Posted at 4:00 PM on May 1, 2009
by Euan Kerr
The first 10 minutes or so of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" are pretty good. We witness the first hundred years or so of Jimmy Howlett's life. He roams the major conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries with his friend Victor Creed, who has similar superhuman powers.
They share an ability to heal from almost any wound almost instantly, and to grow huge claws in seconds, (Jimmy from his knuckles and Victor from his fingers.)
But just as a few raindrops arrive before a downpour, little questions begin dropping from the sky. Why do they keep fighting? Why doesn't anyone notice these two guys are well nigh immortal, and that Victor drops on all fours to run into battle? Don't they think it strange when Victor and Jimmy, (who becomes Logan somehow along the way,) survive a firing squad?
Then it really goes downhill.
While it's no secret that action films are designed around the fight and chase sequences, Wolverine's plot is so predictable while also making so little sense it is more akin to watching pro wrestling than a developing story.
This is the world of the superhero, and logic necessarily is a little different in this alternate reality. Sadly there's just a limp noodle of causation behind this script. All the way through superhumans who keep pounding on one another even though they know they can't really hurt each other.
On top of that the dialog script seems to have been written under an edict to include every single comic book cliche ever penned. It's hard to care about any of it.
On the plus side there are some cool special effects, and scenes in the Rockies look spectacular. Hugh Jackman has his moments as Jimmy/Logan/Wolverine, although he seems to be channeling Clint Eastwood in full Dirty Harry mode. Liev Schreiber as Victor has the same easy menace he displayed in "Defiance."
If only director Gavin Hood had made more use of them.