In 1845, the future Wolverine is a young Canadian boy named Jimmy Howlett, with a half-brother Victor from his mothers first husband. That husband barges into the house drunk and murders Jimmys father, causing him to fly into such a rage that bone claws emerge from his fists and he kills the man, who reveals hes actually Jimmys father too as he dies. Jimmy and Victor both escape as the police arrive.
Over more than a century, the brothers healing ability allows them virtual immortality as they fight in numerous wars together. In Vietnam, Victor kills another soldier, and Jimmys defense of him gets them both assigned to be executed, only for them to both heal again and be put in prison. Theyre recruited by William Stryker for a special ops team with fellow mutants the teleporter John Wraith, indestructible Fred Dukes, and electricity-controlling Chris Bradley, plus expert soldiers Wade Wilson and Agent Zero. The team tracks an adamantium meteorite to a poor African village, where the others willingness to kill innocent people causes Jimmy to walk away in disgust.
Six years later, Jimmy has taken the name Logan and is working as a lumberjack in the Canadian Rockies, living with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox. Stryker tracks him down and tells him Wade and Bradley have been killed, and the rest of the team is in danger. Logan declines the offer to help, and that night Kayla tells him a legend about a spirit who lost his lover forever, named Wolverine.
The next day, Kayla is approached by Victor, the murder culprit, and Logan soon finds her dead body. He confronts Victor but is easily defeated, and even has his claws stomped off. Stryker returns and reveals he found more adamantium, and is now running experiments with it. Logan agrees to have it bonded to his skeleton as the only way he can defeat Victor, and undergoes the tortuous process, also taking the name Wolverine in tribute to Kayla. Afterwards, he hears Stryker discussing erasing his memory and breaks out, discovering his new adamantium claws.
Wolverine heads to a farmhouse where he befriends the elderly couple who live there, only for them to be killed by Zero to get to him. He breaks out and kills all the soldiers, then tells Stryker over the radio hes coming for him before blowing Zero up. He hooks back up with Wraith and Dukes, the latter having gained a huge amount of weight to become The Blob. They reveal that Stryker is kidnapping mutants to an island for experiments to combine their powers, and Victor is actually working for him, with Kaylas murder being staged to get him to agree to the experiment. Only one mutant has escaped, Remy Gambit Le Beau.
Wolverine and Wraith track Gambit down, but Victor follows and kills Wraith by predicting where hes about to teleport. Gambit assumes theyre both there to take him back and interrupts their fight, allowing Victor to get away, but Wolverine convinces him theyre on the same side and Gambit agrees to take him to Strykers base on Three Mile Island.
Wolverine breaks into the base, but Stryker reveals that Kayla was actually working for him and is still alive, as her sister Emma Frost is one of his subjects. He again fights with Victor but refuses to kill him due to Kaylas influence. They free all the imprisoned mutants, but then they run into a still alive Wade, whos been the subject of all the combined mutant powers. The other mutants run in another direction, where Emma and a teenage Cyclops fight off Strykers men before meeting Xavier outside, who invites them to come with him.
Wade uses all his new powers to easily dominate Wolverine, but then Victor joins the fight and together theyre able to get Wade in a position where Wolverine can cut his head off. The dying head still blasts a swath through the power plant with Cyclops power, causing the notorious nuclear incident. Wolverine declares this doesnt change things between them, and Victor runs off to eventually become Sabretooth. Wolverine then finds a mortally wounded Kayla, but before they can leave Stryker shoots him in the head with an adamantium bullet. Kayla uses her own mind control power to make Stryker walk away until your feet bleed, and Wolverine wakes up with no memory and his dog tags showing the names Logan and Wolverine as the only clue to his identity. He escapes as the authorities arrive to begin his search for answers.
The Stinger: A still living Wade has his body reunited with his head, and looks directly at the camera as he shushes the audience.