In A Nutshell:- Well, the ridiculously clunky title should give it away, really. How the the man himself came to be the best there is at what he does.
Opening Remarks:- If I'm honest, I didn't really have high hopes for this one. After delivering two films of great build-up then finishing it off with a right clunking stinker of epic proportions (X-Men: The Last Stand, I'm looking at you), I was reasonably convinced that this would turn out to be utter bobbins. The X-Men franchise seemed to have to have lost its way and finished itself off. Would a prequel be worth the effort?
The Good:- Hugh Jackman still makes a pretty good Wolverine which is a good job, too, as this is entirely his film. The film rattles along at a good pace, keeping you swept along without ever getting bored as it moves from set-piece to set-piece. There are some nice moments of humour from time to time and some impressively stylish action sequences - the climactic showdown between Wolverine, Sabretooth and Deadpool being probably the highlight. There are plenty of X-Men fan pleasing references and characters (oooh, look, Gambit! Emma Frost! The Blob! Silver Fox...well, alright, maybe not so much that one). It also does a creditable job of picking memorable moments out of Wolverine's comic book history and weaving them into something coherent - something that they've actually utterly failed to do in the comics.
The Bad:- Well, the fan-pleasing references seem a little too heavy-handed or occasionally wasted opportunities (other than having one of the same powers, the movie Emma Frost bears no relation to the spiky and ambiguous comics counterpart). There's also that all-pervading sense that you get with a prequel of "well, so what?". You ultimately know that Wolverine and certain other characters have to survive to make in into the following films so it robs a sense of tension which is replaced which a sense of mild curiosity. In the end, I guess the worst thing about it is that it feels fairly superfluous - if it had never been made, we'd be none the worse off for it.
Closing Remarks:- Overall, it's an enjoyable comic-book action film and an entertaining way to spend two hours if you're in the mood for some fairly undemanding action. That said, I doubt a lot of it will really stick in the mind for that long afterwards and, ultimately, if it hadn't been made, we would not have felt its loss...