James Mangold and Hugh Jackman have made it very clear that The Wolverine won’t be connected to the other X-Men films in any way. That makes a lot of sense, because more often than not, fans have been fairly disappointed with the series. But the one thing that has never been disappointing is Jackman’s portrayal of the character.
In honor of The Wolverine hitting theatres this week, it’s time to look back at the previous films featuring Jackman as Logan, and count down his best moments. For all the flaws the films may have they’re still immensely entertaining, especially when Jackman is on the screen, berserking his way through the villains he comes up against.
For this list, I got together with fellow WGTC writers Justin Harrison and Adam Donaldson to decide exactly which moments belong in Wolverine’s top 10. The following write-ups were contributed by the three of us.
Read on for Wolverine‘s 10 best moments on film.Next
10. Becoming Weapon X
Sure, Wolverine’s solo film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is considered by most to be as disappointing of a superhero film as any we’ve seen, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome to see an entire movie of Jackman playing Wolverine. One of the highlights of that film is definitely when Wolverine is first infused with adamantium. It’s a tense scene, forcing you to wait with baited breath for what happens, and then once he emerges from the water, well that’s as close to a full-on berserking Wolverine as Jackman’s gotten to portray.
This scene was also teased and shown in brief flashbacks throughout the original X-Men trilogy. In those movies, it was one of the most compelling scenes, so getting to see it played out in its entirety is definitely a treat.
9. “I’ll Take My Chances With Him”
After Wolverine discovered his innate heroism and came to terms with the fact that he was a good man in X-Men, he went searching for his past. When X2 opens, he’s still searching, despite running into nothing but dead ends. He goes so far as to ask Professor Xavier to read his mind, only for Xavier to turn him down.
Fortunately and unfortunately, Logan’s past comes and finds him before too long. The anti-mutant activist Colonel Stryker launches an attack on the Xavier Institute, and when he and Wolverine come face to face, they recognize each other. Stryker sees the best weapon he ever created, the one he had thought lost for years. Logan sees a man who knows something, probably something vital, about his past and who he was. The two encounter each other throughout the picture, but never long enough for Wolverine to get the answers he desperately wants.
Finally, just before X2’s last heartbreaking bit of action, Logan confronts Stryker one last time. Magneto has imprisoned the vicious colonel in part of a soon-to-burst dam. Logan happens across him, carrying one of the mutant children Stryker had imprisoned. The Colonel offers Wolverine answers in exchange for his life, but can’t resist mocking the little boy Wolverine carries with him as a “creature.” Wolverine, disgusted, realizes that who he is now matters more than who he was before his memory loss. He leaves his past to die with Stryker, and is a healthier man for doing so. As thrilling as it is to see Logan go berserk, it’s even more thrilling to see him be badass by being a better man.Previous Next
8. Slaying Jean
At the end of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine is faced with the toughest decision any hero can be presented: whether to kill someone you love in order to save many others. Jean Gray has turned bad, killing everyone and anyone around her. Her powers are far greater than any other mutant at this point, and there’s no way to stop her when she’s attacking. Wolverine braves her TK powers in order to walk towards her in an attempt to calm her down. Despite almost everything he’s wearing being ripped off in the process, he does indeed get her to relax momentarily, but instead of using that time to take her back and try to contain her powers for good, he contains them in the most permanent way. Watching him stab someone he loves makes this one of the franchise’s most emotional scenes, while still being as badass as we expect from Wolverine.
7. Fastball Special
It’s a little known fact, but Hugh Jackman’s 6 foot 2 inch frame is a foot taller than Wolverine’s supposed to be. To the actor’s credit though, he can make even the most ardent X-fan forget that, but logistically that’s probably the reason why it took us three movies to see one of Wolverine’s signature moves, the Fastball Special. Basically, the maneuver involves one the X-Men throwing Wolverine at a target with his claws extended, so it usually falls to one of the super-strong members of the team like Colossus or Beast to do the tossing.
As the latest X-Men recruits fail to cut it in a “Danger Room” simulation, Wolverine orders Colossus to “toss” him, and two seconds later, a giant robot head slams down in front of the rest of the team. Mission: accomplished. Most fans will tell you that X-Men: The Last Stand was a disappointing cinematic experience, but the use of the “Fastball Special” against what turned out to be a mutant-hunting Sentinel was one of the few Easter eggs fans could actually take joy in.Previous Next
When the X-Men are trapped in the statue of liberty, bound in some of the most devious ways possible, it looks as if all hope is nearly lost. An innocent, young Rogue is going to be forced to mutate the world, killing herself in the process, and there’s nothing Jean, Cyclops, Storm, or Wolverine can do about it. Or so it seems. Wolverine, in a desperate act, decides the only way he can free himself from the metal strips that are holding him in place is to slice through his own body with his claws. Just thinking about the pain of cutting through yourself is incredibly wince-inducing, but Wolverine selflessly does it, showing again how much he cares for Rogue, and for the first time that he really can put the team ahead of himself.
