X-Men Origins: Wolverine DVD: Review By Brian Gallagher

X-Men Origins: Wolverine does have a few problems, but I thought it was a rather slick little flick that takes us back to how one of our favorite mutants came to be.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A unique choice for Wolvy's beginnings, some great performances and wonderful action set pieces.
THE BAD
Some rather bad dialogue and overall boring/corny moments here.
THE FEATURE
I might very well be one of the last in the country to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I wasn't one of the millions who downloaded the flick illegally after it was leaked onto the Internet and I just plain didn't get around to seeing it in theaters. I figured it would be best to see this flick once it hit DVD, after all the buzz/controversy around the flick had gone by the wayside. After finally seeing it, I'd say it was definitely worth the wait because it wasn't nearly as bad as I heard it was, although there was a few problems that I had with the flick.

Now, I'm not a comic book guy, so I can't really comment on whether this origin story was true to the comic book or not, but I found the very very beginning rather odd and intriguing at the same time. The film starts out in Canada in the 1860s with a young boy, enraged at finding out who his real father is, and mutates, developing these crude bone claws that come out of his hands. We discover that this is Logan (Hugh Jackman) and his new half-brother Victor Creed (Live Schrieber) and we also discover that they're basically immortal, with a slick opening credit shot that shows them fighting in every major war. When they're sent to be killed by a firing squad and, of course, live, a man named Stryker (Danny Huston) comes to see them and is the only one that truly understands their abilities. He tells them they're putting together a special team with people like them, fighting for their country, so to speak. There's John Wraith (Will.i.am), a teleporter, Bradley/Bolt (Dominic Monaghan), who can control any kind of electrical device with his mind, Fred Dukes/The Blob (Kevin Durand) who can stop practically anything with his massive size, and Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), a fast-talking warrior who is a wizard with his swords, even with the ability to block bullets. After their first job, though, Logan knows this isn't right and leaves the group. Six years later, Logan is living a quiet life in a secluded cabin in Canada, making a modest living as a logger when he's paid a visit by Stryker and Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), a deadly marksman that was part of the original team as well. Logan is told that Victor has been killing off members of the old team and tries to persuade him to come back and help them fight, but he refuses... until his lovely wife Kayla (Lynn Collins) is killed by Victor/Sabretooth, he comes back into the fold to take down Victor... and gets some new metal toys to play with in his adamantium claws.

While we do have some stretches of rather bad dialogue here, I rather enjoyed the story put together by scribes David Benioff and Skip Woods. I found Logan's arc to be rather intriguing, starting with these crude bone claws and then getting the adamantium upgrade, and I was rather delighted to see a few other familiar characters from this X-Men franchise as well, like a young Cyclops and a lovely cameo at the end which I won't reveal. Of course, there were a few characters that I was surprised wasn't in the movie nearly enough, like Taylor Kitsch's Remy LeBeau/Gambit and Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson/Deadpool, but hopefully they provided a nice enough set-up here for use in future flicks and/or their own spin-off flick, like a Deadpool flick that we've heard about. Benioff and Woods do tend to overcomplicate things towards the end here, and I'm not sure why they decided to try to do a Forrest Gump thing here, with these fictional characters supposedly having a hand in actual historical events like Logan and Victor taking part in every major war, and a very weird historical bit at the end.

Hugh Jackman really ups his game here as Logan, bringing a more animalistic nature to this character as he's first learning how to deal with his new claws, literally. This seems like a much richer version of Wolverine and it should be interesting now to watch this first and then go back and watch the original trilogy to watch his character progress in that manner. A lot of the rest of these performances aren't the best, but thankfully this is really a one-man show, for the most part, and those lesser performances aren't really put on display that much... although some great performances are slighted as well. The two other main supporting turns are the wonderful Liev Schreiber as Victor Creed/Sabretooth, who is just great, like always, and Danny Huston, who, for some reason, usually annoys me on screen, but was rather perfectly cast as the younger William Stryker here. I wasn't a big fan of Lynn Collins as Logan's love Kayla or Will.i.am as this Bayou teleporter John Wraith, but they aren't exactly too prominent in the film. However, I did love Taylor Kitsch as the card shark Remy LeBeau/Gambit and Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, but they weren't used nearly as much as I thought they would be. I would've loved to see at least more of Kitsch as the electrifying Gambit, because this kid should have quite a bright future ahead of him if he keeps turning in performances like this.

