Film / X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
is a prequel
to all prior entries in the X-Men
film franchise; it focuses on Logan's Mysterious
, Dark and Troubled Past
from his childhood up until several years before he hooked up with Professor Xavier's gifted students.
On a cold Canadian night in 1845, James "Jimmy" Howlett sprouts claws made of bone and kills a man; he and his half-brother, Victor Creed, escape into the night together. Over the next century
, Jimmy and Victor tear a bloody swathe through the American Civil War, both World Wars, and Vietnam—and during Vietnam, the Army has them both executed (Victor for killing a superior officer, Jimmy for defending Victor).
And that execution would have stuck if the half-brothers hadn't possessed the Healing Factor
that gives them near-immortality
. Since the execution merely "tickled" the duo, Colonel William Stryker
exonerates them of their war crimes and recruits them into a squadron of mutant soldiers
who perform morally reprehensible tasks for the American government. Jimmy leaves in disgust after one massacre of innocents too many, while Victor—who enjoys his job way too much
—stays with Stryker.
Several years later, Jimmy—now calling himself Logan—is forced to deal with his past when Stryker tries to recruit him back into the team... and an enraged Victor later kills Logan's lover. Stryker reapproaches Logan and offers a deal: if he undergoes an operation to reinforce his skeleton with adamantium, he'll have a chance for his revenge against Victor. Logan survives the operation due to his healing factor, then escapes from Stryker's clutches before a planned memory wipe—and vows to kill both Stryker and Victor.
A follow-up to this film, The Wolverine
, was released in 2013. Originally envisioned a sequel to this movie, it evolved into a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand
instead. This film was also the first of a planned Origins Spin-Off
series that would've been followed by X-Men Origins: Magneto
, which was scrapped and remade heavily
into X-Men: First Class
X-Men Origins: Wolverine contains the following tropes:
- Aborted Arc: The film ended with the reveal that Deadpool had survived being decapitated, setting the character up for future appearances. The Internet Backdraft, coupled with the movie's mediocre earnings, led to the studio abandoning any plans for a sequel for several years, and releasing the unrelated The Wolverine instead. A solo Deadpool movie was released in 2016, but it's completely unconnected to the previous films and treats Wolverine as Canon Discontinuity. Or, more accurately, is set in the alternate timeline after X-Men: Days of Future Past erased this film from the timeline.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Shortly after Logan receives his adamantium infusion, he slices up several items in a farmhouse bathroom (including a porcelain sink) with his now impossibly sharp claws, despite applying what appears to be no more than the force required to move an unrestrained arm.
- Death by Adaptation: Kestrel, working with Wolverine, and Agent Zero, working against him.
- Death by Origin Story:
- The film has Love Interest Kayla. Being Logan, a character who in the comics collects dead lovers and was unattached in the first three movies, it seemed she is doomed to die, and the film doesn't disappoint... at first. But when it's revealed he death was faked and their affair false, the trope seems averted. But then it turns out she really loved him... so she's dead as a doornail by the end, and the now amnesiac Wolverine doesn't even know to cry over her corpse. Tragic in all the wrong ways.
- Then there's John Howlett, Wolverine's father, who is killed by the groundskeeper Thomas Logan in a drunken rage. The trauma of witnessing this activates young James' mutation: bone claws, which he uses to kill Thomas Logan, supposedly avenging his father's death. With his dying breath, Thomas Logan reveals that he, not John Howlett, is his real father.
- Dénouement: The film not only has this trope, but two Sequel Hook segments as well, one of which was eventually greenlit by Hollywood. That's right, folks: the Merc with the Mouth got his own movie.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Stryker manages to bypass both Wolverine's adamantium bones and healing factor by shooting him in the head with adamantium bullets. The bullets pierce his skull, and while Logan's brain can heal, his memories can't.
- Doomed by Canon: Wolverine has to lose his memories and rename himself "Logan", Sabretooth has to distance himself from Wolverine to the point of giving him the silent treatment, William Stryker has to survive and so does Cyclops. Silver Fox has to either die or board a bus (since Wolverine doesn't have a girlfriend in the original movie).
- Downer Beginning: Jimmy's father dies, leading the boy to kill the assassin, Logan... and discover he is his real father. So Jimmy is forced to run away along with Logan's other son, Victor.
