‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Reaps Mixed Reviews

With its 'cutting-edge' action and hokey dialogue, is it worth seeing?

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” leaked online on April 1 for all to watch on their computer screens. A month later, the full version has arrived on bigger screens in movie theaters across the country. So, should you plunk down your dollars on opening night to check out the story of how Hugh Jackman became the mutton-chopped mutant with razor-sharp claws? Should you see it at all? Our own Kurt Loder has already weighed in , calling “Wolverine” a movie “powered by a succession of beautifully designed body-slam action sequences.” After taking a look at what everyone else has been saying, we present to you the good, the bad and the ugly of the “Wolverine” reviews.

The Good

“The first blockbuster of Hollywood’s summer accomplishes its mission with élan — if a tad less stylishly or humorously than last year’s heavy-metal kickoff, ‘Iron Man.’ … It’s packed with nonstop action, has cutting-edge special effects and stunt work, terrific cinematography (by Donald McAlpine) and beautiful locations, and is tautly directed by Gavin Hood.” — Lou Lumenick, New York Post

“Jackman invests his fierce character with a cheeky attitude, clear-eyed intelligence and inherent decency, compelling viewers to care about his metamorphosis. … Despite a couple of ‘Nooooo’ yowls, ‘Wolverine’ is well-acted, with spectacular action and witty one-liners. The special effects are top-notch.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today

” ‘Origins’ is an accomplished slice of comic-book entertainment, full of fights and action set-pieces impressive for a director touching big budget for the first time. A motorbike vs chopper fight is the standout, but throughout Hood handles the legacy with poise: the opening sequence of Wolverine winning wars like a clothed Dr. Manhattan, brims with comic-book verve.” — Chris Hicks, TotalFilm.com

The Bad

“‘Wolverine’ is shorter and less pretentious than ‘Watchmen,’ but almost programmatically unmemorable, a hodge-podge of loose ends, wild inconsistencies and stale genre conventions.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“There is little dialogue, except for the snarling of threats, vows and laments, and the recitation of essential plot points. Nothing here about human nature. No personalities beyond those hauled in via typecasting. No lessons to learn. No joy to be experienced. Just mayhem, noise and pretty pictures. I have been powerfully impressed by film versions of Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Iron Man and the Iron Giant. I wouldn’t even walk across the street to meet Wolverine.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Hood appears mismatched, uncertain as to how to activate and stylize this sprawling origin myth (sounds so much classier than ‘prequel’) designed to showcase Jackman’s arched eyebrow of rage, bare bum of destiny — at one point, naked, he darts through a waterfall and across a barnyard like a starlet in a ’70s drive-in picture — and his mighty pecs of stardom.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

The Ugly

“[N]ow we have an entire two hours devoted to nothing but origin, and all the subsequent exposition and ham-fisted dialogue that goes with it. Every line feels lazily copied from other movies. (They even bring out old chestnuts like ‘We had a deal!’ and ‘Let’s do this!’)” — Jeffrey M. Anderson, Cinematical.com

” ‘Wolverine’ climaxes in a pileup of explosions, complicated stunts, violent man-on-man fights and hints, especially if you stay until the end of the credits, at sequels and spin-offs — each fancy sequence simultaneously lacking both weight and lightness: The effect-laden showdowns feel more dutiful than daring, and the rare moments of fun are parceled out frugally, like precious nuggets of adamantium. Meanwhile, buff and bronzed as an Oscar statuette, Jackman works the picture like a trouper. Heroes and villains clash, then rise up to clash again, just because that’s what X-Men do. The truth is, it doesn’t matter.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

“There’s an implicit threat in the title ‘X-Men-Origins: Wolverine.’ It’s the suggestion that there are lots of X-Men, and each one has an origin, and that this is just the first of a potentially endless series of X-Men movies — each one doing what this one does: boring audiences with go-nowhere action sequences, while dazzling the mind with zingy repartee, such as, ‘Well, well, well! Look what the cat dragged in!’” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Check out everything we’ve got on “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

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