We’re only a few weeks away from the release of Logan, which hits theaters on March 3. The film is particularly noteworthy for being hyped as Hugh Jackman’s final performance as the most well-known X-Men of all, Wolverine. Jackman’s had an incredible run with his take on Marvel’s iconic surly mutant, bringing the character to life on the big screen in incredible ways over the course of 8 different films and nearly two decades.
That’s an unprecedented time span for one actor to inhabit a role, and it speaks volumes about how well-received his interpretation of the character has been. He is a fan favorite and primary ticket-selling catalyst for the mutant movie franchise. And the advance word on Logan (directed by The Wolverine filmmaker James Mangold) shows that he’s going out with a bang, maybe even a death as unforgettable as his comic book version(s).
Now that Jackman is ready to bare his adamantium claws and his berserker rage for one last hurrah, let’s look at the 15 Best Wolverine Movie Moments that Jackson brought to the X-Men film series.
15. Cage Match – X-Men
First impressions are everything, and director Bryan Singer staged the perfect scene to introduce audiences to Wolverine in his 2000 film X-Men — a cage match in a grungy Canadian saloon. A poor yokel steps in thinking he’s in for some quick cash, but Logan’s quick dispatching of his challenger (with bone crunching efficiency) along with his sullen expression and patented neck cracking gave audiences a taste of the sort of antihero they were in for. It foreshadowed a legacy of pain and betrayal, with an aimlessness brought on by a fractured identity.
The follow-up scene further establishes Logan’s talents when he bares his claws for the first time, after his beaten competitor and a bartender discover that he’s no mere mortal. It’s also important to note that not only was this mass audiences’ first encounter with a live-action Wolverine, but also their introduction to Jackman, who had only appeared in small films and local theater productions prior to his breakout turn in this blockbuster. It was a star-making role for the Australian actor, launching him into the mainstream.
The Wolverine, Jackman’s second solo X-entry, featured one of the most ambitious sequences of the X-Men franchise to date. Logan has the misfortune of being held in a Japanese POW camp during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He rescues Ichirō Yashida, a military officer, and shields him from the explosion in his submerged holding cell.
The devastation is immense, as is the severity of the injuries suffered by Logan, who’s been charred to a crisp from the atomic blast. But this being Wolverine, the burns are but a brief (albeit insanely painful) inconvenience, as his regenerative abilities repair his form and reject any contaminating agents.
It’s just another example of Wolverine using his gifts to save humans who fear him, or, in the case of Yashida, wish to harness his powers of immortality. Logan’s selfless deed eventually comes back to haunt him after Yashida tracks him down to drain him of his powers by becoming The Silver Samurai. He should have known better of course. “Sayonara, bub.”
bone claws (that would be 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, before Logan’s memory loss), Jackman’s reaction is priceless.
maddening misuse of Deadpool, it wasn’t a total loss. The problem is that it peaks early. Like way early. It’s all downhill after the title sequence.
The film opens with a young Logan and half-brother Victor (Sabertooth) fleeing after Logan accidentally murders their father. From there, we see the duo in a tightly constructed montage, where they put their violent, predatory powers to use in a succession of historic wars: the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam.
The sequence also showcases where Logan and Victor (Liev Schreiber) begin to part ways: while Logan has a moral compass that keeps his attention on fighting the good fight, he watches his sibling killing for the sheer enjoyment of it. This conflict sets up the plot of the film. Too bad it completely fizzled out after that.
healing factor is drastically diminished. This leads to several scenes of our hero at his most vulnerable. While he initially is unaware of the cause of his healing limitations, eventually, he happens upon Ichirō Yashida’s X-ray machine, and he and his cohort Yukio (Rila Fukushima) discover the mini-bot has attached itself to his heart.
In a squirm-inducing sequence, Logan operates on himself using his claws, finally freeing himself from the device. His healing factor returns just in time, as Yashida’s son Shingen attacks him and Yukio with a samurai sword.
What follows is an expertly choreographed duel between Logan’s claws and Shingen’s sword, but with Wolverine’s healing factors back to 100%, Shingen’s expert swordsmanship has little effect. Logan attempts to spare his life, telling his foe that the fact that he has to live the rest of his life knowing he’d tried to murder his own daughter, Mariko, is punishment enough. Foolishly, Shingen attempts to stab Logan in the back. It doesn’t end well — except for the audience, of course. “What kind of monster are you?!” asks Shingen. Logan retorts appropriately, “The Wolverine!,” before finishing the job
bowed out to do Superman Returns, fans got nervous. When workmanlike director Brett Ratner signed on, they got more nervous. And let’s face it: their concerns were largely warranted.
