ACTION; 1hr 43min
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds, Will.i.am, Lynn Collins
The ties that bind: from left, Jackman and Schreiber
James Howlett (Jackman), aka Logan, aka Wolverine, and Victor Creed (Schreiber), aka Sabretooth, can’t help but bring the pain. The bulletproof brothers have assets (those don’t-mess-with-me talons, that superhuman strength) and issues (that temper!). But where an uncharacteristically laidback Logan prefers to seek the refuge of a Canadian lumberjack’s life with his schoolteacher sweetie, Kayla Silverfox (Collins), Victor is a hellraising hard-ass who goes way too far.
The X-Men prequel Wolverine begins in 19th-century Canada when the brothers are boys. It gets down to business in the 1970s with the creation by the manipulative Colonel Stryker (Huston) of the indestructible, adamantium-bonded being beloved of X-factor fans. The new-gen Team X mutants are a killer look, including Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool and Will.i.am as John Wraith, teleporter and Wolverine bestie. But a glowering Jackman is the big, gym-toned ticket here and director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) keeps him on the hop with wall-to-wall brawling and stunts. The technical bells and whistles are the usual wow, but today’s audiences expect all that. They’ll be there for the revenge-bent mutant with the overgrown claws — and a mad, bad Jackman has him covered.