Ten years ago, Multiversity was brought into existence to tell the world that X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn’t really that awful. But now I’m here to tell you that not only does X-Men Origins: Wolverine suck, it was so awful that it completely change the way my teenage mind thought about movies. It altered my perception so fundamentally that, to this day, I have not recovered. X-Men Origins: Wolverine forced me to reckon with the fact that movies could be bad.
I should probably be a bit more specific. This was the movie that made me realize that, even though something was in a genre that I liked, it didn’t mean I had to like it. It was a 107-minute lesson to 13-year-old me on how even though I like super hero movies, I didn’t have to like all super hero movies.
It’s almost funny. Even knowing this was the movie that taught me the crushing disappointment of knowing that things I wanted to like could end up being bad, it’s still worse than I remembered it. The vague recollection I had going into this movie was one of the terrible CGI on Wolverine’s claws, or the flat-out ridiculousness of adamantium bullets being used to erase memories. What I didn’t remember was anything else. And god, it’s just so bad.
If there is a single bright spot in this movie, it’s Hugh Jackman. Even when he’s given absolutely nothing to work with, he still acts his ass off. Any parts of this movie that are watchable are due entire to his charisma, and the huge amount of effort he seem to be putting into this utterly ridiculous material. But even that isn’t able to save the fact that his arc in this movie doesn’t make any sense, that every decision Wolverine makes in this movie is stupider than the last, and that tonally this is somewhere around 10 different (all bad) movies slammed together.
10 years later, this movie is still bad. But looking back on it, I wonder why it was this movie that forced me to engage critically with media. Maybe it was just the in the right franchise. I loved the first two X-Men movies, and came out of the third feeling positive, but vaguely unsatisfied. Was this just the drop off in quality I needed to show me that it was okay to dislike something I wanted to enjoy? Or, probably more like, it’s that I was 13 years old, and that’s about the time that, hopefully, one starts to engage with critical thought. Both in regards to movies with terrible CGI claws, and just about everything else in life too. Or maybe it was just something about how convoluted, dumb, and outright ridiculous everything that revolved around those memory destroying adamantium bullets were. Whatever it was, I cannot deny that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was an important moment in my young adulthood.
But man, this movie sucks.