X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

It is time. I have pushed away the review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine long enough.

I have to apologise in advance: Hugh Jackman, I like you. Therefore I’m sorry. Liev Schreiber, you’re hot. Therefore I’m sorry. David Benioff, I loved 25th Hour, Stay and Troy (and I probably would have liked the Kite Runner had I seen it). Therefore I’m sorry. Gavin Hood, I’ve heard great things about Tsotsi. Therefore I’m sorry.

But X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucks great big ass.

The movie tells the origin story of Wolverine, starting with his childhood in the 19th century, continuing through several wars until it reaches almost today. Logan aka Wolverine [Hugh Jackman] travels through the history with his brother Victor [Liev Schreiber], most of the time they are soldiers. One day they get recruited by William Stryker [Danny Huston] for a special ops team consisting of a few mutants [Most notably Ryan Reynolds, Will.I.Am and Dominic Monaghan]. While Victor is getting more reckless with every day, Logan can’t handle the unethical violence anymore. So, he parts ways with the rest of the group. But things can’t end like this and they don’t.

The movie has everything in abundance – plot holes, bad CGI, worse CGI fridging, WTF moments, … the only thing it lacks is quality and a little more naked Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. This is already a contender for worst movie of the year in my book.



Okay, first, I’d like to say that I have never read the comics – I’m only a fan of the movies. So I don’t know what of the film was comic canon and what wasn’t but I do know what is movie canon. And although I don’t mind changes when they actually make for a better story (well, only a little bit), I would have greatly appreciated it if we could have stuck to one version in the movies. Instead, Sabretooth/Victor is suddenly Logan’s brother (although they give no sign of recognition in any of the other movies). A Marvel movie that makes me go WTF in the first 3 minutes is a sad affair indeed. Was that really necessary? Really, really necessary?
I have to admit, seeing as the only motivation of Victor and Logan to stay together seemed to be their being brothers, I guess it was necessary, but what kind of lazy-ass writing is this? Give me some real motivation!

The characterisation in general was pretty sad. Bad enough that Logan only gets motivated by people dying around him (first his real father, then the innocent people the soldier troupe kills, then his girlfriend, then the nice couple who take him in, then his girlfriend again), but at least he has some kind of motivation. What’s up with Victor? I don’t buy the whole “he’s just an animal” shit. Also animals have motivations and contrary to popular belief do have motivations themselves and don’t just kill for the hell of it. Usually.


And let’s not talk about the dialogue. Okay, let’s talk about the dialogue: It was absolutely ridiculous. [“Do you know what happens to people who go out looking for blood? They find it.” *headdesk*] It is almost worth to watch the movie a second time, just to count the number of clichés while they talk. Almost.

What’s next? Ah, yes: plot. Let’s see how many questions I have after seeing the movie:

  1. Why the hell do Victor and Logan stay together?
  2. Why doesn’t Remy (Taylor Kitsch) just tell Logan where the Island is, instead of dropping him off?
  3. Why does Remy attack Logan while he’s fighting Victor? Wouldn’t it be a little more logical to let either Logan kill Victor or Victor kill Logan and then kill the remaining one?
  4. Speaking of that fight: why does John Wraith (Will.I.Am) go after Victor alone, knowing full well that he can’t take him?
  5. Not knowing the comics (deadra explained to me afterwards): what exactly are Gambits’ powers? And for that matter – what are Zero’s powers? I know that he sees really, really well, but apparently he can also jump so well it’s almost flying…
  6. Why doesn’t Logan check whether Kayla has any holes anywhere? He finds her soaked in blood , but her shirt isn’t ripped and she has no obvious wounds – wouldn’t that be kind of a pointer that she’s not really dead?
  7. How come the adamantium bullets supposedly kill Logan and in the next scene they only take his memory?
  8. How the hell would a bullet to the brain affect only memories? Say I buy that – how the hell could it only affect certain memories? I mean, Logan hasn’t forgotten how to speak or how not to shit his pants…
  9. Say you’re in the middle of an evil experiment – do you really stop to print dog tags?
  10. Say you’re in the middle of an evil experiment and you plan the experimentee’s memory afterwards – why don’t you do it right away?
  11. Say you worked with a guy for quite a while – wouldn’t you know that he has hypersensitive senses and therefore not talk about your evil plan in his presence?
  12. And wouldn’t it be easier to steal some DNA from the mutants to create Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) instead of locking all the mutants up? I mean, I’m pretty sure I could get access to a hair or some skin of any given person if I really wanted to, but locking them up in my basement?

