anticipated spin-off and origin story of X-Men's most famous
member is brought to the big screen by the award winning director of
The film starts like any origin story should, years away from the time
we recognise the character to come from. Whilst, X-Men took place
in the present day in a parallel universe where mutants inhabit the
earth; hiding from the prejudices that may become apparent from humans
meaning X-Men are a scared minority to the masses they are far more
Origins begins in 1845 as Jimmy Logan accidentally kills his
father and 'biological' father - you can see how he has father issues
and problems with authority - and so he goes on the run with his
brother Victor, and they keep running in a pre-credit sequence that
encapsulates the major wars with America's involvement with the two
boys now grown into Hugh Jackman (Logan) and Liev Schrieber (Victor) as
they fight the South, the Germans (twice) and the Vietcong. They do not
age and soon enough Victor's lust for killing gets them into trouble.
This leads to the introduction of Gen. William Stryker (Danny Huston,
taking over from the much stockier Brian Cox) who enlists their help
for a special ops force for other men with 'special privileges'. This
includes Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Wraith (Will.i.am) in the group who are
taken to Nigeria, for a job that ultimately leads to Logan leaving the
group throwing away his dog-tags as if to emphasise the point and throw
away his responsibility.
Go six years forward to the Canadaian Rockies, where he now
lives with a hot schoolteacher and Stryker reappears warning him that
someone is killing the old gang and they might be coming this way. This
man is Victor, played with all teeth a glistening and genuine menace by
Schreiber in a surprising turn, and he certainly gets Logan's attention.
Then follows the origin story and how Logan gained his adamantium
bodysuit and distinctive claws and henceforth became known as Wolverine.
The action set pieces are professionally handled by Hood, who after
Tsotsi and 'Rendition', is certainly a talent to keep track of - but
sometimes the CGI gets a little out of hand, in spite of the impressive
sight of Wolverine taking out a helicopter by himself.
But it is the script where the film comes short; removing the wit that
Wolverine possessed in the initial X-men trilogy with a quip for every
new death, here he is definitely the wronged man, and isolated in
coming to terms with his new powers; more hardened than light
hearted. With some awful lines saved for Victor ('Look what the
cat dragged in'.) and some plot points coated over, such as Stryker
shrinking 6 inches so Brian Cox can play him some 25 years later, and
the lack of us knowing that the action is actually taking place in the
1970s until we realise the location of the film's climax.
Also thrown in for good measure is when Wolverine helps a
young Scott Summers/Cyclops escape the prison Stryker has placed him
in; and Scott must lead the rag tag group of mutants to safety. As I
watched this, I said to myself all we need here is a bald man to walk
round the corner with a school bus ready to take them to safety.
It was not a bus but a helicopter ties up loose ends nicely.
A shame that such a lightweight script should be reserved for a
heavyweight comic book character. The work Brian Singer did in
the first two films of the trilogy will not be forgotten nor tainted by
this work. But the origin film will certainly taint Wolverine's legacy.