It would be very easy, almost cruel, to pen a review kicking the proverbial out of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But honestly, what would any of us have to gain from that? There’s nothing negative to say about the movie that hasn’t already been said ad nauseam. The CGI. The Blob. Will.i.am. We get it, it’s not great.
Neither do I see the point in writing a review hailing its status as a fun and underrated diamond in the rough. This site was founded on the definitive version of that particular hot take courtesy of Matthew Meylikhov, and my argument would inevitably be weaker on the grounds that I don’t genuinely believe that to be the case.
So, where does that leave us? I propose that we should judge this movie not on its subjective flaws and merits, but instead on its longer term cultural impact. Had X-Men Origins: Wolverine not disappointed most fans so bitterly, underperforming at the box office at least partly as a result, the landscape of mutant cinema would look very different today.
The film’s underwhelming worldwide gross stopped the Origins spin-off series dead in its tracks, where the next film was planned to be centered around Magneto. That proposed follow-up was reworked into First Class, a movie that paved the way for the stunning Days of Future Past which remains the best X-Men team movie ever made.
In addition, without the failure of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Deadpool solo movies starring Ryan Reynolds may not have been made at all or at least not in the form that we know them today. At best, they would have been rated PG-13 and firmly entrenched in this film’s bizarre continuity.
Not to mention, if Fox hadn’t mishandled Wolverine so catastrophically in Origins, they would never have started walking their path to redemption that began with 2013’s passable The Wolverine and culminated in 2017’s magnificent Logan.
Next time X-Men Origins: Wolverine pops into your mind, rather than shudder in disgust or publicly mock its shortcomings, think of all the good that has come of it in the years since. It’s difficult to argue that the film was anything other than a mistake for all involved, but what is life without mistakes? They can often be painful, but they are also the catalyst for development, growth and education.
In that sense, it could be argued that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the most important Marvel films ever made.