That being said, the film — one of the most expensive ever made — isn’t completely beyond redemption. For one thing, it gives moviegoers a (very loose) interpretation of Marvel Comics’ famed Dark Phoenix storyline. Jean Grey, presumed dead after X-2, returns in an altered and highly dangerous form, a dark persona capable of lethal telekinetic powers. This results in the murder of her lover Scott Summers (Cyclops) and mentor Professor X (Patrick Stewart).
Realizing she has the potential to wipe out humankind goaded on by Grey pleading him to stop her, Wolverine puts her out of her misery. The anguish on Jackman’s face when he kills the woman he loves is a defining moment for the character, and a notable example of his multi-layered portrayal.
based off of The Hand, who would also prove an influence on the second season storyline of Netflix’s Daredevil).
It’s a beautifully shot sequence, set at night during snowfall. Unfortunately, the theatrical cut gives only a truncated version. Luckily, the R-rated Blu-ray cut shows the Wolverine/Ninja encounter in all its grim and gory glory, ending with Logan passing out after being impaled with multiple arrowheads, one of which bears Viper’s toxin, knocking him out in preparation for the somewhat underwhelming showdown with a mech-suited Silver Samurai.
Danger Room, the combat training facility inside Xavier Mansion where mutants take part in simulated battle scenarios. Director Brett Ratner films it as a cheat, giving audiences the notion that the group are about to take on the gigantic mutant-hunting robots the Sentinels for real. (They had yet to appear up to that point, and folks were getting antsy.)
The scene is Ratner’s biggest bit of fan service gift to hardcore X-Men nerds, especially when Wolverine has Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) fling him at one of the Sentinels head on. This maneuver between the duo has a name of course: the “fastball special,” which was has been employed many times in the comics over the years.
One wishes Colossus and Wolverine shared more screen time together (the former was one of the most underutilized mutants in the film series), but at least seeing Wolverine take out a sentinel hologram kinda makes up for not seeing him singlehandedly destroying a real one in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
We can’t say the same for Charles Xavier, however.
even more intense moments of adamantium-fueled action in Jackman’s final outing.
X-Men: Apocalypse was a letdown for many fans, with an undercooked baddie (Oscar Isaacs in a rare onscreen misfire as the title villain) and a plot and tone that felt uneven and overstuffed. Despite this, the film did have its moments, with the best of the bunch occurring after Beast, Mystique, Quicksilver, and Moira MacTaggert are abducted by William Stryker and taken to a secret facility for questioning.
The action kicks in when Jean, Cyclops, Nightcrawler attempt a rescue mention, leading to Jackman’s extended cameo as Weapon-X. After being broken free from his confinements by Ms. Grey, his decades-younger future love interest (kinda creepy), our hero goes full berserker, flying into a bloody, murderous rage and seemingly taking out every armed guard in the facility. He’s even gifted back a memory or two thanks to Jean’s psionic abilities.
While Wolverine has had many murderous moments, this was one of the longest and bloodiest to date (although we’re positive the R-rated Logan will give us the definitive, bloody Wolverine butchering we’ve been clamoring for since the beginning).
Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), a mutant that shares both Wolverine’s healing factor and adamantium appendages (in her case, crazy long fingernails).
The fight is full of wirework acrobatics and painful slashing and stabbing, and the awesomeness is capped off with Wolverine killing Deathstrike by filling her entire body with liquid adamantium, which promptly solidifies inside her and causes her to sink like a rock in a lab tank. The look of disturbance and anguish on his face shows a moment of empathy after having to murder someone sharing his same gifts/curse.
comic version’s berserker rage, when he lashes out like a trapped animal, mercilessly slaying any enemy in his path.
2003’s X-2 helped to calm those complaints during the best sequence in the film: Stryker’s raid on Xavier’s Mansion. While Logan is having a terse conversation with Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), he picks up on the intrusion, subduing one attacker after saying “you picked the wrong house, bub.” From then on, he slices and dices his way through Stryker’s special forces unit, culminating in a bravura leap from a staircase, impaling even more soldiers before escorting Pyro, Iceman, and Rogue to safety. His only moment of hesitation comes when Stryker hints at the bond they share, but other than that, this was pure, unadulterated badassness through and through.
So that’s our list of Hugh Jackman’s best Wolverine movie moments. Which scenes would you add to the list? How much longer will our updated list have to be after the Logan premiere? Tell us in the comments.
Logan will hit theaters on March 3, 2017.
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