X-Men Origins: Wolverine Or Logan’s Run

Ash Isaac

Snikt! Snikt! No, not the sound of Wolverine popping his adamantium laced claws, but the X-Men Origins franchise being unceremoniously gutted after the unholy mess of the first offering in what was intended to be a bright new constellation within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Origins gives us the Cliff notes on everyone’s favourite troubled mutant antihero, from his traumatic childhood to his traumatic adolescence and carrying on still further to his traumatic adulthood stopping just short of delving into his traumatic old age.

In the opening scene we witness the first manifestation of Wolverine’s mutant powers. First, his father his shot by a mystery assailant who is then run through by the young Logan’s claws. It then turns out this interloper is actually Logan’s real father. Whoops. We are then shown a montage of the intervening years during which Logan, (Hugh Jackman) and his half brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) take part in pretty much every major American conflict to take place in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Never has so much been owed by so many Americans to a couple of Canadians.

Their luck finally runs out in the unpopular war, (Vietnam), where they are sentenced to summary execution for murdering their commanding officer. Of course, their shared healing factor saves both Logan and Victor from the firing squad and they are soon recruited by shadowy military operative, William Stryker, (Danny Huston), who sees some potential in these potentially indestructible soldiers. Quicker than you can say ‘black ops’ they’re on a plane with a host of similarly gifted individuals being shipped off to yet another clandestine mission.

Their prize is a lump of unidentified metal that has seemingly fallen from the sky. In their quest to ascertain the provenance of the unknown element Stryker threatens to slaughter a group of villagers which is when Logan after his decades of wholesale slaughter finally decides to draw a bloody line. Exiled from the group including his brother, Logan retreats to the Canadian Rockies where he finds the perfect job for a hundred year old drifter with no formal qualifications: lumberjack. He shacks up with the local schoolteacher, Kayla, (Lyn Collins), and is soon living an idyllic existence for once in his life.

This is, of course, the most appropriate moment for everything to start Going To Hell. First, Stryker shows up to warn Logan that all the members of his old crew are being systematically killed off. Then Victor also makes a brief appearance, stopping only to murder Kayla and engage in fisticuffs with Logan in what must surely be the most tempestuous fraternal relationship since Abel met Cain. Logan then undergoes the famous bonding process that attaches the indestructible metal adamantium to his skeleton.

Cue inevitable buyer’s remorse when Logan finds out that everything has been staged as an elaborate ploy to steal his DNA and implant his powers into a new generation of supersoldiers. The final third of the film follows his vendetta march as he tries to stick a sharp one into everyone and everything who ever looked so much as cock-eyed at him before finally succumbing to an adamantium bullet that doesn’t kill, but wipes all his memories, including all the Kodak moments such as…er…the killing of his own father and all the wars he fought in. Yikes.

Origins is not a bad film, in fact, it’s diverting enough and shows the odd flash of inspiration. However it relies far too much on the bouffant-haired, hard-bodied appeal of Jackman and neglects the lupine charms of Schreiber. It also features a criminally underused Ryan Reynolds although Will.I.Am proves as good an actor as he is a talent show judge and it’s a small mercy when he is disembowelled by Victor. There are also cameo appearances by Cyclops, Professor X and Emma Frost in what seems to be a concerted effort to get as much mutant for your buck as possible. Like Ang Lee’s Hulk, this is definitely a comic book translation that demands a Hollywood ‘do-over’ which conveniently ties in with the forthcoming ‘The Wolverine’. Can Wolverine get his groove back? As every comic book fan knows, there is only one thing that an accelerated healing factor cannot regenerate: your mojo.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.