AWFJ Women On Film – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – Susan Granger reviews

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It’s obvious that the creators of this comic-book fantasy believe fans have been riddled with curiosity about what made a conflicted man named James Logan into Wolverine, Marvel’s angriest mutant superhero. So they’re offering explanations, if not answers.

Back in 1845 in Canada’s Northwest Territories, young Jim Logan (Hugh Jackman) discovers that when he becomes furious, his hands sprout retractable bone-claws; not surprisingly, his brawling, older half-brother, Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), has similar, but different powers. Realizing they’re ageless and indestructible, the beastly boys run off to fight in the American Civil War, both World Wars and Vietnam. And they’re recruited by unscrupulous Maj. William Stryker (Danny Huston) to form Team X, functioning as ‘secret’ weapons for the U.S. Government, along with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), John Wraith (Will.i.am) and Fred J. Dukes (Kevin Durand).

But in Namibia, Logan rebels and takes off to become a lumberjack in the Canadian wilderness, setting up idyllic housekeeping on a remote mountain top with Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins), a storytelling schoolmarm. When Victor (now Sabretooth) hunts him down and kills Kayla in a rampage, Logan yowls revenge and agrees to Stryker’s ‘experiment’ to adhere ‘adamanitum’ alloy to his skeleton. But when he realizes Stryker also intends to erase his memory, he bursts from captivity and frees other captured mutants to join what will become Patrick Stewart’s opposing forces.

Taking a brawny bite out of the “Australia” debacle, Hugh Jackman gives good growl to Liev Schreiber’s snarl, both actors rising above the confusing, cliché-riddled script by David Beniff (“The Kite Runner”) and Skip Woods (“Swordfish”), directed frenetically by South Africa’s Gavin Hood (“Rendition,” “Tsotsi”). In addition, the digital effects are not only boring but repetitious, particularly in the New Orleans sequence. Even the climactic fight at Three Mile Island, which is where Stryker has been hiding mutants, is banal and quite uninspiring for a popcorn picture.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is an inconsistent, surly 6, filled with superfluous sound ‘n’ fury but signifying very little.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.