X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Rumor has it that millions of Americans have illegally downloaded “Wolverine” and watched it for free on their home computers. I think they still overpaid.

“Wolverine” is the first big hit of the summer, but it is the worst picture I’ve seen so far this year.

The film tells the perfectly ridiculous story of two mutant brothers – Wolverine and Sabretooth – who were born in the 1830s and have been fighting for a living for nearly two centuries because they are super strong and possibly immortal.

For no good reason, Wolverine suddenly becomes a pacifist and spends the rest of the picture at odds with his increasingly militaristic brother.

“Wolverine” is a clear step down from the X-Men movies that preceded it due to its unapologetic pointlessness.

I guess director Gavin Hood was too busy planning $10 million action sequences to look this up, but the mutants are SUPPOSED to be metaphors.

The X-Men are supposed to represent members of a minority group who are born different, pushed to the fringes of society, and struggle to find dignity and purpose in a world that despises and fears them.

And I’ve never picked up a comic! I learned that from watching the first few X-Men films, which are half-way decent dramas. “Wolverine” bears virtually no resemblance to them.

The only loose connection between the good X-Men pictures and this one is the appearance of Hugh Jackman as the title character. But that hardly means anything because Wolverine has his memory erased at the conclusion of “Wolverine,” in a lazy move to disconnect this boring, brainless version of the mutant from the more sophisticated character he became in 2000’s “X-Men.”

Long story short: “Wolverine” is a stupid action prequel, with indestructible characters who won’t die no matter how hard you root for them to.

But as Bruce Willis has proven on many occasions, a stupid action flick can be transformed into a likable movie by a great leading man with the right “relax, nobody is taking this too seriously” attitude.

Hugh Jackman absolutely doesn’t save “Wolverine.” He makes the unforgivable mistake of taking the ludicrous material too seriously. The cheesy one-liners that he delivers with a sneer should have been delivered with a Schwarzenegger smirk.

I’m not a fan of Jackman’s. I’d like to tell you that he is nothing more than a silly Aussie song and dance man who only belongs on Broadway, not the cineplex. However, the truth is that Jackman is actually a strong actor with a decent amount of range.

He was perfect as a rich arrogant Englishman in Woody Allen’s over-looked “Scoop.” He was tremendous – simultaneously empathetic and contemptible – in “The Prestige.”

When Jackman is working with a great director, he is capable of great things. And that makes it even more depressing when he makes awful movies like this. His 2004 dud “Van Helsing” was perhaps the worst action movie of the entire decade. “Wolverine” is almost as bad.

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