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May 2009

by Wilson Morales


Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Gavin Hood
Screenwriter: David Benioff
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch, Will.i.am, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, Lynn Collins


After all the hysteria regarding the bootleg work print released online, 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' is officially out in theaters. And while Jackman is the sole reason to see the film, there isn't much of a story or substance that will hold any interest. Fans of the comic book will certainly debate over the movie's unconventional plot.

Set before the 'X-Men' trilogy, filmmaker Gavin Hood wastes no time showcasing John Logan (Jackman), who displays his animalistic skills as a child before wandering off in the woods with his beastly half-brother Victor (Liev Schreiber). In a series of quick flashbacks, we see the siblings go through decades of fighting in wars and watch as both of them begin to show their true colors. While Logan doesn't like to hurt the innocent and hates the idea of killing, Victor is quite the opposite, possessing sociopathic traits that will later separate them.

On the brink of death, the men are recruited by Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston) to join his outfit of mutants for special projects. After seeing that Stryker has no use for the innocent in his quest for power, Logan quits the group until a fateful incident brings him back in the fold and he lets Stryker inject adamantium in his body. The experiment is successful, and Logan adopts the 'Wolverine' moniker. When Stryker wants to clone Logan's newfound power and be rid of him, it's Wolverine against the mutants, including his brother, for survival of the fittest.

The problem with the film is that while it's laced with plenty of action-packed scenes, there's no time to digest the storyline. Everything moves at such a rapid pace that the dialogue is easily missed. Most of Jackman's facial expressions do the talking. But by the end, we are still left wondering about his origins and the origins of other mutants in the movie. Like the other 'X-Men' films, we see plenty of characters come in and out before getting a chance to know who they are and why they are in the film. Making his big-screen debut is Black Eyes Peas member Will.i.Am, who does an adequate job in his role as teleporter John Wraith.

The comic relief in the film -- Ryan Reynolds's character and Wolverine's boxing match with Fred Dukes -- doesn't register high on the laugh meter. When Jackman isn't the center of attention, the film fails to impress. Most filmgoers will leave this movie ready to re-read the comic books or rewatch the trilogy for excitement.