Stargazing

'Wolverine' review: Not a purist's delight

The reviews are streaming in for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which we'd bet money will be the weekend's No. 1 movie.

Here's what Trevan McGee, Web producer for Ink magazine, has to stay.

Read more of Trevan's stuff here.

Plot: The fourth movie from the “X-Men” franchise follows Logan on his journey from young boy with unknown powers to the events that lead up to “X-Men.” He meets several mutants new and old, including a young Gambit and an even younger Cyclops.

You have two ways to watch “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”:

1) As a comic book fan, with at least a loose understanding of the character and his complicated, redundant mythology.

2) As an action-movie fan, ready for the summer season of rapid-fire editing, crunchy guitar rock and hundreds of ’plosions.

In the end it doesn’t matter how you view the new

Hugh Jackman

vehicle — either way disappoints.

Jackman reprises his role as the film’s namesake Canadian berserker as he and brother Victor Creed (

Liev Schreiber

) come into their mutant powers and migrate from the north to the United States. There they fight in every war the country has waged since 1861. Eventually something breaks in Creed and he begins slaughtering humans, including his commanding officer. This leads to a trial and execution by firing squad (they still do those?), which has no effect on the two mutants.

All of that happens in the title sequence.

Note to fanboys and fangirls: Do not go into “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” expecting it to follow more than a semblance of the character’s history. Elements of the character’s legacy appear, but the movie bends over backward trying to inject as many cameos and secondary characters into the movie as possible. The mutants invented for the movie are uninspired and boring, although it is funny to watch

Will.i.am

run around in snakeskin cowboy gear as Wolverine’s sidekick.

While all that may frustrate purists, if “Wolverine” makes for an entertaining movie, so be it. Unfortunately, the creative liberties are the least of Wolverine’s problems. Action scenes end up poorly handled and awkward, save the helicopter sequence, which TV spots and trailers have all but spoiled. The plot doesn’t make complete sense, especially once the villain’s master plan emerges.The biggest problem with “Wolverine” isn’t that it’s a bad action movie — which it is — but that it’s a self-serious bad action movie.

Some scenes are so cliched they’re funny. On three occasions, a major character looks angrily to the heavens and shouts “Nooooooo” without irony or self-awareness. In one scene, Wolverine pulls a trick from the Bugs Bunny Handbook by chopping down a ladder link by link to get closer to an adversary. In another, he has to box an old partner to get information he could have gotten just as easily by threatening him, which he does eventually. The climactic final encounter between Creed and Wolverine doesn’t follow logic. Why are they teaming up? It is fairly climactic, though, atop a nuclear smokestack on Three Mile Island.

Jackman and Schreiber provide the film’s only shining spots. Jackman, who also produced the film, gives his all. He lends credence even to the more ridiculous lines in

David Benioff Skip Woods

’ clumsy script. Likewise, Schreiber lands Creed between wild animal and something far more cunning.

But both actors’ talents go to waste. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” fails to connect with audiences. Comic book nerds who expect a dorky Christmas of comic book references and inside jokes will come away disappointed, as will people who seek a solid, energetic action movie that delivers exciting experiences one after another.

It’s too soon to tell whether the summer will produce better movies, but the smart money’s on yes. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” sets the bar pretty low.

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