With the x men films having rather come to a halt after last stand, and with the practicalities of reuniting a starry and increasingly expensive cast for more of them proving prohibitive, what better way to relaunch the franchise than with solo movies instead?
Naturally enough the first of them focuses on wolverine, the most popular character. Hugh Jackman reprises the role and is also involved in a producing capacity.
Rather than put him in the middle of a big adventure, as was first mooted for this project, the movie instead has to fill in his back story. A story that remained hidden in comics till a few years back, when Marvel comics realised that if they didn't tell it then Hollywood would, so they got in there first.
In 19th century canada, a night of revelations and violence leaves two young boys - one sickly and one feral - on the run. Can you guess which one will grow up to be wolverine? The two stop ageing, and spend the years fighting in conflict after conflict, shown by images from them in a well done montage during the credits.
Then we find them working in a special ops unit with other mutants. Some of them are rather more interesting than others, but the ones that are - which is down to the charisma of the actors in question - don't get as much screen time as the others.
And then more exposition follows as Wolverine searches for answers, finds love, and is forced to search for revenge.
That's the first third of the film. It has a lot of detail to fill in, and whilst it's all watchable it's at the expense of anything else interesting. Suddenly though, about a third of the way in, an action sequence does kick start the film. And we're into more ususl blockbuster action fair for the rest of it. It does a clever job of filling in the blanks for those who saw the first three films, whilst also making sure those who didn't don't get confused.
The last two thirds of the film though, despite being engrossing and entertaining enough, aren't anything desperately special. But they're perfectly watchable action movie entertainment. Come the end of it the blanks have all been filled in, and Wolverine is pretty much at the place where we first saw him in the first X men movie.
Although that doesnt mean that more can't have happened in between.
This is a perfectly decent start of a franchise movie. Now that it's gotten all the expostion out of the way, it can go on and do better things in any sequels. Which are in the works. And they do have the potential to be better.
Be sure to watch this to the very end of the credits, as there's an extra scene during them, and one right at the end.
The dvd has language tracks in english and german.
And subtitles in English, Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian and Swedish.
But despite there being two discs it's a pretty patchy effort content wise.
Disc one offers just two extras: a twelve minute long documentary on the genesis and making of the movie.
And a one minute long extra scene, that appeared after the credits of the cinema release in some countries.
There's also a bonus digital copy of the film that you can transfer to digital devices.
Disc two has just one extra - a twenty eight minute long documentary on the stunt work in the film - and a couple of web links to fox studios sites.
Both documentaries are quite watchable, although the first is a bit short. The second starts a bit slowly but is worth sticking with as it will make you admire hugh jackman's professionalism, and it also showcases some amazing stunt fight work.
So there we go. Okay movie, slightly disappointing dvd. but hopefully the start of something.
on 2 November 2009
'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' is arguably one of the most anticipated comic book movies of all - Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the eponymous hero was one of the highlights of the 'X-Men' series of films, so it was only natural he'd eventually get to take centre stage in a film of his own. As the title suggests, this film explores Logan's background, from childhood right through to his meeting with General Stryker (as seen as 'X-Men 2', here played by Danny Huston) and involvement in the sinister US Government Weapon X project. What the film does well is fleshing out Logan's backstory a little, though whether that was entirely necessary, I'm not sure - there was certainly no point where I felt I knew or understood the character any better than I would have done had the film been a straightforward solo adventure set alongside, or after, the events of earlier films. The Weapon X element of the plot felt like it had been explored sufficiently in 'X-Men 2', and as a result, those segments were among the least interesting to me, as there was the definite feeling that this was re-treading old ground. The wider plot was engaging even if it didn't feel especially original, and there were a few superficial similarities to some earlier 'X-Men' films that lent it a 'recycled' feel at times.
