X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2008)

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The most famous character of the X-Men universe gets his own spin-off, which takes us to the origins of how he would become one of the most fearless and heroic superheroes of the X-Men team.

The man who would become Wolverine was born James Howlett. At a young age, he saw his father killed at the hands of the father of Victor Creed. Howlett soon finds he is a mutant with claws made of bone protruding from his knuckles. When he kills his father’s murderer, he learns that the man he murdered is his real father. James and Victor soon leave and for years, they go through a number of wars. Like James, Victor is also a mutant with fangs and long fingernails like an animal.

The now adult James and Victor are sent to be killed when Victor kills a superior officer. However, they are soon recruited by William Stryker, a commander who uses mutants to form a squad to carry top secret missions. North, Fred, John, Chris, and Wade make up Stryker’s mutant squad and after carrying out a mission to retrieve a rare metal, James leaves the team and eventually finds himself in the Canadian wilderness.

James, who reverted to using his real surname of Logan, has found love with teacher Kayla Silverfox and works as a carpenter. Meanwhile, Victor has returned as well, picking off fellow mutants. Stryker informs Logan, who soon discovers it is too late when Victor kills Kayla. Undeterred, Logan undergoes a process in which the rare metal Stryker has located, adamantium, has been infused in Logan’s skeleton. When Stryker intends to erase Logan’s memory as a coverup, Logan escapes and his mission begins.

The film was made perhaps to give the new generations of fans a visual look at how the most prolific member of the X-Men is born and while Wolverine did have his own comic in the 1980’s, in which he is in Japan, producers felt that it was better to really delve into the true origins of Wolverine.

Bearing relation to X2: X-Men United (2003), the film goes into the relationship between future enemies Wolverine and Stryker, as mercilessly played here by Danny Huston. The film also looks into the good ol’ sibling rivalry between Wolverine and the future Sabretooth, as somewhat miscast by Liev Schreiber. While Schreiber could have made a better Stryker, he tends to make the best of his role as Victor.

Despite being on the cover of the DVD, Ryan Reynolds’ appearance as the fast-talking, sword wielding Wade Wilson (later to be known as Deadpool, who gets his own film on February 12) is more of a cameo appearance while Taylor Kitsch does some amazing work as the future X-Man Gambit. Kitsch brings that style of Louisiana flavor that Gambit brings with both his cards and his trusty use of the long staff. Channing Tatum takes over for Kitsch in the role in a solo Gambit film, due for release at the end of this year.

While some may oppose to the finale, people must remember this is actually a prequel to the X-Men films and we do learn how Wolverine is born. So there is a distinction of a somewhat disappointing finale, but that is expected for a prequel as it soon becomes the beginning of the road for a future hero.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine truly doesn’t disappoint, but does have its brand of flaws. However, one cannot help but see Hugh Jackman return to the role that made him famous in a film as to how the most famous of the X-Men is born.

WFG Rating: B+

A 20th Century Fox production in association with Marvel Entertainment. Director: Gavin Hood. Producers: Lauren Shuler-Donner, John Palermo, Ralph E. Winter, and Hugh Jackman. Writers: David Benioff and Skip Woods. Cinematography: Donald McAlpine. Editing: Nicolas De Toth and Megan Gill.

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.i.am, Lynn Collins, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Ryan Reynolds, Scott Adkins.

 

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