X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review
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Throughout the three X-Men movies, audiences have gotten to know Professor Charles Xavier, his nemesis, Magneto, and their band of mutants. Now, with the first of the X-Men Origins films, viewers get a closer look at Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) life before he became one of Professor Xavier’s X-Men.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells a rambling and uneven story, quickly skimming over some details (and characters) while focusing too much on others. The film opens in 1840s Canada, when James Howlett (Troye Sivian) discovered that he was different—that he had abilities that no other kids did. And after the bone-claws that grew from his hands killed his father, James and his similarly gifted older brother, Victor (Michael-James Olsen), set out on their own.

Considering that Wolverine is supposed to explain the character’s “origins,” you’d think that the film would offer more than a brief glimpse into Wolverine’s childhood. After all, the discovery (and the origin) of the character’s abilities might make for an interesting story. Not only that, but unless you’re a diehard X-Men comics fan, you probably won’t know the back story involving James and Victor’s parentage. Unfortunately, you won’t get much of the story here, either—apparently, these origins aren’t important enough—and, after just a few minutes, the opening credits roll over a montage of the brothers (who are suddenly grown yet somehow immortal) fighting side-by-side through various wars.

More than a century later, the two brothers (played as adults by Jackman and Liev Schreiber) are discovered by Major William Stryker (Danny Huston), who recruits them for his special team of soldiers. Again, viewers get just a brief glimpse of an interesting cast of supporting characters—like motor mouth mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who’s getting an Origins film of his own in 2011. And it isn’t long before James walks away, horrified by the acts that the group was asked to commit.

Just when he’s settled into life as a lumberjack, living with beautiful schoolteacher Kayla (Lynn Collins), Stryker arrives to warn him that someone’s been killing members of their old group. And when the danger strikes too close to home, he agrees to be a part of Stryker’s experiments—to become the invincible Weapon X—in order to get his revenge.

Despite its rambling and sometimes choppy storytelling, though, Wolverine tells an entertaining story about a character that comic book fans and moviegoers alike have grown to love. Along the way, there are plenty of twists to keep things interesting—and, of course, there are all kinds of earth-shattering mutant battles. Surprisingly, though (especially considering the hype and the mile-long list of special effects credits), the effects are often quite unrealistic—even distractingly so.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t the most thrilling superhero blockbuster—nor is it the most impressive—but X-Men followers and Hugh Jackman fans alike will enjoy this occasionally in-depth look at the fierce and brooding metal-clawed mutant.

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