There are films that touch us. Films that inspire us. Films that teach us and films that transport us. Then there are films that are made entirely to entertain us. And so begins those movies known as the summer blockbusters. Those effects driven, off the wall plot lined, never could happen in a million years flicks that kick us in our popcorn filled stomachs with adrenaline fueled action. And hopefully they give us our moneys worth. This season starts smart with a well loved character and a background sown in marvel pages. That steel clawed, Gillette avoiding mutant, Wolverine.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes us back to the beginning when a set of young brothers, Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber), begin their lives as something not quite human. We see them travel the same path but to separate destinations. Victor, loving the thrill of killing and the power his mutancy brings him, compared to Logan’s conception of right and wrong and the desire to still do good in this world and live a life as normal as possible. It is only when a mad government scientist (how many of those can there be in the world) threatens the woman he loves that Logan fully engages his inner Wolverine and becomes what we later see in the X-men series.

This film does exactly what you hope it would. It lets you see the origin of a familiar character but does so with stylized fight scenes and action sequences that must be viewed on the big screen to fully appreciate. They bring in all these other crazy mutants that can do all sort of wild and zany stuff. Things that as a kid you always pretended to be able to do. Even as a person who doesn’t follow the X-men (or is it X-people) I was able to follow the storyline and possibly even had a few more surprises. Granted there is probably a lot that went over my head but it didn’t matter. When you have the action that marvel films bring, ignorance can still be bliss.

Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. It is the role he will be immortalized for and one that he gives 120% effort to every time in every scene. There are things he says and faces he makes that you know have to make him cringe with embarrassment but he does them with such conviction that you can overlook the stupidity and love the character. Schreiber is always creepy and so to let him play Sabretooth was a good call. He plays him not as a comic book character but as some psycho that could easily live next door. The contrast between him and Wolverine makes for a nice on-screen dynamic. They compliment each other and that helps better define who Wolverine becomes.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is rated PG-13. This one has a darker tone and the violence though never bloody is still intense. Lots of gun play and fight sequences in the marvel comic vain. The language is mild though certainly 13-ish. You know your kid better than anyone so use your judgment with this like you would with any of the past marvel episodes. The content stays true to the genre.  And sure, you could laugh at the nonsense of most of the film but why?  It is what you would expect it to be. To try and find seriousness or validity ruins the fun. I give it 4 out of 5 “evil mad government scientist with a billion dollar budget to do mad evil things, laugh”. Certainly an intense way to kick off the summer movie season.

  Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (4/28/09) 
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Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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