- The Dragon: Agent Zero is Stryker's Dragon at first, then Sabretooth and Weapon XI later on.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Subverted during one of the post-credits scenes; we see Wolverine in a Japanese bar. The bartendress asks him if he's drinking to forget, to which Wolverine replies he's drinking to remember.
- Dumb Muscle: Fred Dukes, who Stryker employs to do the heavy stuff like stopping a tank from firing at them, is not the smartest of Stryker's team, even getting a tattoo of a woman he only met the night before.
- Edge Gravity: A weird non-videogame example occurs during the climactic battle on the top of the cooling tower. Punched, kicked, tripped, backdropped and blown up, characters always land on the top of the wall, which is less than a meter wide—though considering that the characters all have Healing Factors and are pretty much immune to falls, it wouldn't really matter.
- Empty Elevator: Very much averted—they're in the elevator, right in the firing line of two dozen mooks with automatic weapons. So they send in the Merc with the Mouth to "clean up" first.
- Enemy Mine: Wolverine and Sabretooth against Weapon XI.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- The generals allow for Stryker to carry out his Weapon XI project. However, one of them calls Stryker out when telling him that he suspects that Stryker's motivations are basically out of Fantastic Racism. This gets him killed by Stryker.
- Dukes clearly is disturbed by what Stryker does on Three Mile Island.
- Exposition of Immortality: The film starts with Wolverine and Sabertooth as young children in 1845, then starts a montage of them fighting in every American war from the Civil War to Vietnam.
- Extranormal Prison: Briefly features a series of holding cells that combine this trope and Tailor-Made Prison. Each cell has been made capable of holding its individual mutant occupant.
- Face Death with Dignity:
- Once Victor arrives, Chris Bradley doesn't even flinch.
- John Wraith upon being confronted by Sabertooth, refuses to be scared and attempts to fight him.
- False Reassurance: Wolverine nearly throttles Colonel Stryker when he thinks he's lying. Styker swears that he's telling the truth "on the life of my son!" Of course, as we saw in X2, Stryker doesn't value his son's life very highly.
- Faux Affably Evil: Stryker acts very polite and charming, often calling Wolverine "Old friend". This doesn't change the fact that he's unrepentantly homicidal and manipulative.
- Finger in a Barrel: Dukes does this with a tank cannon, causing the tank to explode from the inside. It's a good thing Duke is super tough.
- Flashback Nightmare: Implied in one scene with Wolverine where he is screaming in bed and apparently accidentally injured Kayla with his (regular) claws, where he explained that he had nightmares on every single war he fought in.
- Flipping the Bird: Wolverine does it to Gambit, by retracting his outer two claws and leaving the middle.
- Foregone Conclusion: It's a given that Logan, Sabretooth, and Stryker will all survive the film. Logan will receive his adamantium skeleton from the Weapon X program. Finally, Logan's memories of everything in his life up to, and including, the events of the film will somehow be erased by the end of the film.
- The Foreign Subtitle: The film became Wolverine: X-Men Zero in Japan.
- Stryker says to Wade Wilson that he'd be the perfect soldier if he didn't have such a mouth. Stryker later turns Wade into a mutated super-soldier who literally has no mouth.
- Kayla gets a man to back off from a confrontation with Logan, attributing it to "female powers of persuasion." She earlier fails to convince Logan not to confront the man in the first place. She's using her mutant power, which doesn't work on Sabretooth either—also hinting that her feelings for Logan are genuine since she can't just make him fall for her.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When John Wraith teleports, going frame-by-frame reveals that, unlike fellow X-Men characters Nightcrawler and Azazel, Wraith teleports in at least two phases—first his skeleton materializes, and then his body, clothes and all. When Weapon XI copies the power, freeze-framing his teleports shows that his entire skeleton, like Wolverine's, is coated in adamantium.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Wolverine's first rampage post-surgery, of course, though immediately prior to that he was wearing a pair of briefs.
- Gainaxing: We have Emma Frost's slow-motion bouncing near the end before the helicopter.
- Gone Horribly Right: Stryker and his team try to create an indestructible warrior. That works pretty well. Then they piss him off. That doesn't.
- Guns Akimbo: Agent Zero, while attacking the Nigerian compound.
- The Gunslinger: Agent Zero. Pistols, rifles, anything!