The film's big strength - and draw - lies in its characters, though. Hugh Jackman is everything you'd expect as Wolverine, and easily the best thing about the film. He's come to embody the character, at least on screen, in a way that relatively few actors can manage in a role of this kind. Re-cast in the form of Liev Schreiber, Sabretooth / Victor Creed is an improvement upon his portrayal in the first 'X-Men' film (which is seemingly disregarded here), though despite his connection to Wolverine, he's not a hugely memorable character, and the film could possibly have done with a more interesting central antagonist. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) could possibly have provided that, had his screen time not been restricted to the bare minimum, and his involvement in the plot been anything more than the equivalent of an end-of-level boss in a video game. The rest of the film is peppered with characters who will be familiar to 'X-Men' comic fans, though as someone who's not particularly familiar with them, one or two (especially Taylor Kitsch's Gambit) could been been explored and explained a little better - I'm still not entirely sure of the nature of Gambit's mutant powers, for instance.
Director Gavin Hood does a decent job of bringing Wolverine's origin story to the screen, and although it was generally an enjoyable effort, it's solid rather than spectacular. When the first 'X-Men' film appeared, there weren't many comic book films being released - now, it's not uncommon to find a few every year among the summer blockbuster contingent, and as a result, 'Wolverine' probably needed to raise its game to stand out from the crowd. It's unfortunate that it generally doesn't, and so whilst it makes for a diverting couple of hours, it's unlikely to stick in the memory like some other recent films from the Marvel stable.
The Blu Ray presentation is everything you'd expect from a generously-budgeted blockbuster title - picture and particularly sound quality is very good indeed, and there's a decent assortment of special features, including two commentaries and a number of featurettes. There's nothing that stands out as worthy of particular note, but all are pretty interesting, and worth taking the time to look through. This pack also comes bundled with a DVD copy of the film, plus a digital copy which can be loaded onto a portable media player such as an iPod or iPhone. Opinion seems to be divided as to the merit of these alternative options, but as it doesn't seem to have affected the price point for the release, it's a welcome bonus that might prove useful for some. Ultimately, whilst the film itself was a slight disappointment to me, the overall presentation of this release is very good, and on the strength of that, HD enthusiasts with an interest in this film shouldn't hesitate to add this one to their collection.
on 7 January 2010
This X-Men film is set before the first three X-Men films and tells us the story of Wolverine and his twisted brother Sabretooth. The action comes thick and fast with a clever plot for a comic based movie. Deadpool makes a great villian and his final battle with Wolverine is super cool. One of my favourite X-Men heroes Gambit is introduced to us at long last, it only took four films but better late then never. I enjoyed this film just as much as the other three X-Men films and Hugh Jackman is on top form as Wolverine. The blu-ray transfar is razor sharp just like Wolverines claws!
The film starts in 1845 and by the time the credits is over, it is up to date. Wolverine and his brother are recruited to fight in a special mutant force. The mutants are never introduced. There is an assumption you know these characters from previous movies or comics. I would not recommend this film as an introduction to X-Men.
The special forces are more brutal than what Wolverine wants to be. "This isn't what we signed up for, " he says as he walks out. He becomes a Canadian and lives quietly like as a lumber jack. His brother is on a rampage...and Wolverine's life becomes disrupted. He must once again fight, only this time he is stronger and is more of a killer.
The movie ties in nicely with the other 4 X-Men movies, which should be viewed to get an overall picture, which is difficult to obtain in this film alone. The acting was sufficient. Good CG, super action and fighting. It has plot twists, so pay attention. The movie sprinkles in the right amount of humor, drama, and truisms into the dialouge to make it a fun watch.
on 31 May 2014
After the success of the X-MEN TRILOGY, it was inevitable that the film franchise would continue and Wolverine features in the first of the X-MEN ORIGINS series.
The story begins in 1845 with Logan as a young, sickly child who discovers he is a mutant when he kills a man with long bone claws which protrude from his hands. Logan learns this man is actually his father and that he is the half-brother of his friend Victor Creed. Both boys run and become fugitives.
Over the opening credits we see Logan (HUGH JACKMAN) and Victor (LIVE SCHREIBER) fighting together in the American Civil War, throughout both World Wars and, ultimately, in Vietnam. It is here that Victor goes too far and, displaying increasing anger and hostility, attacks his fellow soldiers. This incident earns both Victor and Logan a date with the firing squad, which as mutants they manage to survive, and while locked in a cell they are visited by Major William Stryker (DANNY HUSTON) who offers them redemption if they join his new special outfit.
