Review: 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

The newest installment in the X-Men series has Hugh Jackman fighting off mutants on every front.

If you have been slavering for the lowdown on how the Wolverine became the Wolverine, this is your moment. In the helpfully titled "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the fourth installment in the "X-Men" franchise, Hugh Jackman demonstrates that you can segue effortlessly from a tuxedoed song-and-dance man at the Oscars to a feral gent with adamantium claws and "berserker rage."

How does all this play out for those of us – i.e., me – who have not been staying up nights fretting over the origins of the X-Men and Women? The answer is: Fairly well. The movie, set mostly in the 1970s, follows Wolverine and his even more feral brother Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) from their young pup days through combat in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. (Apparently they skipped Korea.) And that's just in the first 10 minutes. They discover early on that they are essentially unkillable, which attracts the attention of Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston, playing the role essayed in "X2" by Brian Cox), a smarmy US military honcho who enlists the wolfish ones in a covert ops team of fellow mutants. Bad things ensue, but rest assured by movie's end Wolverine has his claws, if not his memory, intact. Grade: B

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