X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
There are mutants in the world, humans with powers that are beyond imagination and make no biological or physical sense whatsoever.
Often these abilities lie dormant in early childhood and in 1845 a young mutant named James Howlett has his awoken by the shock of his father’s murder. Turns out the kid has incredible healing powers and long boney protuberances that shoot out of his knuckles like claws.
Jimbo kills the guy who bumped off his Dad, who was in fact was his real father, and runs away with his half brother; Victor Creed. Vic has the same healing powers as Jim but no claws.
It turns out that the kids’ incredible regenerative powers also slow down the ageing process and one hundred and twenty eight years later Jim and Vic are still around. They have spent their time getting into scraps, some small and some big like the American Civil War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. Eventually they are recruited into a group of mutant soldiers called Team X, named after the additional X-gene that they all have. Jim and Vic find themselves fighting alongside a guy who can teleport, a guy with freaky fast reflexes and agility, a mega strong dude, a human battery and super speedy swordsman but these boys play too rough and Jamie leaves the party.
Six years later, the non mutant leader of Team X, Mayor William Stryker, finds James, now calling himself Logan, and convinces him that Victor has killed his girlfriend. Out for revenge, Logan allows Stryker’s scientists to perform an operation that fuses an unbreakable metal called adamantium onto his skeleton. This makes him practically indestructible and turns those handy bone claws into really cool looking blades.
Logan needs a new code name and someone thinks of those ballsy little weasels that have a reputation for going psycho and bringing down much much larger prey. Rejecting Skunk Bear, the name given to the animal by the Blackfoot Indians of Montana and Idaho, he takes the more commonly used term Wolverine.
Some other stuff happens involving Stryker experimenting on other mutants. Victor is actually involved in the Major’s scheme but is in turn betrayed by the military man. First the brothers fight, then they work together eventually thwarting Stryker’s evil plan. Along the way one of Marvel comic’s greatest characters, Deadpool, is totally wasted (that’s been fixed now) but none of this really matters as it is all pretty forgettable and unexciting. So much so that in fact, that even Wolverine can’t remember any of it by the end of the film either and wanders off all confused. To be fair, getting shot in the head with adamantium bullets may have contributed to his amnesia.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Back when James Howlett was fighting Nazis another bad guy was experimenting with impressionable mutants. Dr. Klaus Schmidt, who can absorb power and do cool stuff with it, is tormenting young Jewish boy Erik Lensherr.
Meanwhile, child telepath Charles Xavier meets another mutant for the first time and invites the young female shapeshifter, Raven, to live with him. His Mum and Dad, clearly the biggest pushover parents in the world, agree.
Skip to 1962 and a grown up Lensherr has this whole Sean Connery/James Bond thing going on. He is looking for Schmidt and taking no crap from anyone. The guy can move metal around with his mind so is not someone to take on with a gun or a knife. This is the coolest part of the film and makes you wish they’d stuck to making X-Men Origins: Magneto, as they’d originally intended.
Still they didn’t, so back to Chuck and his foster sister. They become involved in a CIA investigation involving Schmidt who is now known as Sebastian Shaw. Agent Moira MacTaggert has picked up intel during a sting that inexplicably required her to strip down to her bra and knickers and everyone heads off to capture Shaw on his boat. Eric Lensherr turns up too and failing to get the baddie this time, they all team up.
Using Cerebro, a special machine that enhances Charlie’s telepathic ability, he and Eric start locating and enlisting a group of other, largely incidental, mutants. They even approach Wolverine, who despite it being a 12A film tells them to ‘f#€k off’.
Shaw meanwhile has engineered the Cuban Missile Crisis and Xavier, Lensherr, Raven, MacTaggert (fully clothed) and the gang turn up to stop it. There is a scene where Eric, aboard a jet, uses his natural magnetism to lift Shaw’s submarine out of the water. Somehow his attraction to said vessel does not pull him out of the plane. This makes no sense when you consider that when he tried the same trick with a boat earlier on he ended up being dragged through the sea behind it. Still, Shaw is defeated.
Eric wants to kill Shaw, Charles thinks this would be bad, Eric does it anyway and the world is saved. Unfortunately the ungrateful humans are scared of the muties and fire a bunch of missiles at them. Of course missiles are made of metal and Eric turns them back on the people. MacTaggert tries to shoot him, he deflects the bullets, one hits Chaz in the spine, Eric runs to his side and the bombs drop harmlessly into the sea.