- Healing Factor: Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Weapon XI (copying Wolverine's powers) all heal up just fine from myriad gunshots, stab wounds, and falls from great heights. Wolverine also (barely) survives having red-hot adamantium bonded to his skeleton, and every time he pops his claws he's effectively tearing his hands open, only for them to seal right back up when the claws are retracted. If Stryker is to be believed, Sabretooth's healing factor is not as effective as Logan's, which is why he can't undergo adamantium augmentation. It does allow him to live an unnaturally long life alongside his brother, however.
- Heroic Rematch: For all that he was betrayed and lied to in order to do it, Wolverine's consent to the adamantium experiment does achieve his goal—the next time he faces Sabretooth, he fares much better.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Victor Creed with his half-brother Logan for their childhood and most of their adult lives, up until Logan leaves Team X.
- Historical In-Joke: Wolverine and Sabretooth fight Weapon XI atop the cooling tower at Three Mile Island, destroying it in the process.
- I Am a Monster: In one of the TV spots, Sabretooth utters this chilling line, which is either a Shout-Out or a ripoff of Seth Brundle's "insect politics" speech from The Fly (1986), which itself is an homage to the Japanese poem, "I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?"
Sabretooth: I'm not your friend... I'm an animal who dreamed he was a man. But the dream is over... and the beast is awake. And I will come for you, because it's my nature.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him:
- Played dead straight, by Logan's squeeze Kayla, in regards to him killing off Sabretooth and/or Stryker. Two men, who have been rounding up mutants like cattle, are effectively above the law, and will most likely continue to hunt Logan down as long as he lives. All of which could be solved by a little extra stabbing...
- Kayla at least holds herself to the same standards—when she has Stryker at the mercy of her hypnosis power and could force him to commit Psychic-Assisted Suicide, she instead only commands him to throw his gun away and walk until his feet are bleeding. While she lies dying, no less, and after Styker shoots Wolverine twice in the head, erasing his memory of her.
- Ignore the Disability: Used with a twist. Wraith warns Logan not to mention Dukes' extreme weight gain, as he is sensitive about it. The very first thing that Logan says is "Hey, Fat— uh, Fred!" It's clearly accidental, but as Dukes doesn't seem to care, Logan continues doing it on purpose, calling him "Slim" and the like. Logan doesn't hit the Berserk Button until he uses the word Bub, which Dukes mishears as Blob. The joke here is that Fred Dukes is a long-standing Marvel Comics villain, who uses the identity "The Blob".
- Ill Boy: Both James and Victor were sickly children before their mutation manifested.
Victor: You're always sick.
James: You were sick when you were my age.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: Some of Kayla's parting words.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Agent Zero's main power.
- Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Victor takes advantage of this to kill Wraith.
- In-Name-Only: This film is fairly notorious for it, with many of the featured mutants having little (or nothing) to do with its comic book counterparts:
- Emma Frost. The only attributes that she has in common with her comics counterpart is that she's blonde and can turn her skin into a diamond-like form. X-Men: First Class would ignore her appearance in this story and present its own version of Emma as much closer to her comics counterpart. Then again, she's called "Emma", but the surname is never said, and her sister is "Kayla Silverfox". However, in one of the character TV spots, they clearly use Frost as her surname.
- Agent Zero. Not only do they use his New Weapon X callsign instead of his Weapon X one (Maverick), he somehow has Agent X's powers as well. Neither his powers as Maverick (kinetic energy absorption and redirection), nor his powers as Agent Zero (corrosive skin secretions designed to defeat Healing Factor abilities) make an actual appearance. Oh, and he's no longer East German.
- Bolt. Or Bradley, for those who missed him because he's long-dead in the comics. He's not only not called by his callsign, he's also no longer the kid Maverick teaches in the use of his powers after retiring—he's now Maverick's comrade-in-arms. Who, instead of lightning-flinging powers, has electric-appliance-powering-and-controlling powers.
- Deadpool retains his sarcastic sense of humor, Motor Mouth & katanas... and even those fall by the wayside by the time of the main events of the movie. While he does undergo a procedure to give him a copy of Wolverine's Healing Factor that leaves his body horrifically scarred just like in the comics, he's also saddled with Cyclops' optic blasts, Wraith's teleportation (he uses a device in the comics) and a pair of Blades Below the Shoulders, and just to add insult to injury, his mouth is sewn shut.
- In the comics, Blob's fat body was a part of his mutation, with the super strength more of a Required Secondary Power. In fact it's the fat that made him virtually resistant to any weapons.
