Regardless of the fact that it’s still all over the Internet in purloined form, “Wolverine” is getting clawed to death by critics.

Today, Variety writes that the Hugh Jackman blockbuster-hopeful is a “sharp-clawed, dull-witted actioner that falls short of the two Bryan Singer-directed pics in the [X Men] franchise.” Justin Chang also notes that “Wolverine” “bears all the marks of a work for hire, conceived and executed with a big budget but little imagination.”

Kirk Honeycutt, writing in The Hollywood Reporter, didn’t anything nicer to say:

“Bottom line: a keen disappointment as action and effects take over from a poorly conceived story.”

Of course, neither of these reviews, and two more on, say much for my own take on “Wolverine.” I liked the version I saw, but that’s another story. as they say. So far the’ New York Daily News and Arizona Republic also found the film lacking. Only The New York Post, Wolverine’s corporate cousin, seemed to enjoy this outing from Marvel Comics.

None of the reviews so far mentions the big surprise toward the end of the film. I won’t give it away, but rest assured, if you’re already an X Men fan, this will be a pleasant twist.

Even with the bad reviews, my guess is “Wolverine” will be howling at a heavy box office take this weekend. Will it break records set by “X Men: The Last Stand,” directed by Brett Ratner? Doubtful. But it’s going to do fine. I always chuckle when people take these comic-book based films too seriously. It’s just X Men, for gosh sake. As long as the story is easy to follow and there are plenty of explosions, sit back and enjoy it.

The real drama about “Wolverine,” meantime, is about the no longer asked questions: how did it get pirated in the first place? Who did it and why? What’s happened to the investigation? And why is it still out there?

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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