How Terrible IS X-Men Origins: Wolverine? The Critics’ Bad Reviews Pour In

The latest installment in the X-Men movie franchise cashed in on name recognition this weekend, raking in over $87 million ($160 million worldwide) from Friday through Sunday. But, most critics and fans have been disappointed with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Insert clever “Origins” pun – Snorigins, Borigins, Poorigins, Al Gorigins, Pauley Shorigins, Ignorigins, What Did They Even Bother Making This Forigins, No Morigins, Suckiness Galorigins…) and they are using the movie as a Solo-Flex for their snark muscles as the scathing reviews flood the internet. Here are just a few snapshots of the Logan Scissorhands carnage:

(WARNING: The following may not be suitable for all audiences. In addition to brutally violent sarcasm, there are also a few spoilers)

Nothing here about human nature. No personalities beyond those hauled in via typecasting. No lessons to learn. No joy to be experienced. Just mayhem, noise and pretty pictures. I have been powerfully impressed by film versions of Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Iron Man and the Iron Giant. I wouldn’t even walk across the street to meet Wolverine.
Roger Ebert – Chicago Sun-Times

The Harsh Ness Monster How Bad Is Wolverine

A crude blunderbuss of a superhero movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine proves that the greatest supervillains confronting Marvel Comics’ shape-shifters, lycanthropes and mind-readers are clumsy directors and sloppy screenwriters.
Colin Covert – Minneapolis Star Tribune

There’s an implicit threat in the title X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s the suggestion that there are lots of X-Men, and each one has an origin, and that this is just the first of a potentially endless series of X-Men movies – each one doing what this one does: boring audiences with go-nowhere action sequences, while dazzling the mind with zingy repartee, such as, “Well, well, well! Look what the cat dragged in!”
Mick LaSalle – San Francisco Chronicle

What a shocker: mediocre indie film-maker turned mediocre studio director-for-hire delivers mediocre comic-book movie. … Not since George Lucas spent more than six hours detailing in excruciating and inconsequential detail how Darth Vader came into existence has a popular character’s story arc seemed so irrelevant.
Alistair Harkness – The Scotsman

Watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine is like listening to an album by Mick Jagger without the Stones. It’s a not-too-bad, ho-hum affair, with the odd moment of fun, but nothing special. … If only Jackman had spent as much time on his character as he has obviously spent in the gym, this would have been a better film.
Cosmo Landesman – TimesOnline

Wolverine is shorter and less pretentious than Watchmen, but almost programmatically unmemorable, a hodge-podge of loose ends, wild inconsistencies and stale genre conventions.
A. O. Scott – The New York Times

The Harsh Ness Monster on how much X-Men Origins Wolverine sucks

It’s dull, bone-crushing, special-effects stuff, of interest only to hardcore fans who’ve probably read it all in Marvel comics.
Phillip French – The Guardian/Observer

Nothing wrong with the eye candy on display. But a superhero movie should give us something more to talk about than its lead star scurrying about au natural in fields or leaping into a waterfall sans his underpants. … Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) relies heavily on Jackman’s bum to bail him out of a bum script.
Randy Myers – Bay Area News Group

Wolverine is about Logan getting that new animal moniker, about the Weapon X program and the beginning of the military program to hunt and capture mutants. Mainly, however, it’s about how cool Jackman looks with his new metal claws and how buff he looks when he’s nude or nearly nude.
Roger Moore – Orlando Sentinel

Serviceable but inescapably redundant, this Wolverine movie does just enough to keep the X-Men franchise on life support, but the filmmakers will have to come up with some evolutionary changes soon if it’s going to escape X-tinction.
Tom Charity – CNN

Summer movies whimper to a start with the wheezing Wolverine, a transparent attempt to squeeze a faltering franchise for its last drop of box-office juice.
Peter Travers – Rolling Stone

The Harsh Ness Monster on how much XMen Origins Wolverine sucks

…the plotting is ludicrous, contradictory and at times resorts to the worst comic book cliches (yes, a character does come back from the dead). Worst of all, it’s a film that tries to angle for emotional weight but the net keeps coming up empty. … And the whole thing is so seriously blokey. Guys with superpowers spend the movie threatening to kill other guys with superpowers, unless they’re polishing their big swords or showing off their big guns. Really, what could they possibly be compensating for? … (Compared to Crank 2) X-Men Origins: Wolverine is just as stupid, but it seems to be under the impression that it’s smart. The truth is it’s too dumb to realise it’s not dumb enough.
Teddy Jamieson – Scotland’s Sunday Herald

