starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schrieber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds
screenplay by David Benioff and Skip Woods
directed by Gavin Hood
by Walter Chaw The action sequences are bad, the plot is bad... Hugh Jackman? He's fine. Everything you might expect, in other words, from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, wherein that most popular of muties (although I always preferred Gambit, marking me as about 42% gay) receives his first official vehicle with shaky Gavin Hood at the wheel. Was it the deadening piece of shit Tsotsi or the gravid piece of shit Rendition that convinced them Hood was the right person for this gravid, deadening piece of shit? True to form, the movie is laden with misplaced gravitas, magic-hour tableaux, and awkward drivel that makes me think that of the film's two credited writers, it's Hitman/Swordfish scribe Skip Woods and not 25th Hour scribe David Benioff who took the final run at the screenplay. ("Now I know why the moon is lonely," says our macho man of action Wolvie (Jackman) at one point--and the audience howls.) It has a Watchmen opening montage following Wolvie and brother Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) through history's most picturesque battles (Trenches! Beaches! Paddies!) before they're finally enlisted by mysterious government stooge Stryker (Danny Huston), who has a plan for these and other genetic misfits. Think of it as "X-Men: Episode One", as dorks are encouraged to trainspot famous mutants in the background while the foreground gets cluttered with lots of bad dialogue, grammar-school sentimentality, and oodles of special effects.