Film Review

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Durand
Rating: ***

Prequels seem to be the flavour of the season or more precisely, of the year. Starting from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, followed by Star Trek and now X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Even the upcoming Terminator Salvation is supposedly a move-away from its earlier parts, taking one back to the history of how it all started.
Though X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn’t essentially delve into the past of all the characters, as the second half of the title suggests, it mainly revolves around X-Men’s most celebrated and heroic mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). It’s his journey or so to say evolution from Logan to Wolverine. Dating back to his childhood, the film begins in 1845 Canada. The young James Logan gets united with his brother Victor Creed, who is now Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), after their father’s death, who is unknowingly killed by James himself. Both the brothers use their active mutant powers in the service of the country and grow up fighting in the American Civil War, World Wars and the Vietnam War. The bloodshed becomes unbearable for the grown up Logan, who chooses to leave his overtly aggressive brother and lead a normal lifestyle in the Canadian mountains with his beautiful girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins).
As expected, his almost perfectly grounded lifestyle is shortlived as he is tracked down by military official William Stryker (Danny Huston) and taken away to be transformed into Wolverine. X-Men Origins… sure has its dose of action and visual effects but as compared to its predecessors, this one has more drama. It explores Wolverine’s human side. In short, he is more Logan in this prequel than Wolverine. His relationship with Kayla and his demon-like brother come to the fore. For the ones, who haven’t seen the X-Men series, this part would help them get acquainted with the storyline and characters. Though not all the characters have been exposed in this one, it definitely provides a brief backgrounder about a few of them. For instance, towards the end, one comes across mutants like Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) and Weapon XI/ Deadpool (Scott Adkins). Also one of the last scenes introduces Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) inviting budding mutants into his troupe.
There comes a point when the story becomes a tad predictable and even has glimpses of Bollywood rigmarole but then what’s more important is that it keeps you hooked and entertained. Where probably it differs from Hindi films in a major way despite having clich├ęd elements, is the crisp storytelling. Director Gavin Hood efficiently manages to wrap up everything, without getting into the tedious running around the mill, in less than two hours. And the tight time frame doesn’t affect crucial aspects like detailing and fleshing out of characters.
Hugh Jackman redefines versatility with every film and he does just that with his bang-on performance in this one too. Seeing him as the roaring animal in the body of a human, with iron claws coming out of his knuckles, it is hard to believe he is the same die-hard romantic hero of flicks like Kate and Leopold and Australia. Liev Schreiber outdoes himself too with an extremely intense and powerful act. As for Danny Huston, its purely an effortless pull-off as the bad man. His body language conveys it all. If you have been an ardent fan of X-Men, you can’t miss this one! It unfolds all mysteries surrounding Wolverine, including his loss of memory. The title of the film may not be entirely justifiable but Jackman’s screen presence sure is! His dead gorgeousness keeps an interesting air floating around throughout, which makes it all the more worthwhile.


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