The First of Logan's Run
So after 2 impressive "X-Men" movies and a third not so impressive "X-Men" movie we get the start of what will be a series of origin stories with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" the tale of how Logan became Wolverine, ended up with an adamantium skeleton and those lethal Wolverine claws. Sounds good doesn't it because out of those "X-Men" movies it was Wolverine and Hugh Jackman who pretty much got bums on seats, except I can't say that I am that enamoured by "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Understandably it's different from what we've seen already but for a movie which I hoped would answer all my questions it left far too many unanswered in a mess of over production and posturing whilst making sure there was room for a X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2.
Born in the 19th century, Logan (Hugh Jackman - The Prestige) and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber - Defiance) have built a life of aggression serving together in a series of including WWI and WWII, but whilst Logan tries to control his rage Victor takes it to a more nasty level. After causing problems when Victor kills an Officer, villainous William Stryker (Danny Huston - How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) recruits the brothers to join a special ops team full of mutants sending them on dangerous missions. Having grown tired of the violence Logan walks away from the special ops team finding a new life for himself as a lumberjack with new love Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). But the deceitful Stryker isn't finished with Logan and when it appears that Victor has started killing the old team Logan agrees to once more work with Stryker and have a painful op to give him and adamantium skeleton to become indestructible.
One of the things I wanted to know about Wolverine was how he happened to be a mutant in the first place, but "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" ignores this choosing to jump straight in with Logan as a young child and we witness for the first time the bone claws which form from his knuckles when he gets angry. And having ignored this seemingly important point we get a series of quick scenes where we meet his brother Victor and before you know it Logan is at the right age to be played by Hugh Jackman. It's effectively done because to be frank Wolverine/Logan is Hugh Jackman and having someone else play him for too long at the formative stage just wouldn't feel right.
Done with the whole introduction to Logan and his brother Victor then "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" focuses on the whole Stryker storyline and how Logan ended up becoming Wolverine, going through the painful process to get that indestructible adamantium skeleton. This may sound really daft but the whole thing feels very manufactured, as in the storyline feels overly constructed with out any believability, where as in the "X-Men" movies things may have been far fetched but in a weird way it was sort of believable, well slightly.
It also feels like having constructed this storyline as to how Logan became Wolverine the writers and directors decided that they needed to pad it out with sub stories and characters to disguise any weaknesses. It certainly doesn't complicate things with all these subplots and the issues between Logan & Victor add something quite interesting but it does make it feel all a little messy. And between feeling messy and focusing on the Stryker side of things it leaves a lot unanswered, far too much for my liking and worst of all the way they explain why Logan had no recollection of how he became Wolverine is plainly terrible.
Of course with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" coming before the "X-Men" movies and having a different director in Gavin Hood it does have a different look and feel from what we have already seen. Unfortunately Gavin Hood doesn't quite pull it off and although "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" moves along at a decent pace the almost dirty, semi gritty styling just doesn't feel right. The same can be said for the action which follows a formula of slow motion and posturing, so time and again we have Hugh Jackman in some form of mean pose before he attacks someone in painful slow motion. And to top things off, some of the CGI effects are less than spectacular especially one which features the destruction of a huge cooling chimney.
Aside from the look and heavily manufactured storyline well "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" has Hugh Jackman and a lot of other recognizable faces. Now I like both Hugh Jackman and the character of Logan/Wolverine but all Jackman really gets to do is look moody, pose and little else. He doesn't even get any good dialogue which means the actual development of the character is quite boring. As for the other recognizable faces well Liev Schreiber is reasonably menacing as Victor Creed, Danny Huston is adequate as a young William Stryker and Taylor Kitsch is quite a smooth operator as Remy LeBeau. Sadly Ryan Reynolds who adds a bit of wise cracking comedy as sword twirling Wade Wilson gets nowhere near enough screen time. In fact that's one of the things which "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is short on and that is wise cracking comedy.
What this all boils down to is that "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is entertaining with numerous action scenes embellished by CGI. But the storyline is ultimately weak failing to answer many of the questions that audiences had over the history of Logan/Wolverine. The look of it and the repetitive nature of the fights with a serious amount of posing make some of it quite laughable except it is lacking in the witty dialogue that you expect. It's by no means a bad movie, just not what I expected from a movie which is part of the "X-Men" franchise.