Eric and Charles can’t reconcile over Eric’s murderous intentions toward ordinary humans. They part company, their new friendship fractured. Some of the young mutants turn to the dark side and head off to be nefarious with Eric. Raven is among them and knowing that any self respecting mutant needs a cool name, starts referring to herself as Mystique. Not wanted to be left out, Eric asks his friends to call him Magneto.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
A future version of Wolverine is projected into his 1974 younger self and goes to explain to a disenchanted and disheveled Charles Xavier that they need to stop Mystique killing a guy name Boliver Trask. Initially Charles has trouble believing Wolverine’s story, this apparently being hard to believe for a man surrounded by people who can sprout wings, shoot power blasts from their chests, turn to diamond, elevate themselves with their vocal chords and teleport. Once convinced Charlie, a blue beast that looked like something out of Build-a-Bear in the last movie but has now been wisely redesigned, and Wolvie head off to break Eric out of prison. Magneto is easily able to remember where he was when Kennedy was shot because, according to the authorities, he was shooting Kennedy. They are helped in their mission by Peter ‘Quicksilver’ Maximoff resulting in the character’s death in the second Avengers film.
The gang head to Paris where they succeed in stopping Mystique from assassinating Trask but Trask gets hold of a sample of the shapeshifter’s DNA which he will use to build mutant destroying mighty morphing power robots in the future. Boliver Trask has already made some prototypes of these machines. (Boliver Trask has to be an anagram for something right? – Boris K. Travel? Kev Lorra Bits?) Magneto commandeers the giant robots and tries to kill the US President but Charlie, Mystique, the blue beast and future Wolverine stop him. As a result Trask lives but is discredited and the future is saved.
In the not too distant future, humans are still feeling a little cautious around those with super powers. Senator Kelly is trying to pass a registration act, forcing mutants to declare themselves and make their abilities known. Charles Xavier, now in a wheelchair and looking a lot like Captain Picard, and Magneto, bearing more that a passing resemblance to Gandalf, are both unhappy about this but Magneto’s solution is far less peaceful than Charles would like.
Wolverine is still wandering around, knowing nothing of his past, and links up with a young female runaway called Rogue. Rogue has the involuntary ability to take the life force and powers of anyone she touches. The two of them are attacked by none other than Victor Creed. Wolverine clearly doesn’t remember Vic but strangely Vic, now with a much more animalistic appearance and calling himself Sabretooth, does not seem to know his brother either. This could be down to further mutant experimentation but more likely it is just bad continuity.
Fortunately Rogue and Wolverine are saved by Cyclops, who blasts highly powerful laser beams from his eyes, and Storm, who can manipulate the weather. (I told you these people’s powers defied any laws of biology or physics.) Everyone heads back to Charlie’s secret mansion, which seems a bit of an oxymoron. By this time Charles has become known as Professor X (of course he has).
Mystique kidnaps Senator Kelly and Magneto uses a machine to turn him into a mutant. He dies before he gets his own mutie name but, going by what he can now do, Playdough would have worked. Maggie and Misty then kidnap Rogue and tie her to Magneto’s mutating machine at the top of The Statue of Liberty. They want to use her powers to somehow magnify the power of the device so that they can genetically alter all of the world’s leaders gathered for a summit on nearby Ellis Island.
Wolverine, working with Storm, Cyclops and Cyclop’s partner, telepath Jean Grey, save the day. Mystique escapes and morphs herself to impersonate Kelly but Magneto is locked up in a plastic prison.
Wolverine heads off to check out a secret military based that Charles Xavier has discovered may hold the secrets to his adamantium skeleton and his past.
New mutant Nightcrawler uses a great teleportation special effect to break into the White House as a demonstration against the oppression of mutant kind. Under the control of good old William Stryker, he tries to assassinate the POTUS but fails.
Wolverine returns from the military base having found it deserted but Stryker’s men attack Xavier’s mansion. The Bear Skunk lives up to his name defending the place and most of the mutant students who live there escape. Cyclops, Xavier and a handful of the mutie kids are captured though.
Mystique is still impersonating Senator Kelly and gets the information she needs to break Magneto out of the clink. Once out he meets up with Wolverine, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Iceman and Pyro (I’m sure you can work out the powers of those last two). Wolvie, Stormy, Jeanie and the kids are out and about in their jet when it gets hits by a US Air Force missile attack. Magneto catches the plane before it hits the ground, saving their lives.
Magneto has learnt that Stryker wanted Nightcrawler to assassinate The President to create strong anti- mutant feeling and has his own version of the Cerebro machine which he going to use to remotely kill all of the mutants in the world. Suddenly united by a shared cause, the good X-Men and the bad X-Men team up and head over to Stryker’s base hidden deep beneath the aforementioned military base. There is a scrap and as a result the dam next to the base is cracked.
The bad guys are foiled, including Magneto who double crosses Xavier’s team and tries to use Cerebro to wipe out all of the muggles. Everyone escapes apart from Stryker who Magneto has chained up next to the damaged dam. Wolverine finds Stryker knowing he is one who gave him his metal skeleton. He is still sketchy on the details though so Stryker offers to enlighten him if he saves his life. Wolverine considers this but decides to leave him in his chains. Wolverine goes, the dam breaks and that’s the end of Stryker.
Unfortunately the X-Jet is also in the path of the water and it unable to take off. Jean Grey leaves the plane and creates a telekinetic shield around it to protect it from the deluge. The plane gets away but Jean is drowned.
