Tuesday, January 5, 2010

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. C+

The first half or so of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' is surprisingly prudent. We witness Wolverine's (played once again by Hugh Jackman) early days in a sloppy but entertaining montage. After a bitter confrontation with his sinister half-brother Victor, Logan flees to Canada where he works for a tree company. He lives in a small cabin with his girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox. His life is peaceful and happy. Yet it's evident that this easygoing lifestyle, as much as it fits Logan, will not last forever. And sure enough, William Stryker (Danny Huston) contacts Logan informing him that two mutants have been killed. Then Victor arrives and kills Kayla and runs off. At this point the movie begins to lose its intrigue and the script gets sloppy as the story basically becomes yet another revenge thriller that we've seen countless times before. This is a very misguided film. I think the more thoughtful approach in the first half of the movie is attributed to director Gavin Hood's skill with dramatic pieces (his previous works include 'Tsotsi' and 'Rendition'). But when the story shifts gears and becomes a high-octane action picture, Hood's lack of experience with this type of entertainment is clearly evident. Everything is direly staged and entirely congested with poor editing and CGI. Coming in at just over 100 minutes, 'Wolverine' is too short for the story it's trying to tell. After Kayla dies, the movie felt like a mad rush to the finish line, futilely trying to introduce multiple new characters amidst all the action. I think a more drawn out approach would have suited it better. Though not nearly as good as Bryan Singer's first two 'X-Men' pictures, 'Wolverine' is at least equal to 'The Last Stand.' But that's not exactly a good thing. Still, it could have been worse.

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