Did you ever wonder how comic book heroes get their start? Gavin Hood (Rendition) directs X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which tells the story of one of the most popular comic book characters ever created. Now, comic book purist may be disturbed to see that writer David Benioff (Troy) only keeps a few elements of Wolverine’s background from the comic books and adds a lot of his own material. However, comic book traditionalist may have their minds eased some when they learn that Len Wein, the co-creator of the Wolverine comic book character, is also part of the writing team. Also, Hugh Jackman is back to play the snarling-fierce Wolverine for the fourth enjoyable time.
Wolverine, whose real name is James, discovers his mutant powers as a child when after a family tragedy occurs his bone claws appear for the first time. James runs away from his home in Canada with another boy named Victor Creed, who also has mutant powers and later becomes known as Sabertooth. As adults, James and Victor (Liev Schreiber, Defiance) fight in many of histories most important wars: Civil, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. It is during the Vietnam War that James and Victor are asked to join a special military unit made up of other mutants lead by William Stryker (Danny Houston, The Kingdom). After a disastrous mission in Africa, James now known as Logan leaves the unit and Victor behind to return to Canada to become a lumberjack.
Six years pass until Stryker shows up in Logan’s life again to ask for his help. Victor has supposedly gone mad and is killing off all the former members of their unit. Logan refuses to help Stryker until Victor shows up and kills Logan’s girlfriend (Lynn Collins, The Number 23). With revenge on his mind against Victor, Logan is helped by Stryker. He is injected with adamantium, the strongest substance known to man, which fuses to his bones to make him indestructible. After a twist in events occurs, Logan finds out that Stryker is kidnapping young mutants and conducting experiments on them in hopes of creating one super mutant solider with all of their powers and none of their weaknesses. Along the way, Logan meets up with another popular X-Men comic character Gambit, played by Taylor Kitsch from TV’s Friday Night Lights. Gambit helps Logan find Stryker’s hidden base and put an end to Stryker’s plans.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine does not disappoint in terms of action or special effects. There are plenty of shootouts, mutant vs. mutant battles and explosions to satisfy any action film fan. The special effects enhance the movie, but do not over-stage the production. The fight atop a nuclear reactor was thrilling. Hugh Jackman excels in his portrayal of Wolverine. Whether he is expressing rage or sorrow, Jackman is always believable. Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston have no trouble putting the “s” in sinister. Their performances make us look forward to the possibility of them feeling the wrath of Wolverine’s claws. The pace of the movie is kept fast-moving and precise, without a lot of needless details added in to slow things down.
The Deadpool and Gambit characters, however, are a disappointment. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds, Van Wilder) was only in two scenes. It would have been nice to see more development of his character. What little there was of Deadpool was poorly played by Ryan Reynolds, who acted more like Van Wilder than a deadly assassin which is what Deadpool is in the comic books. It also would have been great to see more of Gambit as well, but not Taylor Kiysch. His performance was flat and lifeless. It takes more than a Cajun accent to be an effective Gambit. The addition of Deadpool and Gambit generates a lot of anticipation, but the result is a letdown.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine gets the summer movie blockbuster schedule off to a great start. Make sure you stay until the ending credits are finished to see one more scene involving Wolverine.