X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Rated 2.0

How did it all start for Marvel Comics’ beloved razor-clawed mutant badass? Just when, exactly, did he “become the animal,” to borrow one associate’s phrase, and how much by choice? Perhaps most importantly, under what thrilling circumstances was he first seen from above howling his grief into the sky, or walking away undisturbed from a slow-motion explosion? Director Gavin Hood, with screenwriters David Benioff and Skip Woods, tackles these questions as if hurrying through a checklist, or a tediously familiar, street-combat-intensive video game. As our hero, coming to terms with congenital, social and governmental peculiarities, Hugh Jackman brings his usual well-controlled display of vulnerable brutality, and Liev Schreiber, as his similarly bestial half-brother, almost makes up for all the other boring but obligatory supporting characters. It’s just too bad a movie sharp enough to rip through flesh and helicopter blades and nuclear-reactor smokestack walls has to feel so disappointingly dull.