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X Men Origins: Wolverine movie poster

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will i Am, Lynn Collins, Ryan Reynolds

Released by: 20th Century Fox

In Short: The X-Men prequel lives up to the hype, thanks to well-realized characters and stunning action sequences.    
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Flawless Mutants
The X-Men Prequel Grips. And slashes.

This latest installment of the X-Men series had a history even before it arrived in theaters, what with reports of video piracy and a Hugh Jackman nude scene. Thankfully the film lives up the hype, and then some.

The ungainly title indicates that this is a prequel, and in case you missed the other movies in this blockbuster series, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not a bad place to start. X-men (and X-women) are mutants with unique powers. A sampling is impossible leaping and bounding, de- and rematerializing, shooting penetrating rays from their eyes and, in the case of Logan (Jackman), blade-like claws that unsheathe from the knuckles of his hands.

Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

After being tricked into joining a gang of mutants that uses its powers for evil, the fundamentally decent Logan drops out and becomes a lumberjack, living in the Canadian Rockies with a schoolteacher wife (Lynn Collins). The gang tracks him down, led by the taloned and menacing Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber—he's become quite the specialist in menacing) and Army Colonel Stryker (Danny Huston), who intends to transform Logan into an indestructible fighting machine, by bonding the metal alloy adamantium to his bones. Code name: Wolverine.

If you’re thinking "sounds too comic-booky," don't. The story is so solid that the techno-geek details only add credibility. Action scenes are as hard-charging as you’d expect, but director Gavin Hood also gives respite to show Logan’s pathos and allow us to view him as more than just a comic book character. Sure, stuff blows up (eye-poppingly so), but it's in the service of something bigger: a message, powerful but not preachy, about revenge, belonging, and the nature of man versus the nature of nature. Oh, and yes, there is that nude scene.

As moviemaking, and as a morality tale, this is one class act.

Reviewed by Andrew Bender

PKR040909 (Updated: 06/06/13 JDM)

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