Both agree and take part in a military operation in Nigeria which sees them fighting alongside other mutants including Fred Dukes - The Blob (KEVIN DURAND), Agent Zero (DANNY HENNEY), Wade Wilson - Dead pool (RYAN ROBERTS) and John Wraith (WILL I AM). After attacking the heavily defended headquarters of a diamond smuggler, Logan learns that Stryker is not interested in the jewels but another item the Nigerian kingpin has - a lump of adamantium.
Disillusioned with the way the team operates, Logan leaves, returns to Canada and settles down with schoolteacher Kayla Silver fox (LYNN COLLINS). Six years pass before the past comes back to haunt him with the arrival of Stryker, who says somebody is hunting down and killing members of the old outfit.
Events transpire to persuade Logan to join Stryker. He undergoes the risky and painful operation of having his body reinforced with adamantium to make it virtually indestructible and ready for the coming confrontation. He even renames himself Wolverine.
Yet all is not as it seems. Stryker has his own hidden agenda which will have far reaching effects on the mutant population - and to Logan in particular!
In X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE we meet some of the most popular characters from the X-MEN graphic novels, several in cameos - including surprises at the end of the film and in one of the cut sequences - which should please fans no end!
The film answers some of the questions about Logans past - including how he loses his memory - and there are plenty of action scenes throughout. One highlight is a chase sequence when Logan is relentlessly pursued by armoured vehicles and a helicopter. All the actors seem to be having fun, especially SCHREIBER, who relishes his role as Creed (also known as Sabretooth) although he looks less animal-like than he did in the original X-MEN film.
At 102 minutes the film is just the right length and there are two further brief sequences during the end credits, as well.
There is a wealth of superb Extra Features on the disc, too. These include several cut scenes (9 minutes), footage from the Fox World Premiere (6 minutes) and audio commentaries by Director GAVIN HOOD and Producers, LAUREN SHULER DONNER and RALPH WINTER. Further features are The Roots Of Wolverine (a 16 minute interview with LEN WEIN and the legendary STAN LEE) and The Thrill Of The Chase at 6 minutes in length. However, best of the lot is Weapon X Mutant Files, a great 54 minute documentary about the mutants of the film featuring all the actors involved.
X-MEN ORIGINALS WOLVERINE works well as both a stand alone thriller and the prequel to the original Trilogy of films.
on 18 May 2014
Wolverine. Amazing Character, and an Origins movie seemed like an interesting concept, however so many plot holes were in the story, it was disappointing.
Firstly, there were the characters. As much as I liked Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, they completely destroyed his character with what Deadpool eventually looked like. Similarly with Gambit, I liked the cameo, but it felt pointless. Not only that, but the characters were poorly written, and Emma Frost appears younger ten years after First Class, which is pretty confusing. Wolverine himself was written pretty poorly as well, making him even more soft than in Last Stand. In fact, the only consistently good character for me was Victor (portrayed by Liev Schreiber) as Mr. Schreiber managed to truly bring out the role to the best of his ablilty, making Sabretooth even more bestial than I could have imagined.
Secondly, the plot was predictable and poor. As I've mentioned with the whole Emma Frost thing, there were more inconsistencies that failed to take other films into account, such as Professor X being able to stand, despite him being completely wheelchair bound in the past three films.
Also there was an incredibly dumb reason for him choosing Wolverine, that being an incredibly silly moon story, and none of the villains seemed to have brains in this. The story was pretty godawful
Finally, there was the "special mutant team", Will.i.am and Ryan Reynolds did very well in their roles but Reynolds was cut horribly short and ruined, turning Deadpool into a Wolverine/Cyclops/Wraith rip-off. Dominic Monaghan's role was cut too short for him to be good. Zero was a good villain, but I'd have preferred to see more of him, and the blob...well let's just say it was really dumb.
