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Hugh Jackman Returns As Wolverine


Whether run by wind, solar, or plain old fossil fuel, movie theaters are plugged into the electric grid and cranking up the latest comic book movie, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: Whatever you do, you don't want to make Wolverine mad. First comes that God-awful Earth-shattering scream.

(Soundbite of scream)

TURAN: Then those indestructible claws pop out of his hands, all leading to a display of what the fans call berserker rage.

Believe me, it's not a pretty picture. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" explains how Hugh Jackman came to be the intensely masculine poster boy for Marvel comics' favorite band of mutants.

(Soundbite of movie, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine")

Mr. DANNY HUSTON (Actor): (As Colonel William Stryker) We're going to make you indestructible, but first we're going to have to destroy you.

TURAN: That's the nefarious Colonel Stryker talking up his plan to make Wolverine invulnerable.

(Soundbite of movie, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine")

Mr. HUSTON: (As Stryker) You will be able to withstand virtually anything. It's called adamantium. You're going to have to embrace the other side, become the animal.

Mr. HUGH JACKMAN (Actor): (As Logan) Let's do this.

TURAN: This is not the urbane debonair Hugh Jackman who hosted the Oscars and did a soft shoe routine with Beyonce. Or is it?

For as fans know, Wolverine is one conflicted dude. Yes, he gets mad. Hey, don't we all? But then he feels bad about it afterwards and worries that trying to take someone's head off is a bad thing to do.

"X-Men Origins" is a solid, efficient comic book movie that is content to provide action-heavy comic book satisfactions. If it doesn't rise to the heights of Christopher Nolan's Batman films, it doesn't stray into super-lame Daredevil territory either.

Liev Schreiber plays Wolverine's even angrier half-brother Sabretooth. Don't ask. And he and Jackman are both fine actors who throw themselves into whatever they take on, whether it be Chekhov or comic books.

Director Gavin Hood, best known for his Oscar-winning South African film "Tsoti," came to this job without Hollywood blockbuster experience. Even so, all the explosions manage to go off on time, which in a film like this is all that really matters.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times, and there are many more movie reviews at our Web site npr.org, including the new film from Jim Jarmusch, "Limits of Control." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.