The hype is over. The controversy over leaked workprints is over. And, yes, our Wolverine Week is over. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is in theaters nationwide today, and despite mixed reviews expect fans wearing toy claws in honor of their hero, as played by Hugh Jackman, to crowd multiplexes this weekend. Our Brian Truitt has followed the making of this fourth X-Men movie and was the reporter with all the interviews this week. He went to a screening here in Washington, D.C. last night to see if it lived up to expectation. Click read more for his thoughts on what may be the summer’s first big blockbuster.
Photos by James Fisher
I found the first two X-Men films top-notch (the third one, not so much), and Jackman’s portrayal of the mutton-chopped wonder was a highlight of both. He may not look the part of the runtish comic character, but as far as Wolverine's nasty streak and berserker rage go, Jackman has the acting chops necessary and they are in full effect for this fourth action-packed vehicle.
Wolverine moves at a quick clip, and exposition and plot take a backseat to over-the-top, claw-ripping goodness — as they arguably should in a comic-book movie about a character who slices first and asks questions later. Wolverine purists may not be appeased by the entire story, which takes the hard-luck superhero (also known as Logan) through childhood tragedy and plenty of war (shown in a fantastic opening-credits sequence) side-by-side his half brother, Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth (played with scenery-chewing enthusiasm by Liev Schreiber). These two siblings go their separate ways after a special-forces operation gone wrong, and years later, people close to Logan, including his girlfriend (Lynn Collins), start winding up dead. Well, that just won’t do, so Logan lets his former military leader, the determined yet shifty William Stryker (Danny Huston), to inject him with a super-duper metal called Adamantium to fortify his skeleton. Thus weaponized with indestructible bones and sharp blades coming out of his hands, Logan channels his innermost primal nature and meets quite a few fellow mutants on his way to the end showdown with the man responsible for much of his pain.
Like the other X-Men flicks (and this movie does tie into those, better than one would think), Wolverine is full of excellent appearances from comic favorites, including the mutant street hustler Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), talkative mercenary Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds, with way too little screen time) and even the rotund warrior Blob (Kevin Durand). Probably the weakest part of the movie is that we don’t see some of these ancillary dudes enough. Once the ending credits rolled, I couldn’t wait for a Deadpool movie. And sure, Jackman can come along, too.