As I have said on record before, X-Men Origins: Wolverine might be the best action flick in the X-Universe. I could go on about how perfectly cheesy it is to see Logan riding a motorcycle from a barn explosion, how mindlessly fun it is to see him and Sabretooth battling it out in wars across the last century or so, or the ridiculous eye candy that is the Deadpool fight. Instead, I want to focus on the supporting cast of one of the most wrongly maligned superhero movies of the 21st century.
Let’s start with John Wraith, portrayed by the inimitable will.i.am, in what may be his best on-screen performance ever. Guys, Wraith is the heart of this movie. His dialogue may be cliche and a little over-scripted at times, but aren’t his little will.i.am-isms (wow, that was a word) endearing? Not only that, but he might have owned the most heart-wrenching moment in the movie when Sabretooth grabs his not-quite teleported heart and kills him. We stan.
Then there’s Blob! You guys, the Blob finally made it to an X-Men movie. Fred Dukes starts off fresh in the Weapon X strikeforce at the start of the movie, looking tough with the best of them. Then, things start to get a little… iffy, with Dukes struggling with weight problems. And then, our “hero” Logan makes the conscious decision to make a few quips about Dukes’ weight! He does fight back with admirable success, owning his physical state and using it to his advantage, but alas, the hero must win out in the end to progress the narrative. Fred Dukes, we were cheering for you the whole time, bud.
I’d be remiss if I ignored Taylor Kitsch as Gambit, one of the better realized comic book characters in this film. Honestly, Kitsch does a near-perfect characterization of the sleazy Cajun mutant on screen, twirling his psionically-enhanced playing cards and bo-staff with a snicker, and delivering a genuine heart-to-heart with Logan at one stage of the movie. I just… I can’t get past the fedora. I’m sorry Gambit. You were so close.
Things start to get a little less compelling from this point as we look at one of the other Weapon X members, Chris Bradley. Who in the heck is Chris Bradley, I hear you ask? You might know him better by his title, “That guy from Lord Of The Rings and also Lost! Yes, this character… exists. He does get a charming little carnival scene where he lives in a little room filled with knickknacks that he can magically turn on and off. And then, he’s killed by Sabretooth. Oh Chris, we hardly knew you.
And then… Kayla… Silverfox. The alleged love interest/double agent/triple agent of the film, this is the character that seems to have the idea that Wolverines (the creatures) are actually wolves. Not only this, but she tells a particularly dicey “folk tale” with no basis in actual Native American folklore before gettin’ it on with our hunk of a protagonist. At least Kayla grasps agency somewhat in the final act of the movie, deciding to rebel against Stryker and save her sister and a few of the mutants, but she still feels like a one-note character that could have been so much more, at least if someone had told the screenwriters that Wolverines are not actual wolves.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine may have been a great action-oriented-but-questionably-written movie, but it’s hard to deny it tried to push a completely original support cast unseen in any other X-Men movie prior. While not all of them hit the mark, they all hold a special place in my heart for their delightful little quirks. Yes, even you, original Ryan Reynolds Deadpool. People just didn’t get you, man.