No matter how it performs at the box office, X-Men Origins: Wolverine will live long in cinematic history. With the on-going Pirate Bay court case, piracy has never been more in the public eye, and a full month before the release, Wolverine became the highest profile victim to date on an online leak. Not just a scrappy handicam-recorded copy, the workprint leak is said to be of DVD quality with no timecode or watermark, only a couple of special effects shots left uncompleted. And despite Fox’s best attempts to cover up their embarrassment, claiming the leaked edit doesn’t include re-shoots from early this year, after press and preview screenings, the two copies have been confirmed at the same running time with the workprint indeed including the extra re-shot content.
As the FBI and MPAA continue to investigate who was responsible for the workprint leak, the real deal is now at last ready to officially hit the big screen. Opening with a brief scene from Logan/Wolverine’s childhood, as you might expect, X-Men Origins: Wolverine explores the early life of one of the comic book world’s most loved characters.
Set long before the events of the first film in the original X-Men trilogy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine tracks the fallout of Logan’s (Jackman) days working for Colonel Stryker in Team X. A black-ops unit formed of other mutants including half-brother Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Schreiber), Team X went behind enemy lines at the will of Stryker, to investigate and wreak havoc for his own end. As the missions start to stretch the moral boundary, Logan called time on his service but Sabretooth weren’t willing to let Logan go that easily. After ex-members of Team X fall to their death and Logan is betrayed by half-brother Sabretooth, he seeks the help of Stryker, and allows the Colonel to experiment on him, bonding his bones with indestructible metal adamantium, only when he discovers Stryker too has deceived him, seeks revenge on them both.
Reported to be the one thing missing in-part from the leaked workprint, sadly many of the special effects in X-Men Origins: Wolverine are somewhat sub-standard. A lot of the motion effects involving an attack helicopter and Logan’s motorcycle are particularly unrealistic, as well as the laser optics of Cyclops’ late appearance. Proving it was an afterthought, the film also shows itself up a little as some of the story threads don’t entirely line-up with the recent trilogy.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is though a lot of fun, and if you can get beyond the obligatory cheesy roars of anguish, there’s a lot to like about this prequel. The action is well choreographed and the script is much stronger for the late re-writes before filming began over a year ago. Hugh Jackman is still great in the role and it is difficult to think of another actor playing mutant Wolverine, especially given the excellent chemistry between himself and Liev Schreiber. Not to mention a particularly enjoyable cameo at the end too.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a solid introduction to the claw-toting mutant, and stands up to the much-celebrated recent trilogy, perhaps stepping over the intense rivalry with sibling Sabretooth at times, but overall satisfying fans’ needs for more Logan in their life.