What Happened Next?
by Betty Jo Tucker
When X-Men Origins: Wolverine ended, I whispered to my husband, вЂњAnd then what happened?вЂќ — which proves this movie definitely had me hooked and eager for another chapter ofВ WolverineвЂ™s history. Granted, IвЂ™m an avid Hugh Jackman fan more than an X-Men groupie, and Origins boasts lots of great sequences showing Jackman in all his glory. But it also excels in character and story development, especially during the first part of the film.
Jackman takes full opportunity to display his considerable animal magnetism again as Logan, a mutant with retractable claws that appear under times of great stress, who first came to U.S. moviegoersвЂ™ attention in the original X-Men film. He also gets a chance to show LoganвЂ™s tender side — before becoming the indestructible Wolverine — in lovely scenes with Lynn Collins (Bug). And Jackman impresses as a sibling outraged by the actions of his older brother, Victor, played by Liev Schrieber (The Omen) in his most intense film performance to date.
Tracing LoganвЂ™s history back though time, this exciting prequel presents a montage of the many wars he and his brother took part in. Finally, Logan becomes disgusted with all the carnage and walks away from it, which doesnвЂ™t sit well with Victor nor with William Stryker (Danny Huston, almost as menacing here as in 30 Days of Night), a military commander experimenting with mutants as soldiers. After settling down for a long peaceful life with Kayla (Collins), an act of horrific violence sends our hero on a mission of revenge. In the process, he undergoes replacement of his body structure with a powerful metal — and voila! — deadly new claws materialize right before our eyes.
How Logan assumes the name of вЂњWolverineвЂќ and deals with his brother plus the ambitious Stryker forms the second part of the film. Action galore kicks in, and Jackman seems up for it indeed. His work-out sessions certainly paid off — as shown in WolverineвЂ™s many violent battles with his enemies, especially with the strong and tenacious Victor.
ItвЂ™s important to remember that Wolverine started out in the X-Men series with amnesia, and Origins explains why. We also meet a few other remarkable mutants. My favorites? Wade Wilson/DeadpoolВ (Ryan Reynolds) and Remy LeBeau/ Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). Bringing super energy to their work here, both Reynolds (Definitely Maybe) and Kitsch (The Covenant) are great fun to watch. However, I wish more visual attention had been given to ReynoldsвЂ™ transformed character during the last part of the film. As is, only his eyes give him away
X-Men Origins: Wolverine emerges as a high-powered revenge movie, and that theme almost always works for me (even though IвЂ™m a pacifist — go figure). My only complaint?В It isnвЂ™t a musical. DonвЂ™t laugh. I hear Jackman was great in the stage production of Beauty and the Beast.
(Released by 20th Century Fox and rated вЂњPG-13вЂќ for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.)
For more information about this film, please go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.
Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). She teaches an online class, вЂњThe Reel Deal: Writing about MoviesвЂќ for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, вЂњMovie Addict Headquarters,вЂќ for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon. For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com