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X-Men Obnoxious: Wolverine

Movie Title: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Wolverine fans can take heart. The primal but attractive flare of Hugh Jackman can be seen again as (who else but) Logan, “Wolverine” for the fourth installment in the X-Men series. Liev Schreiber plays an effective but less emotionally invested Victor Creed, “Sabretooth,” Logan’s half-brother and fellow mutant.

You’ll run into many mutants, almost all of them thrown in and handled with little dignity just for fighting/novelty’s sake. They include Chris Bradley, a.k.a. “Bolt” (Dominic Monaghan), who can control electricity, the expert marksman Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), and mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), an amazing swordsman who never shuts up.

The “origins” part of the title wasn’t kidding as every shred of the history of one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes is explained a little too well. The entirety of what makes Wolverine is laid out on the surface, and the way it is done, we’d rather not have known a thing. This substandard addition to the series leaves much to be desired.

In the beginning, there are enough cheesy growls to make you swear you’re watching an SNL skit—that or you’re seeing the adult equivalent of a little kid “Hulking” around the house before bedtime pretending he is the green monster on the pajamas he’s wearing. When the tides of too much testosterone lower (they never really do), you get clich├ęs, like “You ain’t from around here, are you?” and “Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.”

There’s even a compliment on a naked Wolverine’s “package size” coming from a farmer: “Cover it up with that. I don’t want you giving the old lady a heart attack.” I am presently asking myself: how many points must this movie score from here on to be able to redeem itself for having a script where an old farmer and his wife take in and feed a stray naked man who runs into their barn uninvited? They even call him “son” after he slices off part of the bathroom sink, and they give him their dead son’s jacket. It takes a lot of points to make up for trash writing—and that, dear reader, is trash writing!

Let it be said that this Wolverine does provide plenty of action-packed entertainment, boatloads of it, which is why I will share little of the story. The mutant boys Logan and Creed get discovered by the military and get to join other mutants in combat in a truly “special” Special Forces unit. Refusing to go along with morally objectionable orders, Wolverine walks away, but this puts him at odds with his more animalistic brother. The two part ways and finally clash (it is at this point that the film experiences a nosedive in appeal that it barely recovers from). Preferring a simple life in Canada with an attractive schoolteacher (Lynn Collins), all should be good for the one called Wolverine. Just guess how things go awry from there.

We are shown how Wolverine gets adamantium into his skeleton (yes, “into” his skeleton, not “onto” it.) With the adamantium actually being injected into his bones, this leaves the annoying little question of what happens with the marrow that is already inside the bones. Where does it go? And with a steal inner-skeleton, does the marrow still get the vital new red blood cells into the body? Maybe regenerative mutants can survive without red blood cells?

Commander William Stryker (Danny Huston) is a stereotypically evil but well played military commander who goes off the deep end in his quest to capitalize on mutant powers. Points go out for the extreme care taken to ensure that the plot fits in well with everything we’ve already seen in the X-men series so far. Nothing contradicts. Precise directing sees to it that Cyclops (Tim Pocock) and Wolverine don’t cross paths. These points are quickly lost, however, in a corny boxing match between The Blob (Kevin Durand) and Wolverine. My mouth dropped open.

Much to the love of the fans, Jackman aglow gives it his expected best, but robust performances on everyone's part aren’t enough to save this sub-par motion picture from its demise.

(JH)

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Grade: D+ (1 ½ star)
Rated: PG-13
Summation: Wolverine seeks to avenge the loss of his love and ends up as a target of the Mutant X Project.
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman “Logan / Wolverine,” Liev Schreiber “Victor Creed / Sabretooth,” Danny Huston “William Stryker,” Will i Am “John Wraith,” Lynn Collins “Kayla Silverfox,” Kevin Durand “Frederick J. Dukes / The Blob,” Dominic Monaghan “Chris Bradley / Bolt,” Taylor Kitsch “Remy LeBeau / Gambit,” Daniel Henney “David North / Agent Zero,” Ryan Reynolds “Wade Wilson,” Scott Adkins “Weapon XI,” Tim Pocock “Scott Summers,” Julia Blake “Heather Hudson,” Max Cullen “Travis Hudson”
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Comics

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