With the X-Men saga seeingly wrapped up (sort of) after the events of underwhelming The Last Stand, 20th Century Fox were free to use mutant poster boy and general all round moody dick, Wolverine, as their way to keep churning out their X-product. And so here we are with what was the first of many proposed “origin” movies that would fill in the X-Men gaps with a series of prequels. Before we were blessed with an X-Men Origins: Toad movie however, the idea was scuppered by leaked, unfinished versions of the movie and scathing reviews that even Logan himself would have trouble healing from. But was all the vitriol totally warranted or is X-MO:W actually a misunderstood classic in desperate need of reappraisal?
Well… no. It’s pretty fucking dire, to be brutally honest, but it’s fairly interesting watching the whole thing spiral into messy, convoluted lump after what is a pretty good first half hour.
After an absolutely fantastic opening credits sequence which follows Logan and his half-brother and fellow feral-mutant-bastard Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth) maiming the shit out of various wars through history, we find the two arrested during Vietnam for attacking their own troops. After surviving a firing squad (selfish sods) they are hired by the Weapon X program run by X-Men 2 villain William Stryker (formerly Brian Cox, now Danny Huston, presumably armed with the mutant power of being recast) and we flash forward to a mission which causes the team of super powered mercenaries to disband (not entirely surprising considering Will.i.am is one of their number). It’s at this point things start to slowly come apart. The whole Weapon X thing may be a little stale but the whole operation where everyone suspiciously has a power for every occasion is still fun and cool, especially Ryan Reynolds as chatty merch Wade Wilson. Reynolds, an MVP of many awful comic book adaptations, is on fire here, swinging barbs as quick as his bullet proof katanas and almost livening things up single handedly (it notoriously doesn’t last).
Our story progresses with Logan, now a simple lumberjack finding his lady love dead at the claws of a vengeful Creed, so he goes on a vengeful road trip which leads to pain, death and a butt-load of indestructible metal bonded to his skeleton which proves to be handy in a fight but not exactly great at sustaining tension as now you’ve rendered your main character utterly indestructible.
So the minutes continue to tick by and the movie gets ever sloppier, it starts to suspiciously feel like the writers are making shit up as they go. The effects of an adimantium bullet on Wolverine’s skull are mentioned more than once with conflicted answers despite the fact no one could possibly know the answer. More mutants are flung into the story to placate fans but only serve to make muddy the waters even further, sure it’s cool to see Gambit do his thing (even if he is played by franchise killer Tyler Kitch) but it doesn’t add a single thing to the film except a clumsy alley fight. It all ends with a fight on three mile island with a horribly bastardized version of Deadpool that confuses things even further. Hugh Jackman still gives good Logan (when doesn’t he?) but is ironically overshadowed by his own supporting cast much like he overshadowed everyone else in the X-Men movies, making him bland and colourless. By comparison Liv Shrieber’s prototype Sabretooth is far more fun to be with, as is Renolds until the script fucks up his character beyond repair – he’s called the Merc With A Mouth for God’s sake, why stitch his lips together?
The films ends with an impressively unsubtle segway into the original X-Men trilogy leaves Logan confused and suffering memory loss.
You’ll envy him.