However there is a good reason I gave it two stars, that is the acting. Obviously I've mentioned Liev Schreiber, but Jackman still managed to pull off the role as Wolverine, despite character flaws. Some of the supporting characters did well for actors, ones that shone for me were Will.i.am, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch and whoever played Zero (forgotten his name).
All-in-all, mediocre at best, but it won't waste your time completely.
on 5 December 2012
This fourth film in the X-Men franchise fills out the origin story that X-Men 2 [Blu-ray] told about the formidable Wolverine. Fans of the source comic books will be glad to know that among the mutants newly starring alongside the adamantine-clawed amnesiac are Sabretooth, Zero and Gambit.
The copious extras on this Blu-ray include an interview with Hugh Jackman in which he explains that he wanted his latest performance of his character to be even scarier than ever before. He succeeded. This film is probably the darkest in the entire X-Men Quadrilogy - X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Blu-ray][Region Free]. It contains an all but overwhelming amount of bashing, crashing, smashing and slashing, with some astonishingly spectacular stuntwork set pieces.
This isn't to say that the film is merely one long CGI-enhanced slugfest (though at times it can feel like one). It shows us some magnificent New Zealand landscapes standing in for the Canadian Rockies; there are passages of mercy, romance, tenderness and kindness; and courtesy of Will.i.am and Ryan Reynolds, there are even some moments of comedy. But, for good or ill, the film really is essentially as macho as this disc's ominous sleeve art suggests.
Fox have done their film proud with a superbly executed transfer to Blu-ray. If you enjoyed X-Men Trilogy [Blu-ray], have a high threshold of tolerance for fantasy violence and can bear an X-Men offering without Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin or Ian McKellen, then this disc is well worth a place on your shelves beside its indispensable predecessors.
Released in 2009 as a spin-off to the successful X-Men films, Origins: Wolverine is a good title focusing on the birth of Wolverine and his complex relationship with Sabretooth. Set across 200 years with the mutant pair that never age, they fight through war after war before being snatched up by William Stryker. Stryker recruits these mutants for commando missions before Wolverine quits and falls in love with a young woman. After she is brutally murdered by Sabretooth, Wolverine goes on a revenge mission after undergoing the Weapon X program, turning him into Wolverine.
The story is good overall and the opening credits that show Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting through the American Wars is a neat touch and very well done. The way Sabretooth's character changes through these scenes helps to quickly establish the twisted nature of his personality without bogging the story down with too much background info.
This story is drenched in action and big set-pieces emanating from the opening scenes all the way through to the end. Although many might think an hour and 45 minutes is long enough, some scenes do seem a bit rushed and the film could have benefited from being pushed up to the 2 hour mark to space some of the scenes out. The action on the whole is fantastic and the fight with weapon XI is brilliantly done. In-fact, the action is so good it easily outshines X-Men: The Last Stand and in particular the fight in X-Men 2 with Deathstrike that this fight is clearly based on.
The whole film is better than the sequels to X-Men and is the type of film the two sequels should have been. The action is quick and fast-paced but not too overpowering with enough dialogue throughout to spice up the pacing. The romance isn't overpowering either but the theme of loss and revenge ripples throughout the story and the shocking conclusion to the tale doesn't have enough power to it and kind of fizzles out, which is a shame.
The other annoying thing are the minor mutants. The major players throughout are good and deliver their lines well but Gambit feels like he was thrown in for a wildcard rather than a story enhancer and the rest of the mutants including Cyclops do nothing for the story except act as bonus eye candy. The main thing the minor mutants will do is annoy the hardcore fans of the comics with the inaccurate backgrounds of some of the characters and the film could have benefited without any of them to be honest.
The special effects deserve a mention here as the subtlety that the effects are placed is first class especially with weapon XI and wolverine's claws which are so realistic its scary. The rest of the effects including the different mutant powers are also very well done and not too overpowering on the eye. The music is also good and suitably atmospheric but there's nothing that really stands out over everything else.
