Wednesday, March 1, 2017


X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the first spin-off film set in the Fox X-Men Universe that focuses on the signature Wolverine character. Hugh Jackman returns for the titular role in this film that goes back in time to tell the origin story for the Wolverine we all know and love. The film was directed by Gavin Hood and stars Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, and Ryan Reynolds alongside Jackman.

Put quite simply, this movie isn’t good. In fact, it’s very bad. I’ll start out briefly with what I thought was good about the film. It is conceptually effective and a good idea for a story. Jackman does the most with the weak dialogue and story he is thrust into in the film. Ryan Reynolds is interesting as Deadpool for just a moment (sufficient for him to get another crack at it several years down the road). Finally, Taylor Kitsch was fairly engaging as Gambit, all things considered. I am already reaching somewhat and would be going much too far were I to dig in further and make up more positives in this film than those already addressed.

The worst thing about this film is how much wasted potential there was. It had a stellar cast, an interesting area to discuss, and even some things in the film that would have been cool if properly executed. Though Gambit was mostly well done, Deadpool was entirely botched, Sabretooth was underwhelming (and a blatantly inconsistent with the original X-Men films), and the new William Stryker totally paled in comparison to the brilliant performance we got from Brian Cox in X2: X-Men United.

On top of those comparative issues, this film is incredibly poorly written and made. Written by Skip Woods and David Benioff (the latter of which has greatly redeemed himself through his award winning work on Game of Thrones), this film has awful dialogue and is just very poorly stitched together internally and into the X-verse as a whole. Basically nothing worked and I frequently found myself looking quizzically at the screen asking “how did they think this was a good idea?”

Story problems aside, as mentioned I think this film is poorly made as well. Hood clearly didn’t know what he was going for or did not have adequate creative control to do something interesting with this movie because it is the most stylistically drab and unsuccessful X-Men film ever made. Additionally, none of these incredibly talented actors really give a whole lot to it (outside of Jackman, Reynolds, and Kitsch in their own ways). Further, the visual effects looked terrible and the film went way over the top with them. After making three X-Men films prior and having this simple and interesting concept to go for in this film it is baffling how much they dropped the ball in this film. They went way overboard with the effects and some (like Wolverine’s claws) looked worse than they did when the first X-Men film came out 9 years earlier.

Finally, I think the most tragic thing about this film is the gross misunderstanding it had of the characters. It seemed like at every turn it took well known X-Men characters that fans know and love and tragically failed to bring them to screen. Whether it was the egregious changes with Deadpool or any number of other side characters in the film I left it back in the day and on this most recent re-watch feeling immensely disappointed that this film exists.

Overall, this is a pretty terrible film. It fails on so many levels and is only quasi-redeemable because of a couple individual performance efforts and an interesting base concept. This is a film that really ought to be forgotten and the X-Men timeline has seemingly tried to do that at every possible turn. I can’t blame them for that choice honestly.

Ryan’s Score: 2/10

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  1. In this movie, Deadpool was actually played by two different actors. Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson and Scott Adkins as Weapon XI which is also Deadpool.

    1. I saw that looking up the cast list for the film! I was surprised but also happy in a way that I have mostly liked every Deadpool moment Ryan Reynolds has had. I do feel bad for Adkins though for having such a bad sequence because he is talented in his own right.