The zillion-grossing X-Men franchise shifts into prequel mode, singling out the series' breakout star, Hugh Jackman, and most popular character, the walking letter opener Wolverine. The most interesting part of his genesis story races by in the first reel: after his superpowers emerge, Wolverine and his similarly equipped brother (Liev Schreiber) immortally kick ass in one American conflict after another (from the Civil War to Vietnam) before a slimy defense contractor (Danny Huston) recruits them for a secret paramilitary squad. Repulsed by the outfit's ruthlessness, Wolverine bails and finds happiness with a young honey in the Canadian Rockies, but his old pals come looking for him. Jackman's committed performance keeps the movie on track, though Huston and Schreiber are strictly on autopilot. Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) directed; with Ryan Reynolds and rapper will.i.am. PG-13, 107 min.