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Vault Movie Review: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/1/2009

Theatrical Release: 5/1/2009

Synopsis

James Howlett (Hugh Jackman) is a mutant running from his past. He has been gifted with large bone claws that emerge from between his knuckles, and rapid mutant healing, making him virtually unkillable and immortal. He and his brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreibe) are very, very old, but due to their healing, they seem to have hardly aged a day. They have lived for centuries as loners, hiding what they are from the society around them, and they have fought in countless wars throughout their years. In the not too distant past, they were approached by a man named William Stryker (Danny Huston), with a unique proposition.

William Stryer was putting together a team of mutants to do what normal men could not. At first, it seemed like this team could serve as somewhat of a misfit family for James and Victor, but then things took a turn for the worse. James left the group and went into hiding, but his past has caught up to him. After tragedy struck, William Stryker reached out to James and convinced him to undergo a procedure that would infuse his skeleton with an indestructible metal known as adamantium. Now with rapid mutant healing, an indestructible skeleton, and dangerous metal claws to go along with it, James becomes the Wolverine in his search for revenge.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Wolverine (+6pts)

Kayla (-4pts)

Sabretooth (+5pts)

Stryker & The Team (-6pts)

Gambit (+1pts)

Deadpool (-5pts)

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Pro: Wolverine (+6pts)

As disappointing as X-Men: The Last Stand was, I was still interested in this movie, because it meant finally learning more about the mystery that was Logan’s past. His origin did not nearly live up to my expectations, but that was because my expectations were pretty high. The story this origin was set in could have been a lot better, but what we got was plenty of Wolverine action, plenty of Logan’s judgemental attitude, an interesting look at just how old Logan was, a captivating dynamic between him and Victor, and a rage fueled revenge story that saw Wolverine on a tirade, going after anyone and everyone who wronged him. The overall plot could have been better, but Wolverine is an entertaining character, and there was plenty of him here.

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Con: Kayla (-4pts)

At first, I liked the idea of giving Logan a love-interest, as none of the other movies really did that. This storyline had potential, as it could have been interesting to see someone as animalistic as Logan trying to navigate a real relationship. The filmmakers also could have played with Logan’s non-existent aging, and how he dealt with the aging of someone he loved. A love interest also provided Logan something to lose, which meant there was someone worth letting his rage loose in order to protect or avenge. Unfortunately, I did not really like anything the filmmakers did with Kayla (Lynn Collins).

I did not think Lynn Collins had much chemistry with Hugh Jackman, so I did not really buy them as a couple. I also did not like how abruptly the filmmakers wrote her out of the story, and I did not like that this happened off screen. I also did not feel the impact this had on Logan. I understood the logic of what Logan felt, but I did not really feel it. I also did not like where the filmmakers eventually took this storyline by the end of the movie. Giving Logan a love interest in his origin could have been really interesting, but I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with it at pretty much every step of the way.

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Pro: Sabretooth (+5pts)

Liev Schreiber was excellent as Victor Creed. In X-Men, Sabretooth was a blank slate of a character. He was little more than an angry animal, and it made him a one-dimensional and uninteresting character. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, that could not be further from the truth. Liev Schreiber was captivating as Sabretooth. It made the scenes between him and Logan incredibly tense, and I really felt the history and animosity between the two characters.

Victor went through all the same wars that Logan had, but the two came out of it very different. Logan was still honorable and good, but Victor was corrupted by the violence. He seemed to enjoy killing, he seemed to enjoy the dirtiest parts of war, and he was jealous of his little brother. These two characters saw plenty of action in this movie, and the rage these characters had within them made their fight scenes feel really engaging. The movie had plenty of issues, but one thing the filmmakers got right was Sabretooth, and Liev Schreiber was a big reason why.

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Con: Stryker & The Team (-6pts)

William Stryker was a pretty underwhelming antagonist because the filmmakers made him evil for the sake of being evil. Based on what he wanted, and who he needed to do it, it did not make any sense for him to take the approach he took. He was the antagonist, so the filmmakers made him bad, and that was really his only reason for being the way he was. Being cruel and sinister seemed counter intuitive, because his cruelty was directed at the person he needed to get what he wanted. I get that he was the villain, but throughout this movie I kept thinking that things would have most likely gone his way if he had just reasoned with and appealed to the person he needed, rather than betraying them with utter cruelty.

Then there was Stryker’s team, which were not a horrible group of mutants, but it felt like the filmmakers forgot what this movie was supposed to be. We have already seen Logan in a team of superheroes in the last three movies. This was supposed to be Logan’s origin story, and while introducing some other mutants would have been fine, the filmmakers of this movie spent a lot of time introducing a whole bunch of new mutants. Individually, it was cool to see some of these mutants using their powers, and some of these characters were interesting, but all of them were unnecessary, and I feel like this movie would have been a lot more impactful if the filmmakers kept the focus on fewer mutants—like Logan and Victor—and spent more screen time fleshing out the very personal story between them.

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Pro: Gambit (+1pts)

This was one of the new mutant characters that I really enjoyed. His personality was cool and mysterious, and his powers were awesome and explosive in the best way. Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) was a staff wielding card shark with explosive, telekinetic powers. He was an awesome character who was hardly in this movie, but I left this movie wanting to see a lot more of him in future movies. That unfortunately never happened, but this was a strong cinematic introduction to the character, especially considering how little screen time he got.

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Con: Deadpool (-5pts)

Ryan Reynolds was a perfect casting choice for this character, and Deadpool and Deadpool 2 were proof of that. Unfortunately, the great casting was not enough to save this character from the horrendous plan that the writers had in store for him. To be honest, I liked pretty much everything from this character in the first chunk of the movie. He had the quips that anyone familiar with Ryan Reynolds would know to expect, and he had some cool action moments as well.

Unfortunately, the writers took this character to ridiculous places by the end of the story. They took out everything that made him Deadpool, and they left us with this weird Frankenstein thing that could have literally been anyone. They literally butchered the character, and what we were left with shared no resemblance to the character in the beginning of the movie, or the fan-favorite character from the comics. This final version was also this weird generic, evil, drone that was void of all personality, which made the climax less interesting. Anyone who was familiar with this character and saw that Ryan Reynolds was cast in the role was excited for what the filmmakers would do with the character. Unfortunately, the filmmakers of this movie butchered the character in a pretty big way.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C- (72pts)

X-Men: The Last Stand was a disappointment, and unfortunately, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was as well. The whole movie was supposed to be Logan's origin story, and it definitely was, but the filmmakers chose to give us another team of mutants, which made this part of the movie feel like more of the same, compared to the other movies in the franchise. I liked the idea of giving Logan a love-interest, but I disliked most of what the filmmakers did with that love-interest in this movie. I loved the casting of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, but the filmmakers butchered the character in a pretty major way. Then there was William Stryker, who was evil for the sake of evil, and his method for achieving his goal felt counter productive and outright dumb.

Fortunately, this movie had plenty of Wolverine. He was the entertaining, judgemental, morally sound, and badass character that we have come to expect, and we got to learn a lot more of his history. We also got plenty of awesome, Wolverine action, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between Logan and his brother Victor. There were definitely parts of this movie that I enjoyed, but the writers really dropped the ball with the movie's main plot, as well as with the stories of a few of its major characters.

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