Stryker's mutant team consists of super-strong Fred Dukes (Lost's villainous Kevin Durand); teleporter John Wraith (Will i Am); expert marksman Agent Zero (Daniel Henney); cocky swordsman Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds); and the machine-controlling Chris Bradley (Dominic Monaghan, another Lost veteran). One would assume that an entire movie could've been made out of this team's adventures, but instead we only get one ho-hum sequence before Wolverine disagrees with their ethics, leaves, experiences the tragic death of his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins), and hooks back up with his buddies to help find her killer who is... wait for it... his brother! Cue the music.
The film throws all of these assorted good and bad guys at us with all the joy of a dead fish. When John teleports, we don't get the exhilaration of Nightcrawler's masterfully executed stunts in X2, and when Wade does some crazy shit with his swords we think of how much more fun it would be if we were playing him in a video game. Fans will know that Wade is Deadpool from the comics, one of the funniest and most entertaining anti-heroes in the Marvel Universe. Ryan Reynolds is the perfect casting decision, but unfortunately, the film wastes his presence. The same goes for Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). Hood, Benioff, Woods, and everyone else involved with the production know that the fans have been clamoring for Gambit's filmic appearance for so long that there's no way you could exclude him from the fourth entry in this franchise, but they put him in there with little to no excitement or fanfare. He's boring and unnecessary.
The movie is not all bad, though. For a while, it was so sloppy yet scrappy that I thought it might turn out all right, much in the same way that I liked X-Men: The Last Stand in spite of itself (or, for that matter — *gasp* — Spider-Man 3). Gavin Hood is a competent director, which helps. His Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner Tsotsi was superb, and Rendition was an unfairly maligned political thriller. The action scenes here feel as robotic and uninspired as those in most big-budget franchise flicks, but the down-to-earth moments where Wolverine spends time in the Canadian Rockies and in love with Kayla show a real sense of feeling.