Thursday, July 22, 2010
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009). Director: Gavin Hood.
Following the trilogy of X-Men films, this movie focuses on perhaps the group's most popular member: James Logan, AKA Wolverine. The story actually begins back in the 19th century [Logan's mutant healing factor has also given him a very long life] where Logan (Hugh Jackman), discovering his nature and his claws [see photo] as a young teen, kills the man who murdered his mother -- only to learn that he's his true father, and his cousin Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber of the Scream films] is actually his brother. The two men become warriors, fighting down through the years in everything from the Civil War to Vietnam. The story proper begins in modern times, when Colonel William Stryker (Danny Huston), offers the two mutant men a chance to use their powers as mercenaries. But Logan is sickened by the things they do on their missions, and quits, earning the "abandoned" Victor's eternal enmity [in the comics I believe this character was later known as Sabretooth]. When Logan's girlfriend (Lynn Collins) is murdered by Creed, Logan seeks revenge, and Stryker turns him into "Weapon X" by filling his skeleton with the hardest known element, adamantium. But Logan learns that Stryker is not to be trusted and breaks out on his own. Through another mutant named Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), Logan eventually discovers where Stryker is holding kidnapped young mutants, hoping to make another super-mutant weapon. He has to battle not only his hated brother, but also this new super-being in the exciting climax.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is well-acted, directed, and edited, with beautiful photography by Donald McAlpine. Some of the action scenes, stunt work, and effects are spectacular, though I imagine that people who haven't seen the previous films nor are familiar with the X-Men will follow much of what's going on. Cyclops appears [as a younger man], Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier has a cameo at the end, and there's even an appearance by Fred J. Dukes AKA the Blob (Kevin Durand) in the film's most amusing sequence.
Verdict: A lot of high-powered, noisy, intense comic book fun. ***.