Who's In It: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Will.i.am, Lynn Collins, Dominic Monaghan,
Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds
The Basics: The Santa Claus Is Coming to Town! of X-Men movies, this one shows you how Wolverine got his adamantium claws and how he learned to go snickety-snick with them. He's a mutant, so's his brother, they can't die, they become mercenaries, they kill and kill and kill again, the brother turns bad but Wolverine opts out to fall in love, then he has to kill and kill again some more because no one will leave him alone and, finally, has to deal with his identity in the hope of keeping the world safe for mutants.
What's The Deal: On your fourth date with Wolverine don't you kind of expect to have him step up his game and woo you even harder than in the first three? Aren't you a little bummed when he pulls back and already seems to be going through the motions, which is something that didn't happen with your last relationship until about a year into it? And aren't you a little annoyed that his special effects are getting worse instead of better? Like he jumps from that truck onto that helicopter and you're like, "You didn't even really do that. That was all digital right there. You were in your trailer talking to Baz Luhrmann on the phone. Even the fire looks fake." It's a bummer but at least you know that it's time to go your own way.
What Keeps It Interesting: Ryan Reynolds is funny before he becomes the supermutant Deadpool and he has a decent, if somewhat 300-ish, battle scene with Wolverine on Three Mile Island. Meanwhile the tension between Jackman and Schreiber as battling brothers sort of strings you along. It's not enough to last the entire movie, though, and that's where the big fighting parts and moments where stuff explodes are supposed to distract you. And they do for a bit. But by the time it's nearly over you might find yourself being ready for the credits before the movie's ready to give them to you. It's adequate if you're not looking for much. But if you were hoping for a Dark Knight sort of thing then you're going to be really underwhelmed.
Nerd Details: You'll be able to amuse your friends who may be more casual X-Men fans by pointing out who all the young mutants are in the cages in that evil Stryker's experiment lab. Then you can explain that adamantium isn't a real metal. But you will most likely not be able to convince them that Jackman's feathery soft coif is part of him being a badass manimal.
One More Annoyance: How many more members of the Black Eyed Peas intend to have film careers? Because if Will.i.am and Fergie are both going to start cluttering up multiplex screens like this then we're all doomed. To what I'm not sure. But there's some doom totally coming.