I’m not as down as some on Gavin Hood’s messy (reportedly studio-interfered with) solo outing for Jackman’s scene-stealer, but given the acting talent involved and the director (Tsotsi) this has to go down as a major disappointment. As soon as Ratner came aboard Last Stand, you knew the writing was on the wall for that installment. The potential here appears to have been almost willfully pissed away in a series of poor character and narrative choices.
Of the cast, Liev Schreiber as a different incarnation of Sabretooth to the 2000 film is as dedicated and impressive as you expect from the actor, while Danny Huston’s younger Stryker is hissably Machiavellian. Ryan Reynolds is excellent too (far better cast than as Green Lantern), it’s just a shame Deadpool is so poorly realised. Taylor Kitsch is also decent as Gambit, certainly better than in his recent attempts to become a box office champ.
Hood’s film gets off to a good start, filling us in on Wolverine and Sabretooth’s history, up until his parting of ways with Stryker’s commando team. But the structuring of the rest of the film, the manouevring both explicitly in terms of characters’ plans and where the filmmakers are trying to get us to, is forced, frequently unconvincing and sloppily rushed. The effects are none-too special either, most notably in the overblown climax that renders Wolverine in the amnesiac state we meet him in the first movie. Still, it’s probably marginally better than Last Stand.