- John Wraith in the comics typically relied on More Dakka and if necessary rocket launchers in a fight, not Teleport Spam and fists. Instead his rather long-ranged teleportation was used to make quick and clean getaways.
- Even regular humans weren't spared from becoming In-Name-Only characters. About the only thing in common between the Hudsons in the comics and the Hudsons in this film is that both couples find Wolverine stumbling about after he'd gotten his adamantium skeleton and escaped from the program. In the comics, James and Heather Hudson find Wolverine in the middle of a blizzard by the cabin at which they are honeymooning, and at this point they'd just recently started Department H, the government organization that would create Alpha Flight. In the movie, Travis and Heather Hudson are an elderly couple who find Wolverine stumbling onto their farm (and not in a blizzard), and they have no known government connections. And unlike their comic counterparts, Travis and Heather get killed off.
- Instant Flight, Just Add Spinning: Gambit does this with his cane.
- It's Personal:
- The only thing in the world Victor cares about is his baby brother. When said brother walks out on him, he doesn't take it well.
- This is also how Stryker gets Jimmy involved in the Weapon X program.
- When Logan gets bashed through a wall by Gambit, he sees Victor. When Gambit appears right behind him, intent on continuing their fight, Logan doesn't even spare him so much as a glance before elbowing him in the face and fighting Victor.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Stryker forces Kayla Silverfox to conspire with him this way by threatening to kill her sister, Emma Frost.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: For all its faults, the film's opening montage of the many wars the US has been in did show Victor's decline from a soldier doing his job to a ruthless killer quite nicely without being really obvious about it.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Wade Wilson jokes with his mutant comrades that his katanas are far more "memorable" than guns. He is shown to be capable of parrying fully automatic fire from multiple opponents with them, occasionally deflecting bullets at enemies. The blades, of course, are completely undamaged.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The film features quite possibly one of the most painful instances of this trope. An antagonist loads a gun with adamantium bullets, knowing he can't kill Wolverine with them, but intends to give him Laser-Guided Amnesia by shooting him in the head. He succeeds, wiping Wolverine's memory with no other side-effects. Wolverine's "memories don't grow back", but his ability to speak, read, walk, recognize police cars, hide from police cars, etc, do.
- Left Hanging: The film ends with two Sequel Hooks in The Stinger. One reveals that Deadpool is still alive, and the other has an ominous scene showing Logan in Japan. The next movie, The Wolverine, takes place decades later and ignores both of those bits, and while a Deadpool movie was eventually made, it treats this movie as completely non-canon (outside of taking potshots at it).
- Like Cannot Cut Like:
- Wolverine faces Weapon XI, which has adamantium katanas.
- William Stryker shoots Wolverine in the head with adamantium bullets (which is kinda justified, as a bullet, which is really fast, could have more impact than a blade). Doesn't kill him, but it does give him amnesia—presumably the shock of the impact gave him severe brain damage and his Healing Factor couldn't piece all his memories back together. Though why this doesn't result in a pair of .44 caliber holes in Logan's adamantium skull is unclear, since his healing factor can't grow back the implanted metal.
- Lockdown: When Wolverine is escaping the Weapon X facility.
- London England Syndrome:
- A variation with territory and country listed occurs in the case of "Northwest Territories, Canada." The American writers clearly didn't do their research because a portion of this region didn't enter the Canadian Confederation until 1870 (and the other sections were later divided up into separate provinces and territories over the next few decades), so in 1845, it should've been referred to as "North-Western Territory, British North America." James Howlett and Victor Creed were therefore born as British citizens (although presumably it would've been easy for them to obtain Canadian citizenship after the Dominion of Canada was founded in 1867).
- "Lagos, Nigeria."
- Losing Your Head: In one of The Stingers, Deadpool's severed head wakes up before shushing to the audience and fading to black.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Victor did not take his brother James leaving him for a life of peace well... not in the least.
- Made of Explodium: Wolverine takes down a helicopter, the tail end of which explodes upon hitting the ground. Not so bad. But then Wolverine exchanges dialog with a crash survivor and walks away, lights a trail of gasoline coming from the same helicopter, and makes it explode again in the background.
- Market-Based Title: The film became known as X-Men Zero in Japan.
