Several points must be made right up front for the record, and they are that being good with a gun, sword, or baton is not a mutation, and that being able to do kung-fu moves all through the air is not a mutation, and that putting a finger to your temple, squeezing your eyes shut, and making whatever's bothering you stop bothering you is not a mutation unless just getting your way is a mutation. Some skills? Just human skills. A human is amazing with a baton! Humans are the best species out there at kung fu! But the real, big problem that kills X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not even this. It is that every mutation is a fighting mutation—just a plot device tailored to a crappy action movie. Whatever happened to the little kid who could turn TV channels with his eyes while he was up at night because he never needed to sleep? Sure, the great director (Bryan Singer) of X-Men and X2 could have weaponized that kid, but he didn't, he just let him exist in the parallel world that Singer used equally as an action platform and as a forum for ideas about identity in the early 21st-century West.

Wolverine brings the intelligence of the first two X-Men movies, which have been on a starvation diet since they switched directors for X-Men: The Last Stand, to a serious new level of emaciation (under director Gavin Hood). Relatedly: There is, in Wolverine, an extended, scene-long fat joke. (Fat: not a mutation.) This movie cost over 130 million dollars. As a species, we have to lift our eyes upward and ask ourselves: Whyyyyyyy?

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Admittedly, this is a Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber film, and Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber are lovely individuals to watch on a large flat-screen for a variety of reasons. However, Schreiber's wit is swallowed whole by his facial hair. Jackman has, factually speaking, not a single visible imperfection, but his kindhearted-killer character is drab (to live the "good" life, he goes to work for a clear-cutting company?), his history fighting in every war since the 1840s is reduced to a soap-opera montage, the horrific surgery he has to go through is reduced to a 30-second cosmetic procedure, and it is unclear whether he is even killable, which reduces his vulnerability considerably. This is also the sort of movie where rules that make no sense apply because the script says they do. I would like to point out that even given the circumstances I do not think that a bullet made of the indestructible metal adamantium shot into the brain of a 150-year-old wolverine person whose skull is lined with the indestructible metal adamantium would cause amnesia.

There is more! Remember Brian Cox, that evil-faced actor awesomely playing the eugenically minded American military colonel, Stryker? He has been replaced by a man resembling a penguin. And at the end of the film, Professor Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, appears and speaks two lines. Except, unless Patrick Stewart has been applying wax and sunshine to the edges of his face, this is a CGI Patrick Stewart who makes me want to kill all the mutants. Where's Cerebro when you need it? recommended

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