Having scuttled any earnest attempt at biography, X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s approach is shorthand and heavy-handed. Like Wolverine himself, it operates without clarity or rules. In this universe, he’s indestructible; Jackman can walk through a fire without singeing his hair. But the film acts like we have amnesia, spraying bullets at him in every scene as though their panicked pings will confuse us into feeling suspense.
Absentmindedness rules the day. In the scene where Wolverine is implanted with adamantium, we have several shots of him in his black skivvies, but when he leaps up to fight his way to freedom, he’s as bare-assed as a freshly time-transplanted T-1000—so much the swoonier for jumping off a waterfall. Jackman has a deft touch, but here he acts with his trapezius. This film fetishizes a thick set of shoulders like they were Jayne Mansfield’s chest. Hood’s flick is a testosterone soap opera plated with allusions—an Iraq War dig here, a Holocaust and Red Scare reference there. This modern superhero burden felt fresh when the first X-Men took on bigotry, but here is used so indiscriminately that it cheapens the film and the true-life parallel atrocity. Instead of rescuing the world, I wish this film would have rescued its script.