In 2003 X2 arrived and marked one of the strongest Marvel sequels ever made and inevitably in 2006 X3-The Last Stand arrived and boy did it suck. A change of director caused a change of setting, style, tone, character development and to be frank skill. The man who brought the world Chris Tucker almost single-handedly killed of a franchise so here we are three years later in 2009 with the X-Men Team dropped and replaced by the first of a new Origins series and of course we start with Wolverine, the show hog of the first three movies.
The opening sequence follows Wolverines back-story from a brief childhood scene to his many cameos at each major war America has been involved in - so there are quite a lot. James (young Wolverine) and Victor (Young Sabertooth) travel the world together and in true montage form Victor strays further towards the dark-side whereas James becomes more moralistic with each war. At the end of the opening credits montage we are introduced to William Stryker. James and Victor are recruited into his mercenary programme, which include mutants as Agent Zero, Beak (rather pointless) John Wraith (token black character), Fred Dukes, who literally grows into Blob and Wade Wilson played by the scene stealing Ryan Reynolds.
The hype surrounding the Wade Wilson cameo was huge and it would be interesting to see just how large that role was intended to be. Ryan Reynolds had about ten lines in total but completely stole the show as anyone who fights with swords in an automatic machine gun era generally would. This didn't surprise me and I was ready for all the Deadpool Origins rumours that would no doubt start but the fate his character met has made be doubt that would ever happen which is the most depressing part of the whole movie.
Obviously the most important aspect of any Wolverine story is adamantium and we were treated to a strong solid explanation as to how he came to be equipped with his adamantium skeleton and claws and it was done in such a way that justified Wolverines need for vengeance against Stryker and Sabertooth and he enlists the help of Remy le Beau, Gambit, an escapee from The Island (stupid name), a facility Stryker had set up to experiment on mutants to create a super mutant.
Fans of Wolverine, X-Men and Marvel either love Gambit or hate him. There are those who think it is sacrilege that the only mention of Gambit in the X-Men movies is his name flashing up on a computer and there are those who think that he would add nothing to proceedings. I am a 90's kid, I watched the X-Men cartoon so I am the former. I was eagerly awaiting Gambits first appearance on the big screen and I wasn't disappointed. The accent wasn't quite what I was expecting but was anyone ever honestly expecting a good Cajun accent? If anything it is most likely a Gambit Origins movie we will get when you see how his character was left hanging in the end -Wolverine ditched him and he never caught up with Scott Summers and Emma Frost so never got to join the X-Men…..nice cameo at the end by the way!
Liev Schrieber was very good as Sabertooth - as good as Jackman is Wolverine. They played off each other well but they were both out performed in the fight stakes by Weapon 11 in the final battle but if ever there is a call to have Sabertooth in a movie I hope they have Schriebers number on speed dial.
I was looking forward to Wolverine but I was nervous too. If this movie bombed it would probably mark the end of the X series and poor cold water on any future attempts at a spin off but luckily it was a good movie. It was quite slow to start with but once injected with adamantium the movie picked up pace and we were off. As with most action movies the love interest scenes are the weakest but that is just part and parcel of any movie.
I would give it 7/10. It loses a point for the lack of Deadpool, Gambit, the pointless lumberjack scenes (just get on with it) and a point for throwing in a full naked Jackman waterfall scene without prior warning as I nearly choked on my Smarties trying to get my neck craned at the appropriate angle at such rapid speed. Other than that it was all good.