Spoilers warning, but hey, you’ve probably at least already rented the damn thing.


STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
107 minutes
- Commentary by director Gavin Hood
- Commentary by Lauren Shuler-Donner and Ralph Winter
- The Roots of WolverineL A Conversation with Stan lee & Len Wein
- Wolverine Unleashed: the Complete Origins
Deleted and alternate scenes

The Pitch


The Humans

Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.I.Am, Lynn Collins, Kevin Durand, Ryan Reynolds, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Tahyna Tozzi.

The Nutshell

Years before he became an X-Man, Wolverine (Jackman) had another life that he can’t remember, which included fighting most of the major American Wars of the last 150 years, clashing with his brother, Victor (Schreiber), and being part of another team of mutants under the command of Col. William Stryker (Huston).  When Wolverine’s girlfriend is murdered by Victor, Wolverine takes Stryker up on his offer to undergo a dangerous procedure to graft the indestructible metal, adamantium, to his skeleton in order to seek revenge.  But Wolverine is betrayed and soon must seek out his former teammates in order to stop Stryker and Victor from completing a plan to create the ultimate mutant killing machine.

Got to admit, I didn’t see that crossover with The ‘Nam coming…

The Lowdown

I missed out on seeing Wolverine (screw the X-Men Origins bullshit) in the theatres, and after reading a couple of reviews from some notable critics (here and here), among others, I was anxious at ending up with a turkey when I finally got around to seeing it.  So what are my thoughts post viewing?  Well I can say that I didn’t dislike it as much as some and certainly nowhere near as much as others.  Is it as good as I was hoping for?  No.  But is it Elektra?  Not quite.  It’s better than that, but a case of inflamed hemorrhoids is probably better than that.  Wolverine is an in-the-middle effort to me that got dragged down by some stupid shit and lapses in logic and storytelling.

“So what are we calling ourselves?”
“Christ, not this again.”
“We need a superhero team name.”
“We’re not superheroes, we’re mercenaries.”
“I prefer to think of ourselves as anti-heroes.”
“I choose to think of us as a brotherhood.  Of mutants.”
“Now that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

First of all, Jackman.  I’ve liked him in the role in all of his outings in the X-Men
films; but here, the choices he made in the character seem dubious to
me, considering that he was the portrayer and also the producer, which
meant he had final say in how Logan was depicted.  The story that I
think should have been told was Logan’s struggle with his feral nature
that’s been the backbone of his nature going back to his creation. 
That’s touched upon here, but it goes nowhere near the level that would
have given the film more emotional heft.  The Logan here, some 15-20
years before X-Men, is essentially unchanged from the X-trilogy, which means there’s little evolution to distinguish his earlier years from his later. 

“Whyyyy???!!  Why can’t I smell she’s not dead…???!!!”

would Logan be in so many wars if he had grown tired of the violence? 
Did it take 100+ years for him to come to the conclusion that maybe the
quieter life was the way to go?  You want to tell me that he lived
through the carnage of Antietam or Gettysburg, the French Lines and
Normandy and then it took one Vietnamese girl getting attacked for him
to grow a conscience?  I’d wager that Logan had done some messed up
things in his military career.  For Victor, it’s understandable that
he’d keep signing up to fight the Rebels or the Krauts or the Cong
because he got off on the violence.  But it never seemed to be what
Logan was after as he was depicted.

As for Schreiber as
Victor, I did like him here.  For one thing, he certainly had a better
mane (yes that is a pun) going than the 1989 Vince Neil do that Tyler
was rocking.  I liked his portrayal of Victor as someone who was always
seething just under the surface and who reveled in the chance to show
someone their sphincters at a moment’s notice.  He looked like he was
having fun with the role and I liked his interplay with Jackman. 

Stryker: “WTF? How did the adamantium get there…”

those two, the rest of the performances are serviceable at best.  What
I was really missing was Stryker’s diabolicalness and single-minded,
obsessional hatred for mutants that we got from Brian Cox.  Now
granted, that could have festered in the 15 years between Wolverine and X2,
but I was just missing that element coming from Huston.  Not to mention
the Southern charm.  Although I did like Kevin Durand as Fred and wish
he could have chewed almost as much scenery as he did cheeseburgers.  I’m
also a big fan of Ryan Reynolds and also wish he hadn’t been reduced to
little more than a bit player here. If Deadpool does comes together, Im interested to see what he does with it.

touch very briefly on the cartoon claws in the bathroom and the fire escape sequence, I’m right there with the rest of you on
that.  WTF indeed.  The Logan do was also a problem at times.  I also
just couldn’t get with Agent Zero, Wade’s and Gambit’s powers in the
opening mission for Team X and in the alley.  Where does it say in the
mutant handbook that just because one has a mutant power that
automatically makes them Spider-Man in terms of physical speed and
leaping ability?  The way these three leaped around, I was wondering if Toad was their long lost father. 

“Good thing I’m going to forget how bad these look…”

If, for instance, Wade was
able to slice bullets out of the air with katanas, then how was it that
he was having any trouble whatsoever with Logan in the climactic
fight?  If he’s moving in bullet time, Logan would have been
decapitated before he could get a claw out.  And there’s probably no
more valid point raised in other reviews than sending the guy who’s
good with guns without adamantium bullets is just, well, dumb.  Two or
three in the sniper rifle alone would have cut this movie time in half,
and not in a good way.  It’s just lapses in logic and laziness like
that did the movie a disservice.  And one last minor thing, how the
hell would Weapon XI bend his arms with two Japanese pig stickers
crammed up there?

Tex Avery.  Grave.  Spinning.

One last quibble is that, more than any other superhero movie I can remember, the latter half of the second act of Wolverine
came off exactly as it would be depicted in the video game.  Logan has
to go to Vegas for info.  Logan has to defeat Blob to get info.  Logan
has to go to the Big Easy for info.  Logan has to defeat Gambit for
help.  I feel like I’ve had the game played for me already.

that’s not to say that I didn’t find the movie watchable, and even fun
at times.  I did like the concept of Stryker building Weapon Xi as the
first step in his vendetta against mutants.  However, again, I don’t
see the logic in his allowing Bradley, Dukes and Wraith to leave his
employ when he planned to grab their DNA and off them all along.  And
how is it that he allowed Gambit to live after he escaped?  It
certainly wasn’t hard to find him and that’s a glaring security
threat.  That’s just another, albeit minor, issue, but there’s a lot of
them to be found in Wolverine. 

“Emma, after we’re done here, let’s go to Sierra Leone.”
“Sierra Leone? Why do you want to go there?”
“No reason…”

If you can get past these issues, among several others, then Wolverine isn’t a terrible way to kill 100 minutes or so.  Nevertheless, I keep hoping for X2: Redux
and have to realize that I’m probably never going to get it.  But I
don’t mind seeing more of Jackman in the role; but done right next time.

“Are you smiling at my ass back there, Wade?”

The Lowdown

I’m sure the packaging is the bee’s knees, but unfortunately, I got the promo disc in the plain white sleeve.  In terms of the disc itself, I found the transfer and audio just fine.  There are a couple of commentaries, one by director Gavin Hood and one by producers Lauren Shuler-Donner and Ralph Winter.  There’s also a 16-minute BS session between Wolverine co-creator Len Wein and Stan Lee that drags.  There’s also a 12-minute making-of, Wolverine Unleashed: The Complete Origins and four deleted and alternate scenes.

6.7 out of 10