- Mega Manning: Weapon XI, formerly Wade Wilson, is somehow infused with powers from several mutants, including Logan (allowing him to also undergo the adamantium bonding process), Scott Summers, and John Wraith.
- Mighty Lumberjack: Logan takes up lumberjacking in his Retired Badass phase.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with Wolverine and Sabretooth as children.
- Missing Trailer Scene: One of the earliest trailers includes a brief shot of a young Black girl with white hair, who's clearly mean to be a young Storm. Her single scene was cut and can only be seen on the DVD.
- Mondegreen: When Logan addresses the very overweight Fred J. Dukes as "bub", Fred gets mad because he mishears it as "Blob". (Fred J. Dukes would actually become the mutant known as the Blob).
- Mundane Utility: Bradley, who can power electrics, has a job as a carney after the war. "Turn the light off, get a prize. Three tries for a buck."
- My Hero Zero: Subverted with Agent Zero, a rather two-dimensional throwaway villain. (He dies painfully.) To be fair, he's actually pretty dangerous—if you don't have a skeleton made of adamantium and the original Healing Factor.
- Mythology Gag:
- In the comics, Deadpool's nickname is "The Merc with the Mouth". Here, he's the Merc with No Mouth.
- Stryker's ultimate mutant weapon being called "Weapon XI", in reference to the revelation in the comics that "Weapon X" actually meant "Weapon Ten". Which means that if Weapon XI is Wade Wilson, and Weapon X is Wolverine, there were nine previous attempts.
- Stryker can be seen wearing a silver cross necklace in the scene where he goes to meet Logan in the hospital, likely as a nod to the fact that he was a priest (not a military officer) in the comics.
- Deadpool never dons his trademark costume, but Wade wears a red T-shirt as a nod to his comic outfit.
- Also, during the final fight, there's a brief close-up of Deadpool charging up his Eye Beams, which causes his face to resemble his comic counterpart's mask.
- Naked People Are Funny: After Wolverine's initial Full-Frontal Assault, which is naturally done seriously, he ends up running to the nearest barn, to the surprise of the old couple who own it.
Heather: Travis! I think there's a naked man in the barn.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- Minor example: TV commercials would feature some of the other mutants in the movie, with one of them noting Emma Frost. Her role in the movie is to turn into diamond at one point, making her more of a cameo than the semi-major character the commercial played her up to be.
- This has happened with other characters like Deadpool as well. Some comments have been made about how ridiculous it is that a whole 30 seconds said more about the characters than their screen time throughout the entire film.
- Nice Hat:
- John Wraith is always wearing his cowboy hat in pretty much every scene.
- Gambit wears his hat throughout most of the film. It's a nice one, indeed.
- No Endor Holocaust: If the film is to be believed, Wolverine is at least partially responsible for the Three Mile Island leak, aka one of the things that helped kill nuclear power, and the first major leak in American history. Granted, Weapon XI could have stopped firing, but you've got to wonder what Wolvie was thinking causing his head to fall into the cooling tower.
- Not Afraid to Die: Subverted when Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, comes to assassinate his ex-team member Bolt. This little exchange takes place:
Bolt: I'm not afraid of you, Victor. I'm not afraid of dying.
Creed: How do you know? You've never tried it before.
- Nothing Personal: Victor doesn't give a damn about causes, contrasting with his It's Personal attitude toward Jimmy.
- Not Wearing Tights: The film takes the black leather from previous films away, leaving everyone in Civvie Spandex.
- Not What I Signed On For: Wolverine is not too enthusiastic about massacring a village full of civilians.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Due to being intended to start a spinoff "X-Men Origins" franchise which never materialised.
- Offhand Backhand: Wolverine elbows Gambit in the face as he's coming up behind him to deliver an angry speech.
- Offing the Offspring: Thomas Logan nearly shoots his son James Howlett when the kid is charging at him with newly sprouted bone claws, but Elizabeth Howlett manages to grab the hunting rifle before Thomas can do so.
- Off with His Head!: The title character talks about wanting to decapitate his big brother, but only end up beheading Weapon XI, in this version an experimented-up Wade Wilson.
- Oh Crap!:
- Wolverine has one during his climatic fight against Deadpool when it's revealed that Deadpool has teleporting powers.
- Zero sports an epic one when he tries to shoot a bullet into Logan's head to (temporarily) take him out, which would have worked if he had normal human bones. Instead, it just bounces off his now indestructible skull and Logan just growls.
