Alas, there's nothing quite memorable here: much of the combat is just a whirl of movement photographed up close. As the X-Men series has progressed, the startling poetic extravagances of the first film have given way to flesh-pounding clumsiness.
The problem with Wolverine isn't that the mythology is detailed and potentially confusing. The bigger issue is that "Wolverine" is so uninvolving that you might not care whether you remember what happened 10 minutes ago.
A schlocky, dispiriting affair that kicks off the summer season in exhausted fashion, relies less on its overqualified cast (or even the outsider mythos of the comics) and more on fake-feeling computerized stunts.
The direction, by Gavin Hood is a case study in mismanagement: of anger, rage, demonic howls that grow into howlers, Olympian camera angles and, above all else, the mismanagement of an unusually personable star.
A crude blunderbuss of a superhero movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine proves that the greatest supervillains confronting Marvel Comics' shape-shifters, lycanthropes and mind-readers are clumsy directors and sloppy screenwriters.
Sadly, Wolverine's journey is one long run-the-gauntlet scenario, with people pounding on him from all sides until he emerges at the other end as the lone-wolf amnesiac bound for membership in the X-Men gang.
While packed with effects and action, without the attention to story and emotional investment present in such films as The Dark Knight and Ironman, Wolverine ultimately doesn't rise above its comic-book roots.