Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reverend's Reviews: Wolverine Makes Me Howl

Between getting excommunicated in late April and taking a trip back east in early May, I just last night got around to seeing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I had two initial reactions to it. First, it's a pretty darn good, worthy prequel to the earlier X-Men series of movies. Second, it's the gayest allegedly-straight movie ever, easily beating such predecessors as 1989's Tango & Cash (which teamed frequently naked then-hotties Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell), the Patrick Swayze-Keanu Reeves bromance Point Break, and the campy musical Moulin Rouge!

Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) takes advantage of every opportunity to clothe his predominantly male, physically fit cast in pec-hugging tank tops (if they have to wear shirts at all) and tight pants. This certainly isn't a complaint, not when the cast includes Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds and Liev Schreiber. Taylor Kitsch, who makes a memorable appearance as Cajun energy-wielder Gambit, ain't hard on the eyes either.

Jackman, returning in the title role, is especially, repeatedly exposed. Buffer than ever, he rarely buttons his shirt when he's actually wearing one, and is shown nude from the rear and side multiple times during an extended sequence depicting Logan's/Wolverine's escape from the military compound where he has just been injected with indestructible adamantium. You go, Hugh!

Apart from all the flesh on display, there's also a hint of gayness in the closer-than-brothers (even though they are 150-year old siblings), love-hate relationship between Logan and Victor, a.k.a. Sabretooth (Schreiber). While Victor is the more violent of the two, one gets the impression he'd give it all up if only Logan would retire with him to a cozy cabin in the remote woods.


So while there is plenty to satisfy gay sensibilities in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, straight viewers can appreciate the film's intelligent script (by David Benioff and Skip Woods), great editing, excellent photography and spectacular (if occasionally video game-esque) special effects. It is consistent with the first two, well-regarded X-Men movies in quality and storyline, and is superior to X-Men: The Last Stand.

And did I mention it stars the super-talented, underdressed Hugh Jackman? Whether playing Wolverine or Peter Allen, hosting the Tonys or the Oscars, Jackman is a smart, resourceful performer who knows how to please a broad audience ... especially the gay boys in it.

UPDATE: X-Men Origins: Wolverine is now available on DVD and Blu-rayfrom Amazon.com.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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