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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Hugh Jackman
Kodi Smit-McPhee
Ryan Reynolds
Taylor Kitsch
Liev Schreiber
Lynn Collins
Danny Huston
Dominic Monaghan
Kevin Durand.
Directors
Screenwriters
Running Time
107 minutes

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Every journey has its first snikt…


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Plot
Beastly badass Wolverine (Jackman) is a member of elite military squadron Team X. But when he tries to leave violence behind to become a family man, he finds his past catching up with him in brutal fashion — not least his carnage-loving half-brother Sabretooth (Schreiber).


Review
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
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Poor Hugh Jackman. For his second movie as both star and producer (after flaccid erotic thriller Deception), he had to rise each day at 4am, presumably swearing, stumbling about and tripping over cats in the process, to drink a protein shake. After a long gym session, he’d head to a set plagued by whispers of studio interference and directorial incompetence. And then, when it was all over and he’d finally managed to have a lie-in, an unfinished print of the film leaked onto the internet, getting downloaded 75,000 times within a single day.

He must have winced as news of the leak broke; after all, he has a lot at stake. Not since 2004’s Van Helsing has the weight of a blockbuster rested squarely on his burly shoulders, and even then he had Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman to help draw in the punters. But through it all, the nicest man in Hollywood remained upbeat — launching his most iconic character as a standalone hero is, it seems, a labour of love. So were the results worth the pain? Sadly, the answer is no, not really.

Wolverine is not as hateful as X-Men: The Last Stand, but it’s still a big old mess. Even a brief prologue in 1840s Canada, showing Wolvie and his half-brother Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth) as kids, raises questions that are never answered. Like, why does he stop ageing when he becomes Hugh Jackman? Or, who the Weapon X is his father and why do we care?

The plot is riddled with more holes than a holiday resort for moles. A key scene – which has been teased in flashback stabs throughout the X-Men series – sees James Logan become Wolverine via extraordinarily painful surgery that coats his skeleton and bone-claws with indestructible metal adamantium, overseen by evil army czar Stryker. But it’s hard to take a villain seriously when he’s dumb enough to wait until after an invincibility operation to attempt to erase the hero’s memory. Later, realising there’s not much in the way of tension when nothing can harm the protagonist, the writers introduce something that can: a gun with adamantium bullets. But later still, Stryker changes his mind and declares that an adamantium bullet would only make Wolverine forget things. How would he know?!

Such questions would be less pressing were there more of a sense of fun. But Fox, no doubt casting a jealous eye on Warner Bros’ rebooting of Batman, have opted to make this ’70s-set prequel a fairly glum tale of revenge and betrayal. So it’s Mutton-Chops Begins, with the gruffly tortured, sarky character we love from the X-Men movies modified into an angsty, generic Hero Who Just Wants A Quiet Life But Is Forced Back Into Action. It’s like trading in Han Solo for Luke Skywalker. Or, considering the mountain-top log cabin and at-one-ness with nature, Steven Seagal from On Deadly Ground.

It doesn’t help that Ryan Reynolds, who turns up near the start of the film as sword-spinning mutant Wade Wilson, oozes charisma and the kind of deadpan, one-liner-dispensing attitude the neutered Jackman used to possess. His screentime is annoyingly brief, as is that of Dominic Monaghan, whose ill-fated Bolt has an appealing sadness. Much more time is dedicated to rubbish mutants Wraith (rapper Will.i.am) and The Blob (Lost’s Kevin Durand), who belong in another film or Sky1’s Gladiators. Gambit’s a let-down too.

It’s not all bad — Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth is satisfyingly feral, though confusingly motivated; there’s an ace opening credits sequence with the siblings in various US combat flash-points; and linking the end battle to the Three Mile Island meltdown is smart — but the effects are often shonky and the big twist is a rip-off of Heroes. Wolverine’s catchphrase is, “I’m the best at what I do.” Judging from this evidence, what he does is star in deeply average actioners.


Verdict
Can everyone stop making moody origin stories now, please? While not a disaster, this isn’t the claws-out, rampaging adventure we hoped for. No-one cares where Wolverine found his jacket — a spin-off with him kicking ass in Japan would have been way more fun.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Empire Star Rating

RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

L: MonsterCat The idea of giving Wolvie his own flick was a good one, but going back to his origins always seemed a bit redundant to me. It's also a shoddy and ugly looking thing with some sloppily handled action scenes. he shoot sounded like a nightmare from some accounts. It is telling that neither Fox, nor Jackman, want to connect this any closer with the rest of the series. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 22:55, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

The idea of giving Wolvie his own flick was a good one, but going back to his origins always seemed a bit redundant to me. It's also a shoddy and ugly looking thing with some sloppily handled action scenes. ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 22:49, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

