X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the fourth movie in the X-Men franchise, gets the honor of leading off 2009’s summer blockbuster schedule. Unfortunately, it strikes out looking.

“Wolverine” fails at its goal to provide an interesting backstory for one of the most popular characters in comic book history.

The movie begins in 1845 as Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (aka Sabretooth, played by Liev Schreiber) are two mutant half-brothers on the run after the murder of their father. After an opening credits montage that shows them fighting in several historic wars throughout time, the brothers are recruited to join an elite team of mutants, lead by William Stryker (Danny Huston). Logan is fed up with the team’s brutal tactics and quits, moving to Canada where he becomes a lumberjack and falls for Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Of course Logan can’t hide for long, as Stryker finds him; so does an angry Victor, feeling betrayed and abandoned.

Following the story of alliances, conspiracies and ulterior motives can be confusing, especially if you aren’t a diehard fan of the comics. It’s all flung together like a cheesy soap opera plot with tons of action.

Stryker and Victor never exude a menacing aura as the movie’s villains. Stryker never felt like a genuine threat because his character is badly written. As great as Liev Schreiber is at delivering his lines with that creepy grin, there was no way to think that sabretooth stood a chance against Wolverine’s claws.

The biggest disappointment was the lack of effort put into the action scenes and special effects. In some scenes you can tell a green screen is used. Once Wolverine is injected with the adamantium, his claws look over-the-top fake at times; watch the bathroom scene to know what I mean.

One character who appears near the end (I won’t ruin it for you), I wasn’t sure if it was the original actor or a stand-in; the special effects were that bad. I guess once the unfinished version of the movie was leaked, producers felt they didn’t have to try and impress us anymore.

This movie isn’t as good as it should be. There’s nothing remarkable about Wolverine. The story and the action aren’t worth remembering. Even the appearance of many familiar mutants, including Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and the great Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) solicits nothing more than a “meh,” because their roles are so small.

There was no question that Hugh Jackman would rock once again as Wolverine, and he did so masterfully. I’m putting Liev Schreiber up there as well, since he was great given the material he had to work with.

There are a couple of brief extra scenes during the closing credits. But like the audience’s reaction to those final scenes, the overall question about Wolverine is “What was the point in making this movie in the first place?”

Kary Bowser is a producer for the Matt & Ramona radio show (107.9, The Link). Read more of Kary’s reviews at kbowser.wordpress.com. Email: kbowser@mattandramona.com.

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