-worthy action scene where Wolverine propels from an exploding motorcycle onto a helicopter flying above him. It’s worse than it sounds.
The big reveal of Deadpool as the final enemy for Wolverine to battle would have certainly been a lot better received if he had been named anything other than Deadpool. What’s presented is a pretty cool concept for a character, but it’s just not Deadpool. It would have been nice if we had gotten that monstrosity earlier in the film because it really deserved more than a five-minute fight scene before getting its head cut off.
Still, even with its problems, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is surprisingly fun. Schreiber is a show-stealer and Jackman was born to play Wolverine. More importantly, the movie doesn’t need to be anything more than what it is: a fun, if mindless, action movie with plenty of Wolverine escapades. Works for me.