That’s all I can think of right now, but I do think that’s more than enough.


But apart from insulting my intelligence, the movie also insults me as a woman. Once more, one lover gets fridged – and that she would get fridged was painfully obvious from the moment she hugged Logan on the lonely mountain top. But to fridge her, then have her revealed to be a bitch, then restore her character and then to fridge her again and then letting Logan forget all about it – that is insult^10.
Let me recap that for you: fridge – bitch – not – fridge – forget.
It can’t get much more misogynistic than that.
If you need to fridge her to motivate Logan then at least don’t let him forget about it. Next movie (and yes, sequel’s already planned) will probably see another instance of fridging to motivate Logan yet again. If he keeps on forgetting, they’ll obviously have to keep on doing it.

But I guess that I could have stood all of that a lot better if the special effects where at least worth their salt. But they were ridiculously bad. Logan’s claws looked so fake, I’m pretty sure that glued on paper claws would have looked more real. And Deadpool’s head falling down the reactor thingy and slicing it… JESUS!

The worst offense of it all was uncanny-valley Professor X though. He actually scared the shit out of me. And why did he get to walk? Would have been so much harder to make a freakishly bad CGI wheelchair than to make freakishly bad CGI legs? I mean I know that Prof X gets to walk a couple of times in the comics through some occurrence or other (clones and parallel universes and strange cures and whatnot) before there’s yet another accident and he’s paralysed again – but do we really have to continue this ridiculous tradition?


Well, as you can probably gather from this, this movie was one huge disappointment (except for Hugh Jackman running naked through a meadow). It really made me wish that I hadn’t stayed clean and legal and had downloaded the leaked version and gotten the whole thing over with.

Seriously, if you had asked me two weeks ago which movie I expected to like better, Wolverine or Star Trek, my answer most definitely would have been Wolverine.

Well. That’s cleared up and my answer now is definitely not Wolverine.


16 thoughts on “X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

  1. Sooooo true.

    You said almost everything that needed to be said, except for the giant moment of WTF??? that was the opening sequence. To make sense of that one, you’d have to have read Wolverine’s origin-story in the comics, and maybe watch the scene while being suspended upside down in a cave filled with hallucinogenic gas.

    To answer your question 2 –
    Because Gambit saying “It’s Three Mile Island, okay? Three. Mile. Island. Google it and let me get on with my gratuitous and badly animated card-shenenigans.” would have cost us about a minute of Gambit-screen-time (which would have been a bad thing), and a stupid look-our-tough-as-nails-superhero-is-afraid-of-flying-har-de-har moment (which would have been a good thing).

    Oh, and about that: I get that this is a Marvel story, and that somebody thought that adding a reference to radioactivity would be an ingenious and totally original thing to do. (Again…har de har)
    But I’m pretty sure that a) the actual hot circuit of a nuclear power plant wouldn’t be open and right beneath the cooling tower, conveniently located for the guy with the laser-eyes to fall into and b) just…just…no. No, no, no and NO^10…The stupid!!! Make it stop!!! It burns!!! Aaaaarghhh…

    I could say a lot more about this…but I don’t want to think about this film anymore. Not ever.
    So I’ll just leave it here.

    • I don’t know – I didn’t have much of a problem with the opening sequence. I actually found it looked pretty cool.

      You’re right, had the story made more sense, there would have been even less of unexplained and weirdly motivated Gambit. I can see the potential for cool in Gambit from the movie, but that’s about all.

      I know we already, briefly, talked about this – but I don’t think that the reactors are actually on in this case. Isn’t the whole thing one giant mock-up?

      [You don’t need to answer if you don’t want to talk about the movie anymore, which I’d understand. ;)]

    • Seriously? You think this movie was better than X3?

      Anyways, yes, I’m angry. This could have been the first big summer blockbuster although it’s not summer yet. But to not even give me the cool special effects… that hurt, man.

    • X3 wasn’t really that bad, was it? I thought it was quite fine as long as you didn’t think too much about it…and the storyline is from the comics, right? It’s aimed at the sort of people who don’t mind the kind of twists and turns and stretches of imagination that most of these comic books inevitably have.

      • Okay, there are reasons I found X3 terrible and I’ve read them things they call comics.

        That scene at the end of the film where Magneto looks up and says, “What have I done!”, I wanted to fucking kill Ratner. Then there was that thing about Angel; what in plu perfect hell did they do to such an awesome character!? And don’t even get me started on Kelsey Grammer as Beast!

        I found X2 a far far far superior film; brilliantly paced and directed with a lot of finesse – something Ratner wouldn’t know if it crawled up his…nevermind. Yes, I detested the film _that_ much.

