Let me start by saying I wanted to love this. My expectation may have been a bit high here. I know that’s not a great start to any review, but know that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is NOT a bad movie. It’s not GREAT, but it definitely isn’t bad. It has a lot going for it and is only brought down by a handful of problems, but a couple of those problems are friggin’ DOOOOOZIES. But first, the positives.
Most of the character stuff in here is golden and there really isn’t a bad performance in the whole damn movie. Gambit loses his Cajun accent after his first scene, and that’s pretty annoying, but other than that, it’s all solid. Jackman and Schreiber are great as Wolverine and Sabretooth and the movies opening sequence following the brothers throughout every major American war is pretty amazing. And yes, I said “brothers.” Building on the story in Marvel’s Origin miniseries, the filmmakers decided that yes, Dog IS Sabretooth, something I wish they would just address in the comics once and for all. I’ve always liked the Dog as Sabretooth angle. It works here. The effects are mostly great and even the Sabretooth running on all fours thing isn’t nearly as bad as it looks in the trailer. It’s actually kind of cool a couple of times, but by and large it does look a little goofy, just not terrible. The action is great, too. Every fight is well choreographed. It really looks great.
By now you know the story for the most part, so I won’t bother regurgitating it here. The main flaw in the movie IS the story, sadly, but not the whole thing. It works overall, but my only gripes with this movie (Except for the TERRIBLE effects shot of Wolverine’s claws in the Hudson’s bathroom. Seriously, why not use the practical claws for those shots? Honestly?) are some of the plot holes here as they relate to the other X-Film’s. I’m not going to bitch about Emma and Gambit here or even about the much maligned Deadpool fiasco. For the record, Deadpool doesn’t bother me here. It’s not the traditional Deadpool for sure, but it works within the confines of the movie, so whatever. I can’t bitch. What I CAN bitch about is the lack of in-movie continuity. For starters, Wolverine doesn’t lose his memory in the adamantium bonding process. We’re told explicitly in the first X-Men movie that he doesn’t remember anything after the bonding process and that Stryker wiped his memory then and there… So… What gives here?
Clearly they wanted Wolverine to have his adamantium for the latter half of the movie, logic be damned. And that sucks. THAT’S what takes me out of the movie. Not Deadpool or Blob. That violates the laws already established in the earlier films and is therefore bogus. Worry not, dear reader, for Wolverine does indeed lose his memory, but it’s via a couple adamantium bullets to the brain some time later. To quote Stryker, “His brain may heal, but his memories won’t.” Wow. Really? That is sauce of the weakest variety. I felt the same way when Xavier showed up at the end. In X-Men, he makes mention of having heard rumors of experimentation on mutants. Rumors? He friggin’ met Cyclops at this mutant house of horrors Stryker was running. Cyclops, who doesn’t remember Wolverine. Granted, he never actually saw him, but you’d imagine at least ONE of the survivors would have mentioned the scary guy with the claws that busted them all out and he’d have put two and two together down the line. Whatever. There a few things like that in here that don’t 100% add up.
My last MAJOR gripe here is with the timeline. This is a prequel (duh), but I don’t buy the timeline. Using 3 mile island as the backdrop for the grand finale was a nice marker, but it doesn’t ring true. HISTORY TIME! The 3 Mile Island meltdown went down in 1979. The problem is that NOTHING in this movie looks like it’s from 1979. They went to some lengths to make sure they used old cars, but the dress of the characters and the technology in this movie in NO way says “1979.” So that, to me, is a bit sloppy.
Bottom line, were this the first X-Men movie, it’d be great. The main problem I had with it is that it contradicted the other films in the series, and that’s a big deal to me. Where a lot of other folks are bitching about Deadpool and how some of this flick doesn’t match the comics, I’m much more concerned about the other movies. It doesn’t HAVE to match the comics. This is a different creature. But it DAMN sure has to match what we’ve already seen in this universe. And it quite frankly doesn’t. Taken by itself, though, it’s really fun. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun. I’m definitely going to get the Blu-Ray when it comes out and who knows? Maybe it’ll be a little less shocking on a second viewing.
At the end of the day, I give it a 3.75 out of 5 adamantium meteorites.