DVD review: X-men Origins: Wolverine

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X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009). Hardly a lazy sequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine contains a couple of nifty narrative surprises as well as some memorable tensions between its mutant players. Overall, though, it’s hard to view this as an integral entry in the X-Men franchise. That’s not to say it’s as irrelevant as, say, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but part of Wolverine’s appeal has always been his aura of mystery, and an origin piece only works to strip him of that secrecy. Besides, the movie’s occasional clumsiness in laying out the expository groundwork ends up batting against its own intentions, which makes the picture seem even more trifling. Having said that, it’s apparent that this isn’t the disaster many speculated it would be, especially on the heels of bad Internet buzz and that infamous download that left FOX executives outfoxed. As expected, the picture’s chief selling point is Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, even if the story line largely harnesses his considerable talents: He’s an excellent brooder, but brooding’s about all that the film requires him to do. As Victor Creed (later Sabretooth), Liev Schreiber is believable as both Logan’s brother and his tormentor, while Danny Huston, as Stryker, proves to be as fascistic a villain as Brian Cox when he tackled the role in X2. Ryan Reynolds adds some necessary sparkle as the wisecracking Deadpool, and I just wish he had been handed the more sizable role of Gambit instead (as the latter, mediocre Taylor Kitsch lives up to his surname). Other actors express what’s required of them — it’s often rage or regret, although mostly it’s just frozen stares at the blue-screen areas where the special effects were inserted at a later time.

DVD extras include audio commentary by director Gavin Hood; separate audio commentary by producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter; an interesting 16-minute conversation between X-Men co-creator Len Wein and the legendary Stan Lee; a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette; and 10 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes.

Movie: **1/2

Extras: ***

Read the full-length review of the film here.


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