X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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The ViewDunedin Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/04/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 111 mins

Enjoyable comic book thrills with superb action set pieces, strong performances and more than enough mutant superpower action to keep fans happy.

What's it all about?
In true superhero origin fashion X-Men Origins: Wolverine begins in Canada in 1849 when young James Howlett (Troye Sivan, then Hugh Jackman) suddenly sprouts bone-like claws. An ensuing tragedy leads to him going on the run with his newly discovered brother Victor Creed (Michael James Olsen, then Liev Schreiber), and over the years neither man seems to age very much, fighting side by side through at least four wars. After Vietnam they're recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston), along with other special powered mercenaries, and sent on a series of missions; however, Victor's insatiable bloodlust sickens James, now called Logan, and he eventually leaves the group.

Six years later, Logan has seemingly found peace, working as a lumberjack and living with beautiful schoolteacher Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). However, when tragedy strikes (again), Logan's grief and hunger for revenge leads him to Stryker, who promises to make him indestructible by fusing his skeleton with metal alloy adamantium.

The Good
It's a treat to see Jackman back in the role that made him a superstar and he doesn't disappoint, slicing things up left, right and centre and delivering several hard-as-nails one liners (‘it tickled’, is his response to being shot by a firing squad). There's also terrific work from the always excellent Danny Huston and a very growly Liev Schreiber, while there's strong support from Lynn Collins and an underused Ryan Reynolds as sword-wielding mercenary Wade Wilson.

The script pulls off the difficult trick of catering to fans whilst making things accessible for the uninitiated, though it's fair to say that the ending of the film needs to be read in context of the beginning of the first X-Men movie. In addition, there are a couple of neat surprises and comics fans will have fun playing Spot The Mutant.

The Great
Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) orchestrates some thrilling action set pieces and delivers some of the best onscreen explosions in recent memory. The effects are also generally excellent with maybe one dodgy exception involving a stark naked Jackman and a waterfall.

Worth seeing?
This is a well made, superbly acted action thriller that can hold its head up alongside the first two X-Men movies. Recommended.

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Content updated: 26/02/2018 14:36

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