L: The Hooded Man X2 was a much better explanation of Wolverine's origins and that was as part of a wider tapestry of the X-Men universe. his is how I felt - we didn't learn anything new in this film, and going forward nothing which happens in the film outside of the experiment, has an impact on the character. It isn't like he mentions a lost love for example. It renders any emotional impact moot. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 22:45, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

X2 was a much better explanation of Wolverine's origins and that was as part of a wider tapestry of the X-Men universe. ... More

Posted by The Hooded Man at 10:38, 03 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

I have this film on my shelf as part of the X-Men Quadrilogy Blu Ray set* and I'm too scared to watch it again, knowing that I'll never get that time back. Plus I fear that it may take my soul. I ended up watching it twice in the cinema (once with the missus, once with a mate, the second time partly to see if it was as bad as I first thought) and a bit of it since at home through the job I had at the time of the DVD release. It is a truly terrible film - so bad that it gets worse with each... More

Posted by FoximusPrime at 10:20, 03 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

The coin entering Kevin Bacon's head and Eric ripping out the man's fillings in First Class, were far more grizzly than the Adamantium process in Wolverine. Instant fail on Wolverine's part. ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 23:06, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

It was, and remains to be, absolute shite ... More

Posted by rich at 22:34, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Can I just say that "tween friendly" is not a viable criticism of a film. Oh, and Wolverine is a terrible film. ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 22:19, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Keeping an accent =/= maturity of a movie in a franchise. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 22:00, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

L: Deviation L: Cool Breeze By the way, i think its better than the tween friendly First Class. ween-friendly First Class as a criticism, BUT YET YOU LIKE WOLVERINE. I sense a paradox. ell aussie Hugh Jackman manages to keep his accent consistent for a start ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 21:59, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

It is true. I for one think Wolverine wearing boxing gloves against the Blob in the ring was the height of maturity for the franchise. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:59, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

L: Cool Breeze By the way, i think its better than the tween friendly First Class. ween-friendly First Class as a criticism, BUT YET YOU LIKE WOLVERINE. I sense a paradox. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 21:56, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Of course you do Cool. I would expect nothing less. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:53, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Well im pretty sure a lot of people like it.If you dont thats ok. By the way, i think its better than the tween friendly First Class. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 21:50, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Given as we spent several pages discussing why people hate it, I doubt any further discussion will help you along. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:48, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

I enjoyed it.Despite a few dodgy cgi shots its a thoroughly entertaining comic book action movie.Really dont get the hate. Loved the final fight between Logan,Victor,and Deadpool.Looking forward to the sequel. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 21:47, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Grrrrrrr...... ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 12:58, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

I thought by leaving this film - like a fine wine - for a couple of years I may go back and watch it again and enjoy it a little more. I watched it again the other day and needless to say I didn't. Its like buying a bottle of Lambrini and leaving that for a couple of years. It truly is fucking awful. Nuff' said. ... More

Posted by waltham1979 at 12:36, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Poor form all over to be honest. Which is a shame due to the fact I think Hugh Jackman has alot of respect for this ruthless,bloodied character but it just wont work if the producers,directors and distributers try to compact the character into a family orientated film. Though I thought the cast names were chosen well the script didnt offer much leeway for the story to have much depth.The story lacked 'flow' and a smoother continuation between scenes. A film that merely concentrated on the... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 00:44, 10 February 2012 | Report This Post


X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

Though Hugh Jackman gives his all, he can't help X-Men Origins: Wolverine overcome a cliche-ridden script and familiar narrative. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 16:16, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


Souless and Lazy Prequel

A shame that the Wolverine origins turned out to be such a mess, Jackman really does try. However, It aims for the big emotion and epic feel with rediculously OTT action sequences, a lame and clunky script and a story riddled and messed with plot holes. It doesnt feel like a prequel but a strange alternative version of the events mentioned in X2 that you seriously must ignore. It feels as though the writers try for the obvious and the lack of creative ambition really does show. Lets be fair ther... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 20:45, 09 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wolverine

Fucking awful.  ... More

Posted by gunstar at 00:04, 26 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wolverine

m I supposed to not like this film? ... More

Posted by Tech_Noir at 20:32, 25 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wolverine

L: Rgirvan44 You too Tech? So disappointed in you. You don't get to make fun of any other film ever again. Ever. ttp://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_leut3zxRZZ1qf8yek.gif ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Timon at 16:46, 25 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Wolverine

You too Tech?   So disappointed in you. You don't get to make fun of any other film ever again.   Ever. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 16:01, 25 March 2011 | Report This Post


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