- Old Money: Judging by the refined manners of John Howlett and the grandeur of the mansion, James Howlett was born into wealth. However, he learns when he was around 13 years old that his mother Elizabeth had an affair with Thomas Logan, his family's groundskeeper, and is their illegitimate child. After the death of both his stepfather and biological father, James runs away from home, and he has been scratching a living ever since.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: As Weapon XI is about to decapitate Logan, he is tackled away by Victor Creed. "Nobody kills you but me!"
- Origins Episode: For Wolverine.
- Parrying Bullets: Wade Wilson is good enough with his twin katanas to deflect fully automatic fire from widely-spaced sources mostly by spinning them really fast. At one point he splits a bullet in half, which goes on to take out two mooks behind him.
- People Jars: Colonel Stryker collects mutants in glass tanks, where they stay naked in freezing-based suspended animation. Stryker's own son is one of these.
- Playing with Syringes: Weapon XI is exactly that—the eleventh of a series of Living Weapon experiments by Stryker, with Wolverine as Weapon X, intended to create the perfect mutant killer by way of Mega Manning mutant powers into one being.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The film has been stated to be a testing bed for films based on Gambit and Deadpool. The fact that the two were the most common points of criticism (Gambit for Advertised Extra, Deadpool for They Changed It, Now It Sucks) would tell you it didn't work. However, Ryan Reynolds's Wade Wilson from before his disfigurement (plus in The Stinger) is still considered quite awesome, and Reynolds would later star as Deadpool in his own feature film. That said, since X-Men Origins: Wolverine is no longer canon, the Deadpool movie completely disregards its events (outside of taking potshots at them). And while a Gambit movie is in the works, it will also treat Origins as non-canon.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the comics, Fred Dukes, a.k.a. the Blob, is a mutant whose specific abilities seem to revolve around being morbidly obese. In the film however, Dukes is physically fit until he develops an eating disorder, but his super strength is what allows him to carry his own weight.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When Creed kills John Wraith.
Creed: I can feel your spine, Johnny Boy. Never knew you had one.
- Present Day Past: The movie doesn't look like it takes place 20-30 years before the main X-Men movies.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Threatened but not gone through with, or maybe genuinely considered. Silverfox makes Colonel Stryker put the muzzle of his revolver with One Bullet Left under his chin, but doesn't make him pull the trigger, instead telling him to walk away until his feet bleed and then keep walking. As the film is a prequel to X2, she couldn't have killed him anyway.
- Psycho for Hire:
- Victor Creed, once he leaves Team X.
- Agent Zero, once Team X closes.
- Punch Clock Villains:
- Wraith and Bradley of Weapon X. They do their job and try not to think too hard about it. Then later repent. After all, "I was Just Following Orders" is only an excuse for so long.
- Kayla Silverfox as well, since Stryker has her sister hostage.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The film has Logan go mano-a-mano against Fred Dukes a.k.a. The Blob—without using his claws—to get information from him. Logan's glove-clad punches prove rather ineffective.
- Race Lift: Agent Zero is a white guy of East German descent in the X-Men comics, but is played by Korean actor Daniel Henney.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Wolverine gives one to Kayla Silverfox when she's revealed to be allied with Stryker.
Wolverine: That story you told me about the man who gets flowers for the moon. I had it backwards. I thought you were the Moon and I was your Wolverine, but you're the Trickster, aren't you? I'm just the fool who got played. Worst part of it is I should have known and I ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. That won't ever happen again...
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Victor is the red to Logan's blue.
- Related in the Adaptation:
- The film makes Sabretooth Wolverine's half-brother (as opposed to simply being another Weapon X experiment). Though it seemed to be Fanon before the movie was filmed, due to Dog (Wolverine's half-brother in the comic) having a resemblance to Sabretooth, this was later contraindicated. This also makes him a Composite Character.
- Silverfox is the sister of, well, a character with diamond skin named "Emma", but whom Continuity Snarl means can't really be Emma Frost, although that was clearly the intention.
- Retcon: Origins introduced a few to what was established in the first three films.
- Retired Badass:
- Fred Dukes and John Wraith become a boxer and his manager respectively, after Team X disbands.
- Logan himself returns to the Canadian wilderness to become a Mighty Lumberjack.
