The StoryAs is spelled out in the title, this is the story of how Wolverine became Wolverine. Not where he got his mutant powers to begin with, but how the man Logan became a mutant who uses his extra special abilities - and steely claws - to fight the good fight. Wolverine's all about doing what's right despite his upbringing and early association with a brother who doesn't follow the same moral code.
We first meet Logan and Victor as kids in the 1800s then quickly follow them as they fight alongside fellow patriots (of the non-mutant variety) in a succession of wars (WWI, WWII, the Civil War, Vietnam...) until finally after surviving a hail of bullets from a firing squad, they're locked away. Even the least observant person on the planet would know there's something wrong with anyone who miraculously heals after being shot dozens of times at close range.
Years later (sometime in the '70s) Logan's quiet life in Canada is interrupted by the appearance of Victor who's sole goal is to kill his brother. Logan's been living a quiet life with his schoolteacher girlfriend Kayla Silverfox, but when the love of his life is taken away from him by his brother, the claws - literally - come out. Revenge is the only thing on his mind and if that means he has to work with Stryker, then that's what Logan does. But Stryker's a lying, conniving, snake in the grass - something Logan learns way too late.
Liev Schreiber isn't known for action films but he's terrific and terrifying as the vicious Sabretooth. Danny Huston is convincingly menacing as Stryker. Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson (the wise-cracking expert swordsman who enjoys his job as a mercenary), Taylor Kitsch as Gambit (a card playing mutant from New Orleans who can explode items), Kevin Durand as The Blob (a disgustingly obese indestructible mutant), Lynn Collins as Kayla (Wolverine's seemingly sweet and innocent love interest), and will.i.am as John Wraith (a mutant with the ability to teleport) all put in appearances - some far too briefly - and add a little flair to the film with their performances.
The Bottom Line
My initial reaction to Wolverine is that it was okay - just okay - and that's stuck with me in the days since the screening. The action scenes were pretty spectacular, in particular one involving a helicopter, some Humvees and Wolverine on a motorcycle. I actually felt a little winded after it was over, that's how well it drew me in. And there's absolutely nothing bad to say about any of the performances. But, overall, X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn't do much for me one way or the other.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a forgettable summer popcorn flick with a few good one-liners, Jackman looking incredibly studly with his layers of rippling muscles, and a couple of really interesting new characters who we didn't get to see enough of at all. Gambit, John Wraith, The Blob, and Wade Wilson are in and out way, way too quickly which is a shame because Wolverine was a lot of fun - albeit bloody and violent fun - and more interesting when Wade Wilson and the crew were wreaking havoc on the screen.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.