X-Men Origins: Wolverine


Reviewed by: Maria Realf

X-Men: Origins
"Despite the strong cast and some slick fight scenes, one thing the film does lack is a grand-scale battle between rival groups of mutants."

Once upon a time, it was enough for action heroes to have big muscles, some witty one-liners and a way with the ladies. Now, it seems that suave smoothies are out and vengeful, tormented types are in, as evidenced by Bourne, Bond, Batman and co. It’s fortunate, then, that the troubled Wolverine slots so well into this category, proving to be as brooding - and as lethal - as the best of them.

Gavin Hood's much-anticipated prequel is the darkest X-Men offering so far, filled with moments of underlying menace and its fair share of comic-book violence. Though we see a glimpse of Wolverine's softer side courtesy of Jean Grey lookalike Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins), the film mainly focuses on his turbulent relationship with Victor Creed/Sabretooth, his half-brother turned sworn enemy. (And yes, we finally find out more about those famous adamantium claws.)

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With its character-driven storyline and stylized action sequences, the movie shouldn't disappoint fans of the franchise. As the titular hero, Hugh Jackman is in fine form - both dramatically and physically (in fact, he looks so ruggedly good for his age you have to wonder if he's got some kind of mutant handsome gene). Liev Schreiber also puts in a convincing performance as the sinister Sabretooth, though an amusing Ryan Reynolds is woefully underused in the role of Wade Wilson.

Despite the strong cast and some slick fight scenes, one thing the film does lack is a grand-scale battle between rival groups of mutants. Unlike the previous X-Men releases, which were very much an ensemble effort, this feels largely like a two-man show. And however thrilling it is to watch Wolverine scrap it out with Sabretooth, it's hard to feel the tension when you know that a) both characters can heal themselves and b) they obviously survive as they're in the original movie.

It also has to be said that some of the superpowers on display are not the most exciting we've ever seen, either. For example, there's Sabretooth with his crusty claws, a Black Eyed Pea with teleportation abilities, the overweight Blob, and a chap who can power up lightbulbs (no batteries required). Admittedly it might help bring down your leccy bills, but it's not exactly going to win Britain's Got Talent.

These are minor gripes, though; overall, this is an enjoyable, eye-catching piece of popcorn entertainment. And you certainly don’t need a superhuman sixth sense to know that it'll be a huge hit at the box-office.

Reviewed on: 04 May 2009
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An exploration of the origins of X-men mutant Wolverine.
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Read more X-Men Origins: Wolverine reviews:

Anton Bitel ***1/2
Stephen Carty **1/2
Donald Munro **

Director: Gavin Hood

Writer: David Benioff, Skip Woods

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.I.Am, Lynn Collins, Kevin Durand, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney, Ryan Reynolds, Scott Adkins, Tim Pocock, Julia Blake, Max Cullen, Tahyna Tozzi

Year: 2009

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: Australia, US, Canada


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