        Wolverine was bad too and I hated what they did to an otherwise cool comic book anti-hero – Deadpool. Thing is Mr Jackman has a sort of …something about him that makes a film seem earnest. Given the crap he had to work with, he did an admirable job. Again, I hated the film but I truly loathed X3.

        Angels and Demons was also just so-so. I ended up watching Star Trek twice. That’s how a summer blockbuster is made! :)

        • Oh, don’t get me wrong – I did hate X3 as well. I just thought that Wolverine wasn’t that much better than X3. [Actually, I thought it wasn’t better at all. Though Naked!Hugh might tip the scales…]

          That Angels and Demons was so-so is no surprise, is it? I expect nothing more than for Ewan McGregor to be in it and that I get to laugh a few times because it’s so freaking bad. :)

  2. I agree with Prestidigitator – so much anger! Remember what Yoda said… :)

    I agree, it was so far from great. So very far from what it could have been.
    Yes, the lines are cheesy. Yes, the set shots and CGI are cheesy. And everyone talked in really deep voices like someone in sound editing had too much fun with the distort button…

    But let’s face it, few words and punch-in-the-face artistic set shots are what comics are all about. I like comic book movies that feel like comic books (yes, I like Blade 2 for that reason) and I liked that about this one.

    Remember you need a healthy suspension of disbelief for comic movies. Who cares if the nuclear reactor was wrong? Or if you had no previous idea that Sabretooth was Wolverine’s brother? It’s not a documentary, people – it’s a comic book movie, for goodness sake.

    So yeah, it wasn’t great. Much unfulfilled potential. And total agreement over the girlfriend thing. But by far not worst movie of the year, I think that’s a bit unfair. (Was Bride Wars this year? Or last year??)

    Plus, Gambit was always the best X-Man ever. I won’t hear of any more Gambit-knocking, okay? :)

    • See, my problem is what you say in the second paragraph – it’s “so far from what it could have been.” That’s where my anger comes from. Because there’s so much cheese and so much bad CGI that it just piles up and makes the whole thing unbearable.

      And I’m not saying that all comic book movies need to be deeply philosphical works of art. But that doesn’t mean that they need to be completely stupid. [Although I do like all the Blade movies, which might disprove that theory.]

      My suspension of disbelief can go a long way – but only if you lead me along with some inherent logic. If I just get beamed to the place where suddenly, no logic at all exists anymore… that won’t work.

      Anyways. It’s definitely the worst movie I have seen this year so far. [Bride Wars was last year, I think.] But I’m leaving some room open. I mean, New Moon is released in autumn.

      [Oh, and I was not knocking Gambit – just how he was shown in the movie. :)]

  3. ah, i should’ve listened… oh well, as i’ve read your review before i saw the movie, my expectations were low from the start, so i actually found it reasonably entertaining (if most of the time not intentionally so). i was surprised too at how bad the cgi was in a movie like that and i have the same questions as you too! (nr. 9 – lol!).
    funny sidenote: this is one of the few examples where the translation is somewhat better than the original – in german the dialogue goes: “Weißt du, was mit Leuten passiert, die nach Blut suchen? Sie bluten.” Makes it ever so slightly less headdesk-worthy, guess the translators just couldn’t bring themselves to translate it literally. ;)
    oh, and kalafudra, we’ve always had our differences when it comes to taste in men, but this one tops everything – liev schreiber hot?!?! *rofl* the only one in this movie i would term hot is taylor kitsch. ok, your turn to laugh. ;)

    • Low expectations usually help. :)
      So, you can’t help me with my questions either? That’s too bad. I guess we’ll never know.
      The translation is actually better! WOW! Unfortunately, I’m not sure that any translation could save this movie…

      Oh come on… Liev Schreiber is hot (without the fingernails). And Hugh Jackman is also hot. But Taylor Kitsch? *lol*
      Somehow, we’ve known each other for almost 10 years and it’s still funny that we can’t seem to find one guy we both think cute. [Except Tom Welling.]

  4. I had intended to watch this movie, but reading now how horribly bad it must be, I’ll rather save the money.
    Still, “Hugh Jackman running naked through a meadow” would be some motivation to watch it… ;) But I can wait until it’s on TV.

    • Yeah, I think that’s a good idea – wait till it’s on TV. Or wait till it’s on DVD and then we watch it together and rip it apart. :)

      [The meadow scene was very nice, but much too short.]

  5. Pingback: The Wolverine (2013) | Stuff

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