O.K. so maybe the 2009 summer movie season didn't start with a bang.
First off I want to say the movie was not terrible nor did it 'suck', a word I tend to use sparingly. The last time I said a movie really sucked was after I saw "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle". But on the other hand "Wolverine" was not better than "X3".
A short list of major points: It was kind of slow in parts, you don't really care about the romance Logan has with his Canadian girlfriend, and the special effects, in a few spots, seemed straight out of a video game. Or at the very least, a mid-budget Sci-Fi Channel show. You can see that the studio is trying to build another X-Men 'team' franchise by adding so many other prominent mutants to the story. Having just Wolverine opposing one main villain or mutant probably would not have been enough. However, some of the other mutants who were being hailed as major players in this movie have minimal screen time. Ryan Reynolds' character, Deadpool, who I really enjoyed and wanted to see more of, is only on screen for four minutes. Gambit, one of the big draws and drool factors for hardcore fans, was only in the movie for eight minutes. I admit that I really didn't have a stake in either Deadpool or Gambit, so the changes they made to how these characters were portrayed or their ultimate fates dealt with, did not bother me.
The opening montage sets up that our two main opponents, Logan and Victor, are brothers, and that they have incredible healing powers. But the filmmakers rely on your knowledge (a bit too much) of Wolverine's abilities from the "X-Men" movies to explain the 'how' but not the 'why'.
I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job with what he was given. But the full potential of where the character of Logan came from, how he transformed into Wolverine, and what direction he ended up in by the climax, was certainly far from realized in any real depth or emotion. For example during a few brief flashbacks, "X2" drove home Logan's shocked reaction to the adamantium steel bonding process. In "Wolverine" it's kind of like, 'O.K., we did that, now what's next?'. Again, more emotion needed please. Danny Huston's William Stryker, masterfully portrayed by Brian Cox in "X2", also needed a bit more drive and resonance as to why he was experimenting and manipulating these mutants. I was glad at least that they mildly addressed his son Jason. But I also really wanted to see more of that relationship fleshed out, which would have brought Styrker's distaste for all mutants to more of a boiling point.
There is humor here and there that's genuinely funny, but Wolverine's dry wit and brashness are not quite as sharp as in "X-Men" and "X2". Plus a great cameo near the end of the film (no spoilers!) had me and the rest of the audience applauding with joy. However, along with the overblown and somewhat hurried climax (once again, better effects needed) I expected a payoff in real world history because of the location it takes place in. But the payoff seemed to be missing. It was also interesting to note that just about all of the action scenes ended up in the trailer.
Overall, the movie needed to be faster paced and with the heart and soul that propelled the first two X-Men movies beyond just being comic book heroes overcoming the bad guys. So maybe what I'm ultimately saying is I wish Bryan Singer had a hand in this production. On a side note, I really do hope they give him a chance to get all 'Wrath Of Khan' on the follow up to "Superman Returns". But I think the studio has other plans. Let's hope Warner Bros. gives that franchise the punch, as well as the emotional bite, that "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" needed more of.