We’ve looked at the first X-Men trilogy, but before we get to Dark Phoenix, we’ve still got a few prequels to go, starting with Origins.
RELEASED: May 1st 2009
DIRECTED BY: Gavin Hood
WRITTEN BY: David Benioff & Skip Woods
PRODUCED BY: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, John Palermo & Hugh Jackman
MUSIC BY: Harry Gregson Williams
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool, Will.i.am, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Daniel Henney, Tim Pocock, Tahyna Tozzi & Patrick Stewart
Unfortunately for 20th Century Fox, the first time they tried to venture away from the main series of X-Men films and provide some backstory to their characters also resulted in the worst film of the lot (that includes Dark Phoenix, in case you’re wondering – I’ll do a ranking later).
Origins take things back to the 1970s, where James Howlett, after spending almost a hundred years fighting in the company of his mutant brother Sabretooth, has decided to forge his own path and live out a quiet life. However, when William Stryker, the leader of Howlett’s former hit squad Team X returns into James’ life, he is forced to face his past and become the Wolverine.
To start off, let’s talk about the timeline. With every film from here on out, the X-Men films become more and more inconsistent with their timeline and continuity. The problems start here, as by bringing back characters such as Cyclops and Sabretooth, one must wonder why, when X-Men swings around in the 2000s, Scott Summers doesn’t recognise Sabreooth, or why Sabretooth doesn’t acknowledge Wolverine as his brother.
Inconsistencies aside, Origins has a slew of other problems. For one, it continues the downward trend in writing that started in The Last Stand. The dialogue is poor – for instance the scene in which Wolverine’s alias is explained comes out of nowhere and comes across as quite dopey. Similarly, the story beats and action once again aren’t constructed to make sense, so much as they are to look ‘cool’.
The CGI in particular is also quite bad. There are several scenes where it’s obvious Wolverine’s claws aren’t real, and although everyone understands that this isn’t a documentary, making the claws convincing should be one of the most important aspects of a Wolverine movie. It’s ridiculous.
Like The Last Stand, Origins also continues the unfortunate habit of just throwing heaps of random mutants into the film, neglecting them the proper time to flesh out their characters. Deadpool, Blob, Agent Zero, Emma Frost and Bolt all could be swapped out for any other characters, and the story wouldn’t change at all. The majority of them are given generic powers of enhanced strength, agility and durability, and as a result, the fight scenes are rather boring without the variety of the first two X-Men films.
There are a couple of things I appreciate about this film though. While most would disagree, I think Will.i.am and Taylor Kitsch do adequate jobs as John Wraith and Gambit, respectively. They seem to both share an on-screen chemistry with Hugh Jackman, which is obviously important. Ryan Reynolds is also moderately amusing in the limited time he has, and while his portrayal of Deadpool is severely misjudged by those behind the camera, his fighting style is decently done.
That might actually be it. Oh well.
All-in-all, I give X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
That might be a bit too generous though. I may drop a star later.