He Said: Wolverine
By D. James Ruccio III
May 4, 2009
I'll admit it...I was in my early 20s, listening to grunge (I had a great soul-patch!) and reading comic books. I was, like most of my geeky brethren, reading each and every X-Book that came out (I stopped collecting one evening when I caused a very public scene at a national chain comic book store. I lost my ever loving mind because they ran out of a particular issue of a very critical book...who could blame me?). I was there most opening nights a few years later when they made the familiar X-Men characters into a trilogy of movies. So when the announcement was made that they were going to create a movie for arguably the most popular X-Men character, Wolverine, I was inexcusably excited.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the story of James Howlett (Logan) a young sickly boy born in the Northwest Territory of Canada in 1845. He witnesses the murder of the man he believes to be his father, John Howlett, at the hands of Thomas Logan. The murder is also witnessed by the murderer's own son, Victor Creed. In a fit of rage, James attacks his father's killer, bone claws extruding from his fists and kills the man. As Logan dies, he confesses to being James' true father. The boy then flees the family estate with the help of his "new" brother Victor.
The two brothers are then seen fighting in various wars from the Civil War to the Vietnam War in one of the film's more interesting and creative moments. During an attack on a village, Victor kills one of his own officers when he attempts to prevent him from raping a Vietnamese girl. Given the death penalty, the two men are put in front of a firing squad. After surviving due to their accelerated healing ability, they are enlisted into a covert military team of mutants under the guidance of Colonel William Stryker (Danny Huston). During one mission the team is tasked with obtaining a meteorite fragment from a Nigerian Warlord. As the team continues to track down additional fragments, the atrocities of the Team, most notably those committed by Victor/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), force Logan to leave. He seeks solace in a simpler life with girlfriend Kyla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). But someone begins killing members of the covert team. Stryker finds Logan and asks him to assist him in tracking down the killer, but Logan refuses. It's only after Silverfox is brutally murdered that Logan seeks out Stryker again and agrees to undergo a secret medical procedure, whereby the ultra-indestructible material adamantium is bonded to his skeleton, as part of the Weapon X program.
At that this point, X-Men Origins: Wolverine becomes a standard chase and comic book film. This is the major flaw of this film - it's unremarkable. It's neither awful nor one of the better comic book adaptations. It simply moves through the story hanging convenient plot points (adamantium bullets...Really?) along the framework of the movie, providing decent performances and generally presenting the standard themes we've come to expect from the X-Men movies in a standard way. But it never really does any of these things particularly well.