X-Men Origins: Wolverine (12A)



Action (2009)
107mins US

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber, Dominic Monaghan, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Daniel Henney, Kevin Durand
Director: Gavin Hood
Writer(s): David Benioff
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

James Howlett and his best friend Victor Creed abandon mid 19th century Canada to take up arms in the American Civil War, fighting on behalf of the north. Both are blessed with mutant powers and the friends (aka Wolverine and Sabretooth) endure the hell of war unscathed, proving their worth against the Germans in two World Wars before supporting Uncle Sam in Vietnam. This tour of duty leads to a spell in a covert government operation alongside other gifted mutants. Compelled to leave the fold, Wolverine tries to forge a life away from the program but the men in charge refuse to let their prize asset leave without a fight, pitting the hirsute, clawed warrior against his one-time best friend.

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LondonNet Film Review
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Hugh Jackman sharpens his retractable, adamantium claws in this spin off from the X-Men films, expanding the back-story of one of the franchise's most popular characters...

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. X-Men Character Likenesses TM & Copyright 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. TM & Copyright 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Screenwriters David Benioff and Skip Woods have the unenviable task of entertaining ardent fans of the comic books whilst forging links with the three blockbuster films. In the end, they please no one entirely, punctuating a poorly paced narrative with explosive action set pieces overloaded with digital special effects. The variable quality of the computer trickery and some overly enthusiastic editing reduce the impact of these pivotal sequences. There are a few glaring continuity errors too like when Wolverine interrogates an adversary and the claws, used to keep the subject in place, vanish from certain angles. Or the underwater transformation, which begins with the lead character wearing a pair of dark shorts that somehow evaporate by the time he emerges from the pool. Cue the gratuitous shots of Jackman's pert posterior.

Mutant best friends Logan (Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) fight side by side in the American Civil War, then two World Wars and in Vietnam, until shady military man William Stryker (Danny Huston) approaches them with a tantalising offer. "I'm putting together a special team with special privileges," he confides, introducing James and Victor to Team X: a merry band of mutants including sharp-shooter David North (Daniel Henney), super-strong Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand), master swordsman Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), teleporter extraordinaire John Wraith (will.i.am) and the electrifying Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), who can make technology do his bidding. Disillusioned by the senseless killing, Logan leaves the fold to pursue a 'normal' life in Canadian Rockies with girlfriend Kayla (Lynn Collins). However, the men in charge of Team X refuse to let their prize asset walk away, pitting the clawed warrior against his one-time brothers in arms.

Emma Frost (Tahyna Tozzi) and Cyclops (Tim Pocock) In X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Photo Credit: Alan Markfield. X-Men Character Likenesses TM & Copyright 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. TM & Copyright 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a haphazard introduction to an iconic character, which doesn't tell us a great deal about a man constantly at odds with his animal instincts. Logan certainly isn't the brightest cub in the litter. It takes an inordinate amount of time for the brawler to twig that he is a pawn in a bigger game, and then more time still to punish those who betrayed him because the screenplay forces him to drag his claws through a ridiculous, cartoonish boxing match with The Blob. Jackman snarls and sheds the odd tear during the simplistic romantic subplot but genuine emotion is waylaid by the action. Schreiber and Huston are two-dimensional baddies and the other members of Team X have insufficient time to make their mark. A familiar face (digitally rejuvenated) from the series makes a surprise appearance in the closing minutes. The end credits include two forgettable scenes: an additional glimpse of Stryker and a final lingering moment with Logan, providing the clear link with the beginning of the first X-Men film.

- Sam Cannon


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