Unfortunately, most of that which intrigues one intellectually and moves one emotionally is missing in the fourth entry in the franchise, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
William Bradley – The Huffington Post

A mash-up of meaningless combat sequences (meaningless because Logan/Wolverine is just about unstoppable), sub-par visual effects, template backstory, and some goofy Liev Schreiber-as-a-villain thespianizing, Wolverine falls into the origin-story trap that only Iron Man, of recent superhero screen projects, deftly maneuvered around. That is, how the hero acquired his special powers turns out to be a whole lot less interesting than what he does with them, and how he (or she) copes with being a freak.
Steven Rea – Philadelphia Inquirer

You know all those movies where people get sent to an island somewhere, and then discover that everybody is a clone, or a nuclear reactor is melting down, or crazed killers are on the loose? Well, imagine all of that happening at once, only everybody is indestructible because they all have to make more movies, and you have X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Bob Mondello – NPR

The Harsh Ness Monster on how bad X-Men Origins Wolverine is

At no time do you believe anyone in this movie is feeling anything. At all times you suspect concerns about roles in future sequels are lurking in the back of their mutant minds. …The X-Men concept works because at heart the super-freaks involved are indeed men. They laugh, they feel, they have developed personalities. The characters in X-Men Origins: Wolverine are freaky plastic soldiers being sent off to do battle at the box office.
Tom Long – The Detroit News

The problem with Wolverine isn’t that the mythology is detailed and potentially confusing … The bigger issue is that Wolverine is so uninvolving that you might not care whether you remember what happened 10 minutes ago.
Stephanie Zacharek –

Schreiber and Jackman maul each other, but, since no one will die, there’s not much suspense about the outcome of any given battle. As we now know, the point of these unresolved struggles is to prepare the way not just for the next fight but, inevitably and a little cynically, for the next movie.
David Denby – The New Yorker

The obnoxious sentimentalizing and clichéd execution (characters stare up to the sky and cry out in grief-stricken anger more than once!) were also evident in Gavin Hood’s inexplicably overrated Oscar winner Tsotsi. Also, screenwriter Skip Woods wrote the videogame-based bomb Hitman. What did you expect from these two? … The cast gives it their all, but they’re wasted in what is essentially an infomercial for potential future spinoffs. And the special effects don’t even look finished—are we sure it wasn’t the leaked workprint that was screened for press?
Luke Y. Thompson – E! Online

The Harsh Ness Monster on how much X-Men Origins Wolverine sucks

But the direction, by Gavin Hood (he did Tsotsi and Rendition) from a script by David Benioff and Skip Woods, is a case study in mismanagement: of anger, rage, demonic howls that grow into howlers, Olympian camera angles and, above all else, the mismanagement of an unusually personable star. … Still, how much can anyone care about two stupendously testy siblings slicing and dicing each other in repetitive battles with no decisive outcome? Wolverine may have been made for teenage boys, but they get bored too, don’t they? Or don’t they?
Joe Morgenstern – The Wall Street Journal

Wolverine is full of angst, and yet it has virtually all the humanity wrung out of it in an effort to create a live-action cartoon. Cartoons, however, are rarely so unwieldy or force a director (in this case, Gavin Hood) to juggle so much impossible plotline.
John Anderson – The Washington Post

It’s been awhile since such a major tent pole picture that felt so lifeless and ordinary. The plot and story are Mad Libs by the book. The writing is shockingly lazy with even the simplest details (certain supporting characters are rarely if ever referred to by their names, leaving the audience wondering who they are), and the action scenes vary between dreadfully dull, completely pointless, and utterly ridiculous. This film is the kind of bland and boring assembly line product that makes me appreciate the ambitious comic book films that I didn’t care for (Spider-Man 3, Superman Returns, The Spirit, etc) and it makes me a little less hostile toward the lousy comic book adventures that at least had a junky spark (think Ghost Rider or Judge Dredd). Tragically for all involved, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the worst major comic book adaptation since Catwoman.
Scott Mendelson – The Huffington Post

Subscribe to Starcasm by Email

  • Yeah, it was pretty bad.

    But Hugh Jackman is STILL gorgeous.

