“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
20th Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment
Directed by Gavin Hood
Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds, Lynn Collins, Will.i.am, Kevin Durand and Remy LeBeau
20th Century Fox was worried that the online leak of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” would mean disaster for the first big blockbuster of the summer movie season. It turns out that there was no need to fret about the leak, as the film, which wasn’t screened for most critics, turned out to have a rather healthy bite at the box office this past weekend. Perhaps Fox should have spent their time worrying about the film’s quality instead, because while the film does feature plenty of action and special effects, it doesn’t come close to being anywhere as good as either of the first two films in the X-Men franchise.
Set up as an origin story, we first meet Wolverine as a young boy in 1845. He and his brother are mini-mutants, and because they’re almost impossible to kill, they grow up to be super-soldiers in the Civil War, as well as World Wars I and II and Vietnam. Their abilities don’t go unnoticed, which is why General Stryker (Danny Huston) recruits them to join his mutant band of soldiers, known as Team X.
After a mission in Nigeria goes astray, our hero (now played by Hugh Jackman) decides to quit the team and shack up with a Canadian school teacher. His brother (now played by Liev Schreiber) feels betrayed, so he kills the schoolteacher, and thus sets up a blood feud between the two brothers. Hoping to get the upper hand (claw?), Wolverine agrees to allow Stryker to fuse adamantium metal to his bones, not realizing that Stryker has devious plans for the new super-mutant.
It’s all very traumatic, but quite honestly, not all that interesting—especially since much of this back story was revealed in earlier movies. The blood feud is a nice touch, and Schreiber brings an effective animal menace to his role, but the resulting confrontations don’t ever really pop off the screen. Sure, the action is big and bold, but very few of the fight sequences register as something truly memorable.
The same holds true for the supporting cast. It almost seems as if the filmmakers were auditioning characters for the next “X-Men Origins” story. We meet Wraith (Will.i.am), the Blob (Kevin Durand), Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and the ever-popular Gambit (Remy LeBeau), but none of them have enough screen time to truly pop. The truth is that the parade of mutants adds very little other than time to a movie that already feels a bit bloated.
So “Wolverine” ends up being a bit long, with somewhat generic action sequences and too many characters to really care about. It’s not boring, and certainly not a big screen bomb, but the filmmakers would have been better served if they’d spent their time sharpening Wolverine’s cinematic claws, rather than worrying about an online leak.
Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and weekly on KFDM-TV. You can also follow Seanthemovie guy on Twitter. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
“300” Sequel gets a second chance for glory
“300: Rise of an Empire”
Warner Brothers Films
Directed by Noam Murrow
Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Heady, Hans Matheson, Igal Naor, Andrew Plevin and Rodrigo Santo
2 ½ Stars
- Idina Menzel, ’Frozen’ heat up pop charts
’12 Years a Slave’ rises up at Academy Awards
Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
Steve McQueen’s slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry’s virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner “Gone With the Wind.” “12 Years a Slave” is the first best-picture winner directed by a black filmmaker.
- “RoboCop” lacks spark of life
Shirley Temple, iconic child star, dies at 85
Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.
- Olympic Viewing: Who’s reading lips?
'Lego Movie' snaps together for a lot of fun
“The Lego Movie”
Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day, Alison Brie and Liam Neeson
- Cable merger future-proofs against Internet’s rise
- So many Grammy moments to keep you glued to tube
- NY Aquarium moves walrus to Texas during repairs
- More Entertainment Headlines
- “300” Sequel gets a second chance for glory