- Riding into the Sunset: Included near the end—before a subversion. Logan/Wolverine is carrying Kayla off into the sunset—then a pistol rises into the shot and a gunshot rings out as Stryker arrives with his adamantium bullets...
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Pretty much the whole point of the movie. Victor kills Kayla, so Logan makes a deal with Styker to get revenge on him, but then Stryker betrays him, so Logan is gunning for both of them, and then it turns out they're working together anyway...
- Rule of Cool: The movie is generally considered at its best when it remembers that it's about Hugh Jackman running around stabbing people in the face.
- The Runaway: In the beginning of the film, young James Howlett and Victor Creed ran away from home together after James stabs and kills Thomas Logan for murdering his father, then finds out that Thomas was his real father.
- Saved by Canon:
- It look like Wolverine is about slam his claws right in Sabretooth's throat. Granted, he just knock him unconscious but you already know that he wouldn't kill Sabretooth anyway since he appeared in X-Men, that takes many years after this movie.
- Likewise, Wolverine himself, Stryker, and Cyclops are all guaranteed to survive.
- Sequel Hook: The Stinger at the end shows Logan drinking away his sorrows in a Japanese pub. The Wolverine was intended to follow up on this, and does take place in Japan, but ended up as a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand instead of this film.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Exaggerated in a bedroom exchange between a traumatized Logan (whose healing powers make him well over a hundred years old) and his lover Kayla Silverfox.
Kayla: Was it the war?
Kayla: Which one?
Logan: All of them.
- Shirtless Scene: The film took this to an extreme, which was much to the delight of Hugh Jackman fangirls. During a dramatic escape scene, not only does he erupt from a tank of water completely shirtless (and indeed naked) (muscles + dripping water...) but he then proceeds to escape, running and fighting his way out of the building. Viewers get a lovable full-body shot (in which censorship is barely provided by his leg from a mostly-side-shot) when he jumps off a waterfall.
- Shooting Superman: The military scientists who made Wolverine immune to bullets decide to stop him by sending an assassin, armed with bullets, to kill the man who is immune to bullets. As they watch their plan fail, they comment on the fact that the assassin never stood a chance because he wasn't using the special adamantium bullets they had right there next to them!
- Short Lived Aerial Escape: Wolverine destroys a helicopter by using his claws, a motorcycle, and a military Humvee as an impromptu catapult, allowing him to slice the rotors off of the helicopter mid-flight.
- Sinister Scraping Sound: Sabretooth uses his nails to scratch Kayla's car before killing her.
- Skyward Scream: This is done three times in the movie—when young James Howlett first grows his claws and when Logan finds Kayla's body being two.
- Smug Snake:
- Stryker. Down to the overconfidence part.
- Also Agent Zero has his moments.
- Soft Water: Averted. Before jumping into the ocean to reach the island, Logan tells Gambit to his enjoyment that it will hurt very badly falling out of his plane. He actually skips across the water once or twice before falling in.
- Static Character: Averting this with Wolverine was one of the criticisms of the film ("Although it can take credit for clearing up some of the mysteries surround the title character's identity, those revelations serve to make Wolverine less compelling").
- The Stinger: The film has, depending on your screening, either a now-amnesiac Logan in a bar, "drinking to remember" or the living disembodied head of Deadpool, having gained his mouth back and his Medium Awareness as well. DVD releases have both. There's also General Stryker getting arrested, but everyone got that one.
- Stock Subtitle: Origins.
- Stout Strength: Blob, post-eating disorder.
- Sunglasses at Night: Sabretooth taunts a young Cyclops by telling him that it's a little too dark to be wearing sunglasses. Of course, Cyclops kind of needs to wear them.
- Super Team: Colonel William Stryker assembles Team X which features James Howlett, Victor Creed, John Wraith, Agent Zero, Christopher Bradley, Wade Wilson and Fred Dukes. Some of them don't get along very well.
- Sword Sparks: Logan's claws have always done it some of the time, but in this movie, it's taken to unprecedented heights. When he's examining his new claws in a bathroom mirror, simply tapping them against each other is enough to strike sparks.
- Tears of Remorse: The film has Kayla pulling this when Wolverine muses about the folktale and that he is just a fool who got played due to the fact that she is blackmailed into working for Stryker.