The real x-factor for me before seeing this was director Gavin Hood, who had only done two films prior to this film and they weren't even anything close to action films (See: Tsotsi, Rendition), but he actually pulled it off quite nicely. The big "uh oh" moment for me in the trailer - the launch of Wolvy up into the helicopter - seemed to be edited down a bit compared to the trailer (thank God) and it seems Hood has a decent flair for action as well. Sure, he just had to use a few cliche shots here and there, like Logan walking with the big explosion going off behind him, a shot that is used in practically every action movie, almost to the point where I think it's a pre-requisite. Yes, there are some corny moments here and there, but for a guy who hasn't done an action movie ever, and for this only his third movie total, I think he did a pretty damn good job. There are some wonderful fight scenes in the flick that really surprised me for someone who doesn't have any experience in capturing these kinds of scenes, and they're a lot of fun to watch.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the first in what I hope is at least a few more origin stories to come out of this franchise. We get to see how Logan gets his claws and how he eventually became what he was in the previous films. This isn't perfect by any means, but it will make a fine addition to your X-Men film collection.
THE EXTRAS
We get a decent amount of bonus goodies on this two-disc release. We start out with The Roots of Wolverine: A Conversation with Stan Lee & Len Wein. Of course, Lee created the X-Men comic book franchise but Wein was the one who came up with the character of Wolverine, and I was rather surprised to learn here that Wein had originally created Wolverine to be used in another comic book, The Incredible Hulk. This 16-minute featurette literally is just Lee and Wein asking each other questions about X-Men and Wolverine himself, how they came up with these characters for the comic books and we also hear their thoughts on Hugh Jackman's portrayal of this character in the film series. It's a nice way to get the bonus features started here.

Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins is next and this goes into the roots of the film. We start off with producer Lauren Shuler Donner and how Hugh Jackman and her first started talking about this origin story during the making of X2. We also hear from director Gavin Hood, Dominic Monaghan and others, but some of the best stuff from Jackman, talking about how he was never quite satisfied with the character in the past films and also his incredibly rigorous training regiment. It's a great 12-minute piece that takes us deeper insde the flick.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes are next, but sadly we only get four of them here. The first one we get is an alternate scene where Logan walks away from the unit, but we're introduced to a very young Storm. The second one is rather worthless, with Sabretooth talking with Stryker and the third is a barely-alternate scene towards the end that' is just reworked a little bit and the last is a tiny scene that could've easily been used as a shot over the end credits, with Logan in a Japanese bar. These aren't amazing by any means, but they're worth a look-see.

The last thing we get here really boggles my mind because it really just doesn't belong here... anywhere. It's a 30-second Anti-Smoking PSA, but it's not even really a PSA, it's just a regular commercial for an anti-smoking organization. I've seen these kinds of PSA's on DVD's before, but they always have usually the star of the movie talking about a certain cause, and this is just an anti-smoking commercial with none of the stars. Weird.
THE VIDEO
The film is presented in the widescreen format, but the screener disc that I received didn't have any aspect ratio information.
THE AUDIO
The sound is handled through the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound format.
THE PACKAGE
Again, I just got a screener disc so I can't really talk about the packaging here.
THE FINAL WORD
X-Men Origins: Wolverine does have a few problems, but I thought it was a rather slick little flick that takes us back to how one of our favorite mutants came to be. After all the crazy hype around this, I'm glad I waited until now to see it when everything had subsided, because it isn't nearly as bad as I had heard it was.

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Comments (3)

  1. Paolo Sardinas

    Great review!

    5 years agoby @sardinasFlag

  2. T. King (Red Camera Man)

    I thought this movie was really great.

    5 years agoby @redcameramanFlag

  3. JonSpidey07

    I like this movie alot
    its a summer flick for goodness sake

    5 years agoby @jonspidey07Flag