April 19, 2010

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Gavin Hood, 2009)

WHAT IT IS: James Howlett AKA Logan AKA Wolverine, the most popular of Marvel's X-Men, gets his origins told, with a few notable appearances by identifiable X-Men characters.

HOW IT IS: As action films go, Wolverine isn't so bad. It sets up the character's motivation well and establishes a diverse group of supporting characters for sequels to play around with. You also get an inkling of Wolverine's passionate character and what makes him so good at what he does. Gavin Hood's direction is mostly adequate, even surprisingly good at times.

But, it could certainly be argued that the movie never dares to go far enough, either into the depiction of Wolverine's savage nature or into the supporting cast. Most, like Will-I-Am's John Wraith are reduced to plot tools, like bread crumbs leading Wolverine to the end confrontation. The mutants introduced are corny, while some situations are awkward and/or very predictable. Some will remember that Tsotsi, Gavin Hood's Oscar-winning South-African film, suffered from the same simplifications.

Regrettably, Wolverine, weighted down by studio interference and a sub-par director, is instantly forgettable and doesn't begin to live up to the legendary character it tries to portray.

IF YOU LIKE: Mindless blockbusters, Dolph Lundgren/JCVD films, Marvel.