- Tele-Frag: John Wraith uses his ability to dodge Victor Creed's claw attacks, until Creed uses his knowledge of Wraith's fighting style to lead him, sticking his hand right where he knew John would end up, and aiming so well he's able to grab hold of his spinal column, and rip it out when Wraith tries to 'port again.
- Teleport Spam:
- Weapon XI effectively fights Victor and Wolverine at the same time by porting back and forth atop the ledge they're all standing on.
- John Wraith. Weapon XI did borrow it from him, after all. Which doesn't help much when Victor figures out that he teleports in a predictable pattern, and gets him to teleport into roughly the same area as Victor's claws, with predictable results.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Logan brings down a helicopter and its mutant operator, who is then incapacitated and trapped. He could use his adamantium claws to stab his helpless victim, but decides instead to blow up the entire helicopter in a massive display of pyrotechnics.
- They Were Holding You Back: This is apparently why Victor kills Kayla. Only it turns out, it was Stryker's plan, not Victor's, and Kayla is not actually dead.
- Thunderbolt Iron: Adamantium is a rare mineral ore only found in meteorites. Stryker and his team decimated an African village just to obtain more.
- Title Confusion: This film has the unnecessarily lengthy title X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and is referred to simply as Wolverine by most sane people. X-Men Origins is a bit of an Artifact Title; it was originally intended to be the first of a series of prequels focusing on the backgrounds of various characters (X-Men Origins: Magneto was in the works but got lost in Development Hell). Had this happened, the title, while still long, would have at least made sense because "X-Men Origins" would be the series name and "Wolverine" would be the movie name.
- Token Good Teammate: Subverted. Wolverine was the most vocal and adamant about his disapproval of Team X's actions, but it turns out after his departure most of the rest left not long after, with only Zero and Victor staying behind. Logan simply set the example, as they realised what they had become.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The military needs to stop Wolverine, who they've made immune to almost all weapons. To stop him they have at their disposal: An incredibly skilled marksman, and adamantium bullets capable of penetrating the adamantium shell around his skull and incapacitating him. Somehow the idea that they should combine these two things doesn't seem to occur to them.
- Said marksman also thinks it's a good idea to take a jab at Wolverine when he has decided to let him live. After seeing the guy take down a helicopter.
- John Wraith, whose only power is teleportation and who thinks the best way to take down a big angry guy with claws and a huge healing factor is to punch him out.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer inadvertently revealed Weapon XI, whom Wolverine fights at the end of the film. And the toy packaging spoiled that he is Deadpool.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: The film has this at the very beginning when a black ops group of mutants cram into an elevator. And then the bad guys cut the power. Deadpan Snarker Wade Wilson makes a comment about it, of course.
- Unflinching Walk: Wolverine lights a Vapor Trail from a downed helicopter and paces calmly away from the resulting Impressive Pyrotechnics.
- Unobtanium: Adamantium comes from meteors. Specifically, sacred African meteors, making it this continuity's answer to Vibranium. Thus completing the transformation begun in the Ultimate Avengers films.
- Unstoppable Rage: Logan goes into this state as he's escaping the Weapon X facility.
- Unwitting Pawn:
- The look on Wolverine's face when Blob tells him that Stryker was performing experiments on mutants and when he realizes what led him to willingly get his brand spankin' new adamantium skeleton... priceless.
- Emma Silverfox becomes Stryker's hostage -> Kayla is forced to work for Stryker -> Kayla fakes her death as a part of their plan -> Wolverine accepts Stryker's offer to transform his bones into adamantium to avenge Kayla.
- Vapor Trail: Wolvie ignites a spark with his claws. The fire travels up the trail of fuel leaking from Agent Zero's downed helicopter. Kerflooey.
- Vehicular Assault: Wolverine takes down a helicopter (and previously a jeep).
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Victor and Jimmy's first fight is Curb-Stomp Battle in Victor's favor. Then Jimmy gets his adamantium and wipes the floor with Victor.
- Villainous Rescue: The film has Sabretooth saving Logan, because "Nobody gets to kill you but me!"
- We Used to Be Friends:
- The film details the relationship between James Howlett (Wolverine) and Victor Creed (Sabretooth), who are half-brothers. They were Bash Brothers to the very end until Victor's sociopathy goes off the deep end and causes James to lose his connection with Victor.
- Victor also kills his old teammates.
- What Are You: A shocked and disgusted Elizabeth Howlett directs this question to her son James, who has just sprouted bone claws.