X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie posterSynopsis
Logan (Hugh Jackman) was born a mutant with bone claws, enhanced senses, and an incredible healing factor. When the love of his life is taken from him, he sets out on a quest for revenge.

After the X-Men trilogy concluded, there was no doubt that Hugh Jackman’s was the fan favorite character. With X-Men: The Last Stand providing a definitive end to the team’s story, the next place to go is in the past. Throughout the X-Men trilogy, we’ve seen who Wolverine is under his adamantium skeleton, and even glimpsed into his past (particularly in X2: X-Men United) but it is finally time to see how he came to be the character we were introduced to in X-Men.

As I’ve said in just about every review of previous X-Men movies, Jackman absolutely nails the character of Wolverine. He has come to embody the character perfectly. At this point, it is difficult to see anyone besides Jackman as the titular mutant. In the fourth time in the role, he has the character completely figured out. Jackman’s Wolverine is caring, ferocious, and everywhere in between. But you know all that already; I’m just repeating myself at this point.

Sabretooth gets his second chance on screen, this time portrayed by Liev Shreiber. In the comics, Sabretooth is one of Wolverine’s most consistent foes, so it felt natural that he would be prominent in a film like this. However, his origins and connection to Wolverine was altered in a way that made their relationship more interesting than simple adversaries, which would be more akin to their comic book relationship. Schreiber was more than up to the task of matching Jackman’s presence. Every time they were on screen together, there was a weight to their conversations and actions that not many actors besides Schreiber would have been able to pull off opposite of Jackman.

Another perfectly cast part is Ryan Reynolds as Wad Wilson. Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is known as the “Merc with a mouth” in the comics and Reynolds captures that aspect of the character precisely. The only downside is this greatness is very brief. X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s treatment of Deadpool is one of the most shameful things about this film. His depiction in last act of the film is a disgrace against the character. It’s utterly terrible and deserves all the ridicule is has received.

A few casting choices is about all the good I have to say about this movie. I think what disappoints me most about this film is that despite all the action throughout and chemistry between Jackman and Schreiber, it’s not that exciting. There were cool moments for sure but outside of a handful, nothing really sticks out, even after having seen this movie several times by this point. Wolverine can be hyperaggressive and violent when on solo adventures and the same can be said for the characters who are involved in the Weapon Plus program. These characters are a black-ops hit squad and I feel the PG-13 rating wasn’t able to accurately bring this facet of the characters to the screen. A movie about mercenaries shouldn’t be timid to show violence.

I thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was OK 😐 Despite exceptional performances from Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and Ryan Reynolds, the script really held this movie back from reaching its full potential. It was lackluster, uninteresting, and didn’t truly let Wolverine do what he does best.


Cast & Crew
Gavin Hood – Director
David Benioff – Screenplay
Skip Woods – Screenplay
Harry Gregson-Williams – Composer

Hugh Jackman – Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber – Victor Creed
Danny Huston – Stryker
Will.i.am – John Wraith
Kevin Durand – Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan – Chris Bradley
Daniel Henney – Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds – Wade Wilson
Lynn Collins – Kayla Silverfox
Taylor Kitsch – Remy LeBeau
Tim Pocock – Scott Summers

Salt Review

Salt movie posterSynopsis
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a top CIA agent who is forced to go on the run when a Russian defector (Daniel Olbrychski) accuses her of being a Russian sleeper agent. Salt must use her years of field experience to evade fellow CIA agent Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) and counterintelligence officer Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who are on her trail.

Salt is one of my favorite “is she, isn’t she?” movies I have seen. One moment you’re like “She can’t be working for the Russians.” Then her actions make you think “well maybe she is.” Then the cycle repeats itself throughout the entire movie. It makes for an exhilarating experience that keeps you engaged in the story.

Because there are several twists, you never know quite what to expect. The final twist was unexpected and well done. I did not see it coming, but it wasn’t entirely out of left field, either. A lot of movies try to throw in a plot twist for the shock value but it doesn’t fit into the movie’s context. Not here. In Salt, it actually makes sense. I probably would have given this film a lower rating if the twist didn’t work so well. I’m a sucker for a unexpected (but well done) plot twist.

The ending was left open for a sequel, if they wanted to make one. However, the plot had closure, so there really wouldn’t be any reason to unless it was a good story. Still, it’s cool to know the possibility is there.

Jolie once again proves why she is one of the best female action stars in Hollywood right now. She doesn’t completely dominate in fights, but rather uses her environment to her advantage, such as jumping off a wall to add power to a punch. Some action movies make their heroines thoroughly thrash her opponents, and that’s not always believable. But in Salt, Jolie fights in a manner that fits her stature and you can believe in her strength level.

Throughout the film, Jolie’s hair cleverly portrays her character’s state of mind. In the first act, it is blonde, a simile to her innocent and laid back outlook. Then it is dyed black in the second act, showing she has taken a dark turn and will do anything to find her husband. The last act has her hair cut short, symbolizing her severing ties to her past and doing what it takes to finish the job. Maybe I’m looking into it too much, but it is still interesting to think about.

Here’s some movie trivia: The character of Evelyn Salt was originally written as Edwin A. Salt and was offered to Tom Cruise. However, Jolie took the role when Cruise turned it down because he felt it was too similar of a character to Mission Impossible‘s Ethan Hunt.

If you like movies with a good twist, Salt is the movie for you. Great action and shifting character motives that keep you on your toes keep this seemingly generic movie from going dull.