Or-i-gin. noun. Definition: 1. Ancestry, parentage. 2. a: rise, beginning, or derivation from a source b: the point at which something begins or rises or from which it derives; also : something that creates, causes, or gives rise to another
The X-Men franchise relies heavily on Wolverine, both the mythology of his character and the star power of the actor who plays him, Hugh Jackman. Twentieth Century Fox decided to get a jump on the prequel battle of the summer by releasing X-Men Origins: Wolverine a couple weeks before Paramount’s Star Trek, hoping to catch all the fanboys early and bring in a few of the girls too with a few bonus shots of Body Jackman along the way. While this film is certainly nowhere near as deep, textured or layered as its predecessors, Wolverine kicks off the summer in fine form and serves the franchise well.
That being said, all the meat is certainly on the screen and not in any of the dialogue or the plot. But that’s ok. Hugh Jackman won our hearts and became a star as Wolverine because he scowls with the best of them and has a physique that would make James Bond envious. Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten lately that Jackman can actually act (his last picture, Australia, was so bad the country is thinking about changing its name). [Side note: If you only know Jackman as Wolverine (or as an Oscar host), I urge you to rent The Prestige, which is an amazing film which will make you see and appreciate him as an actor, not just a pretty hunk.] But, unfortunately, much like Australia, Jackman isn’t given much to do here, acting-wise (he certainly masters Wolverine’s three emotions of angry, angrier and REALLY angry) and, like Al Pacino in the disasterous 88 Minutes, the performance almost becomes more about the hair than anything else.
And yet, I still liked it. Yes, the script is riddled with clichés. Yes, it’s predictable and yes, the dialogue is often silly, but again, it stays true to its origins and tells the story of who Wolverine is, where he comes from and how he arrives at the point where we first met him in the original X-Men movie. No, it may not be a great, dark, complicated and textured story like Batman Begins, but, to be honest, they can’t all be, and they don’t all have to be. Because, to be honest, with Hugh Jackman, you can do a lot of bluffing.
The rest of the actors are also top-rate, especially Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston and the production values are solid. There’s nothing truly eye-popping about any of the stunts or the action sequences, but there’s nothing eye-rolling either. This is a solid effort and a worthwhile way to spend a summer afternoon, especially if you are a fan of Wolverine, the X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman, or tanktops.