Cyclops is sad because he loved Jean and Wolverine is sad because he loved her too. Everyone is sad because they all loved her in a platonic way.
That telekinetic shield thing though, that was an impressive trick. Only an incredibly powerful telepath could have done that, scarily powerful even.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Yeah, Jean didn’t die. It turns out that she always had the potential to be a dark wizard of immense destructive power but Charles Xavier had been suppressing it with his mind. Well, the cork is definitely out of the bottle now.
Devastated by the death of his girlfriend, Cyclops goes to mope around by the lake where she drowned. There she is though, all fit and healthy if a little intense looking. Cyclops runs over and kisses her but Jean, no longer interested in the trivialities of ordinary people, reduces him to individual atoms and watches his remains blow away in the wind. Back at the mansion, Professor X feels a great disturbance in the force and sends Wolverine and Storm to find Cyclops. What they discover is his shades and an unconscious Jean.
Meanwhile, in a plot point nicked from Joss Whedon’s run as writer on the X-Men comic, a cure for mutantism has been discovered. Convinced that this will be used forcibly on his brethren, Eric Lensherr is drawn to action. He ditches Mystique though when she is shot with darts loaded with the antidote and becomes normal.
Jean wakes up back at the mansion. Wolverine is clearly pleased to see her but realises what she has done. She easily escapes because she is a bit of a god now and heads back to her family home. Aware of her immense powers but interested in them for different reasons, old compadres Charles and Eric both rush to see her. It doesn’t go well for Xavier who is disintegrated by Jean. Jean finally gets herself a cool mutant name, Phoenix, and leaves with Magneto.
The mutant cure is being developed on Alcatraz Island so all of the mutants, good and bad, take a trip to San Francisco. There is another big smack down and Magneto is shot with the anti-mutation serum. It looks like it’s all over but Phoenix gets shirty when the humans fire on her and starts dissolving people left right and centre. Thinking his body might be able to regenerate faster than Jean can tear it apart, Wolverine approaches her. Momentarily gaining control of her powers and becoming her old self again, Jean asks Wolverine to kill her which he very reluctantly does.
Just as we think the story is done though, two sequel baiting things happen. Eric regains enough power to topple a metal chess piece and a coma patient in the care of Moira MacTaggert seems to have taken on the spirit and consciousness of Charles Xavier. Hmmm, interesting!
The Wolverine (2013)
Wolverine is living a reclusive life in Canada, haunted by memories of Jean Grey. He is sought out by a young Japanese woman called Yukio who takes Logan back with her to The Land of the Rising Sun. He has been called to the deathbed of a man named Yashida who Wolverine saved at Nagasaki.
Yashida wants to repay Wolverine by offering to free him from the curse of his immortality. The old man says he can take on Wolverine’s healing powers himself, extending his own life and promising an eventual end to Logan’s. It doesn’t seem the most altruistic offer and Wolverine turns him down. That night Wolverine is injected with something but dismisses it as a dream and Yashida dies.
At the funeral gangsters attempt to kidnap Mariko, Yashida’s granddaughter and named heir to his empire. Wolverine protects her but is shot in the scuffle. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but this time he isn’t healing. The couple hide out in a hotel but weakened Wolverine is not able to save Mariko when the ninjas find them.
Wolverine links up with Yukio and they discover that a tiny robot attached to his heart is suppressing his healing powers. They whip that out and and track Mariko, who Logan has fallen for, to a deserted village.
Once at the village, Wolverine is bested by the Ninjas again and ends up strapped into some kind of machine. It is at this point that a perfectly good film turns daft as we meet the Silver Samurai, a giant fighting robot with adamantium swords. The plan is to permanently remove Logan’s powers and give them to the man inside the robot, you’ve guessed it… Yashida, not dead after all.
Wolverine escapes the machine and fights the big shiny cyborg. It looks like Yashidabot has won when he slices off Logan’s claws but Mariko pops up and stabs her grandfather with one of the severed blades. Logan regrows his bone claws and finishes the old man off.
Wolverine returns to the States where he is met at the airport (it’s always nice to be met at the airport). The welcome party consists of none other than Eric and Charles. This is a bit of a surprise to Logan as these guys are mortal enemies, one of them is an evil megalomaniac and the other is supposed to be dead. There is no time to worry about trivialities like that though, apparently there is a grave new threat to the mutant race.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) -again
The threat turns out to be an army of mutant destroying mighty morphing power robots designed by a man named Boliver Trask (Evil Bar Stork? Brat Love Risk?). Over time these machines have decimated both the mutant and the human population – you can never trust a robot to fight a war in a movie, they always get carried away.
The only way of saving the world is for Wolverine to be transported back to the 1973 version of himself and change the past, which he does.
On his return to the future everything is different. Scott and Jean are both alive and the entire plot of X-Men: The Last Stand has been completely rewritten. Clearly Bryan Singer, who directed this and the first two movies, didn’t like what Last Stand director Brett Ratner had done with his franchise.