  • Starcasm

    TheMother – I read A LOT of reviews and no one said Hugh didn’t look mighty fine! Actually, not many criticized his acting abilities, merely the fact that they weren’t enough to overcome the insurmountably bad writing, plot and special effects. (I have to say that I’m glad there wasn’t a musical number)

  • Okay, you can hit me. Maybe I am in the minority, but I enjoyed Wolverine. Academy Award Winning? Nope. But it was fun. Isn’t that what going to the movies on a Saturday night about? I have to admit that I never read even one X-Men comic, so have no expectations about “changing the story.” Or do you think I am in the demographic of y’all thinking I will watch anything Hugh Jackman dishes out? Except Australia. I steered away from that one for the time being.

    Starcasm, maybe there should have been a musical number since Jackman won accolades for his star turn on Broadway and London’s West End? But then that would have been a different sort of movie…

  • Brian Ranson

    TheSnackHound- I have to say i have read a fair amount of comics….not enough to not have a social life…..but enough. Without considering the mass change of story and even characters like deadpool, the film was in a way shocking.

    i saw the trailers and got giddy inside, expecting mass cgi and epic story. there was mass cgi but it was sooooo pooor. for the budget that they had they could have spent an extra year on it and made it epic!

    From the comic book side, i was dissapointed so much that so much effort has been put into the xmen graphic novels with drawing and narrative so why couldnt they do this on the big screen WHY!!!

  • i almost laughed out loud when the helicopter blew up, then blew up again, then one more time…

  • Melody

    Jackman might be the only good thing about this movie. I thought the nude canter through the field was entertaining but it took away from the intenseness of the previous scene.

    Even one of my favourite characters, Gambit, was reduced to Wolverine’s sidekick, even if he wasn’t a part of Wolverine’s past in the comic books… that really bothered me. And since when was Sabretooth Wolverine’s brother? Because of that not many people know that Victor is actually Sabretooth in this movie.

    The scene where Logan was walking away from the exploding helicopter was so cheesy that I started laughing (but stopped quickly because no one else seemed to find it funny.)

    I left the theater with mixed feelings, having liked the story and the gratuitous amounts of eye-candy provided but really feeling irritated about how butchered the script and in turn how hackneyed and bland the movie turned out to be.

  • Kimberly Moore

    Marvel seriously needs to buy back the rights for any and all of their characters from Fox. When Fox makes terrible comic book films, it makes everyone involved look like talentless hacks. When your film is compared to Catwoman, its time to think about taking your properties elsewhere or handle them yourself. Wolverine should have been just as good as Dark Knight, Ironman, Spiderman, the original Superman…the list goes on. It is possible to make a good film if you remain true to the subject material and have people involved that truely care about what they are doing.

    • Starcasm Staff

      Kimberly – I completely agree! I’m hoping Marvel can maintain the bar they set for themselves as a movie production company with their first release Iron Man. I think Wolverine was one of those instances where they took a chance on a director and it just wasn’t a good match. The comic book world is a weird reality that is being replicated in film. Comic book titles change artists and writers all the time – with some emerging as fan favorites and others not so much. When I think about a comic book writer getting a call one Wednesday afternoon asking if he’d like to write the next 12 issues of Spider-Man, I liken it to Mark Twain getting a call asking if he’d like to write the next couple Sherlock Holmes novels. But that’s the reality of comic books and comic book movies. A character like the Incredible Hulk can be completely different from one movie to the next – which can be a bad thing but can also be a good thing. The X-Men franchise will rebound I’m sure (there’s too much money behind it) it’s just a shame they dropped the ball on the Wolverine origin story.

  • DarkPlague

    This movie had about the worst script I had ever encountered. It followed nothing but names from the comic books. Jackman is a really good actor but could never turn a movie this bad into a masterpiece. Gambit should’ve never been introduced like this and Deadpool isn’t a villian! Sabretooth is not Wolverine’s brother! They actually have the erve to try and make a part 2 to this movie and make a spin-off for Deadpool…so very stupid.

  • Charles Miller

    Actually, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is no more blokey or pretentious or inconsistent or stupid than any of the X-Men films. It’s the exact same preposterous premise — that “mutants” of every stripe are flitting about the planet, and that they are the new repressed people the 21st Century. Which is an abysmal premise, admittedly, but that’s the X-Men universe. Seriously, X-Men is NOT Shakespeare, okay? It’s ridiculous to huff and pontificate upon the “deeper meaning” of a comic book universe, and even more ridiculous to criticize one bit of overblown buffoonery over another. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is what it is… Just one more installment of a mindlessly violent and not terribly intellectual franchise.