Wolverine is the first character specific spin-off from the popular X-Men film series. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the claw-bearing Logan/Wolverine and is joined by Liev Schreiber as his mutant sibling Victor Creed – later known as Sabretooth in the first X-Men film. The film introduces us to these two characters as they fight through each of the main wars in history, inevitably ending up as part of a mutant taskforce headed by William Stryker, played by Danny Huston. Logan walks off on the taskforce after disagreeing with the team’s code of behaviour and finds a peaceful life in the Canadian Rockies with love interest Kayla, played by Lynn Collins. Once Logan’s secluded existence is disrupted by a visit from Victor, he enlists in the Weapon X program, setting off the vendetta between the two mutants over the course of the film.
Jackman is again superb in his role as the animalistic protagonist Logan/Wolverine and is highly complemented by the work of Schreiber as the psychotic Victor, whose non-remorseful tendencies make the character of Wolverine appear like a saint. Huston is excellent as the malevolent William Stryker and Collins produces just a satisfactory effort in the role of Wolverine’s lover Kayla (though the script can partly be blamed for this). Ryan Reynolds, Will I Am, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan and Taylor Kitsch (Wade Wilson/Deadpool, John Wraith, The Blob, Bolt and Gambit respectively) all play their new mutant counterparts well and there is a lot of character potential there that we do not get to see as they all share only minimal screen time. This is one of the film’s biggest flaws. We are introduced to a lot of new characters that could have easily been left out of the film and more attention could have been paid to the development of the main characters. The film moves at a quick pace, not really giving us a chance to feel any empathy for the characters as they come and go, even the chemistry between Logan and Kayla seems incredibly weak in this film compared to that of the Logan/Jean Grey romance element in the other X-Men films.
Despite some of the film’s flaws in character and story, it serves as a fantastic action film, containing some outstanding action set pieces. We especially get to see Logan’s and Victor’s mutant capabilities come out in this film and there are enough action scenes to keep the viewer entertained throughout the film. Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition) has managed to produce a film with exceptional entertainment value that should please action film and X-Men fans alike. Overall, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a worthy addition to the X-Men film franchise that will surely dominate at the box office and see at least one spin-off come out from this film.
Hugh Jackman recommended his Kate & Leopold (2001) co-star Liev Schreiber for the role of Sabretooth, describing him as having the necessary competitive streak to portray Sabretooth. During filming, they dared each other to perform more and more of their own stunts.