Overall, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fantastic blockbuster for the casual viewer and the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth is fascinating to watch. The action definitely has the 'wow' factor and the special effects are top notch throughout. The film won't be for everyone and the inclusion of random mutants for eye candy will annoy some fans and the lack of a really explosive conclusion is also a real shame. However, this 2009 blockbuster is well worth a watch.
on 24 June 2010
Like many X-men fans, I was excited when I heard that they were making a Wolverine spin off, although it wasn't unexpected! Wolverine lends himself brilliantly to a prequel, not only because his backstory is well known and easily dramatised, but because the character himself does not age (or ages very slowly), so there is no issue of using the same actor and struggling to make him look younger.
Now to the film itself, the first thing that is very noticeable about the film is the liberties that were taken with X-men canon. The obvious one being that Sabretooth was never Wolverine's brother, Deadpool was not a creation of Stryker but a mutant in his own right, Blob was never friends with Wolverine, etc etc. Most of these things wouldn't be noticed anyway other than by long time X-men fans and these aren't really problems for me as poetic license can enhance the film but the only gripe about these inconsistencies is the effect it has on later films i.e. when Wolverine fights Sabretooth in X-men 1, why is there no mention of them being brothers? Yes, Wolverine had his memory erased but Sabretooth didn't! Also, Cyclops was kidnapped by Sabretooth in Origins, why did he not have more to say when he met him in X-men 1? Again, little gripes that can easily be overlooked so it doesn't really detract from the film.
Overall, the film is very enjoyable, full of satisfying action, good effects and the acting is pretty good on the whole. There is also a healthy dose of humour, supplied mainly by Wade (who turns into Deadpool). I would recommend this film to anyone who either likes Wolverine, the X-men or the other X-men films. Incidentally, the game based on this film for the PS3 is pretty good too!
A prequel is a good way of using nostalgia to breathe life into a franchise which has perhaps turned a bit stale, I wasn't expecting much from 'origins' after watching X-Men - The Last Stand a while back, but it surprised me - it's pretty good!
Instead of relying on action or violence, Origins spends time building a history and developing a character with depth - the result is a character you don't just enjoy watching fight, but one you empathise with and understand.
A montage of past wars shows us the events witnessed by Logan and his brother Victor as they fight together, horrors which would affect any man and both men are affected differently. One is slowly turned into a sociopath, while the other is disgusted by what he is becoming and attempts to escape the grizzly world of killing his fellow man. This is an effective way of bringing to the screen two men who have polar ethical beliefs and such opposite personal philosophies. To simply have two brothers, one being a 'goodie' and one a 'baddie' would have stunted the film. It would have felt like contrived and ultimately unfulfilling eye-candy if such a short cut had been taken. But taking us on a scenic route depicting the experiences which helped forge the mindset of the brothers creates a pretty believable pair of siblings.
Hero films such as this are never going to be plausible, part of the fun is suspending your disbelief and just enjoying what's on scene. This can lead the producers of such films to take the lazy option and just give mindless action scenes which use excessive CGI and ignore the development of the characters who are performing such physics defying choreography. It was a brave option to not do that in `origins' and I applaud the film for it.
Hugh Jackman has become the archetypal Wolverine - he *is* Wolverine now and he does the role justice in this film. It's obviously a character he loves playing and he understands the expectations of the die-hard X-Men fans out there. He always injects emotion and instead of looking like a polished pretty-boy he has the gritty appearance of someone who has seen things in life which would play on the mind of any man.
Liev Schreiber is also a 'proper actor' with a background of solid performances in lower budget, more serious film. His role is dwarfed by that of Jackman's but he is convincing and even manages to look like his on-screen brother through the use of facial hair even Noddy Holder would be proud of.
In a nutshell: The film isn't without it's weaknesses; there's a tough foe at one point who seems to be defeated with convenient ease, and the plot becomes more wild throughout the film, but it is always grounded by the dark and realistic beginning. It's not easy to produce a superhero film which looks like a serious piece of cinema, but it is achieved here.
X-Men origins: Wolverine is not an action flick, it's a personal journey.