This scene also includes his fierce battle with Sabretooth, and the moment when he destroys Magneto’s plans, essential saving the world’s leaders from transforming into unstable mutants. Not a bad way for Wolverine to prove that he is indeed the most awesome of the X-Men.
5. Generations Of War
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is, at best, an uneven movie. At its worst, it’s a messy, nonsensical story that treats its characters more as chess pieces than individual characters. But at its best, it highlights the many things that make Wolverine such a compelling, enduring character. Origins’ near-dialogue-free sequence of Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting their way through history is the best example of this. It shows off Wolverine’s loyalty, in his endless defense of Sabretooth. It shows off his courage, as he braves increasingly relentless battlefields. It shows off his inherent nobility, as he grows increasingly disenchanted with Sabretooth’s growing brutality and finally stands against him. That it does all of this without dialogue is a testament to Gavin Hood’s skill as a director and Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber’s skill as actors. Origins does not do all that much right, but the war sequence is a fine piece of filmmaking built on a fantastic character.Previous Next
4. You Picked The Wrong House Bub
When your hero’s main weapon is a pair of indestructible claws, it’s kind of hard to show him at his top form when you’re restrained by the bloodless PG-13 rating. But if we’ve ever come close to see Wolverine in full-on berserker mode, it’s this action sequence in X2: X-Men United when a group of government black hats invade the X-Mansion on a search and capture mission. Thinking that they’ll find a bunch of kids, the army men are greeted by a man who’s the best at what he does, and what he does is fight.
This was one of the scenes that Bryan Singer brought to San Diego Comic Con in 2002 to show fans what he was working on for the sequel, and it was an immediate hit for obvious reasons. If the first X-Men coasted on the coolness of seeing Wolverine brought to life on the big screen, this first fight scene for Logan in X2 showed why the character remains one of the most popular heroes in modern comics. Wolverine’s a ferocious fighter, a veritable juggernaut of carnage once unleashed, and you almost feel sorry for the bad guys when you see those claws come out. Almost.
3. The Cage Match
A more perfect introduction for the X-Men’s lone wolf you can’t really imagine. As the runaway Rogue (Anna Paquin) arrives at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere Alberta, she sees a cage match between a man we soon learn is Wolverine and an unwitting tough guy almost unaware of just what he’s gotten himself into. One gets the feeling that Logan’s been through more would-be bruisers than he cares to admit, especially considering the rather nonchalant way he acts in the cage, chomping on one his trademark cigars until his opponent starts pummeling him, and then it takes three punches and he’s done.
Later, the defeated he-man tries to get his money back, and in this scene we see Wolverine unleash his claws for the first time, and in the process we see Logan desperately trying to hold back his feral nature and not give in to the desire to tear through the bar patrons. Within five minutes, Hugh Jackman instantly nails the character and conveys to the audience why Wolverine is not someone you want to reckon with. Jackman may have come onto the X-Men set as an unknown, but he left a star.Previous Next
2. I’ll Take Care Of You
One of Wolverine’s defining traits is his tendency to mentor and protect the young women and men who end up in his care. Over the years, he’s taken Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor and most recently every single teenage X-Man under his wing. He does this both to help them survive a world terrified by their very existence and to let them be the children they so rarely get to be. When written well, Wolverine’s relationship with a younger mutant he’s looking after is a surefire way to bring out his compassion and warmth from underneath his usual snarling cynicism.
The very first X-Men movie has just such a moment, when Logan finds a traumatized Rogue and offers to look after her. Magneto and Mystique’s manipulations have left Rogue convinced that she’s nothing but a monster and completely unwelcome at Xavier’s school. Logan, the man who has sneered, snarked and generally belittled his way around Xavier and his students, reaches out to her. He tells Rogue that Xavier, for all that he’s a “geek”, wants to help her. He doesn’t condescend, he doesn’t bully and he doesn’t insist that he knows what’s best for Rogue. He just promises her he’ll take care of her. It’s a sweet, gentle moment from the former assassin, and one of the key moments of his character arc in the first film.
1. A First Class Cameo
When Jackman wasn’t billed to appear in X-Men: First Class, a lot of fans were very disappointed. Matthew Vaughn wasn’t about to let all those fans stay let down though, and he snuck Wolverine in for one of the best cameos in any superhero film. Erik and Xavier are going around contacting all the mutants, but when they approach Wolverine, we all know there’s little chance he’d be interested in joining up. Without even giving them a chance to explain why they’re there, he informs them of that position in the most Wolverine-like way, dropping the series’ first F-bomb. When first watching First Class, it was an excellent surprise to see Jackman pop up on screen. Although his appearance is short, if the character is going to get a cameo, Vaughn definitely did it just right, making for as memorable a Wolverine moment as possible.
Well, those are our picks. Are there any great Wolverine moments you think we missed? Be sure to check out The Wolverine this weekend and let us know if there are any moments from that movie that deserve a spot on this list.Previous