When discussions about who plays the best superhero are thrown around, you’ll hear a lot about Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, or Chris Evans as Captain America. You’ll also hear a lot of horror stories about castings that might have been. But one guy who’s been undeniably nailing his role for almost 20 years is Hugh Jackman. The guy has embodied Wolverine’s feral awesomeness the second he walked onscreen, and true to his character’s mutant abilities, he only seems to be getting in better physical shape as time passes. I want me some of that healing factor. With Jackman stepping down from the role after his third solo Wolverine adventure Logan, now is as appropriate a time as ever to look at some of the best Hugh Jackman moments as Wolverine.
Meet Wolverine (X-Men)
This is the introduction of one of the most iconic characters in superhero fandom, and boy does it deliver. Jackman doesn’t even need to pop the claws in a one-on-one cage match to show you exactly who this guy is, and if you know what’s hiding in those fists, this was the perfect way to give the audience a taste of what’s coming.
Fight With Lady Deathstrike (X2: X-Men United)
What’s better than a fight involving Wolverine? How about a fight involving two Wolverines? Logan squares off against Stryker’s knuckle-cracking assistant who’s been lurking in the background the entire film. It turns out she’s an upgraded Weapon X! What ensues is one of the coolest mutant-on-mutant tussles in the entire series. And this time, the claws are real (I’m looking at you, Mystique. Just because you can replicate appearances doesn’t mean your claws can do ANYTHING).
The Bullet Train (The Wolverine)
This was a very interesting sequence because Logan’s abilities have been taken away from him. For the first time, he’s mortal, and he has to take that mortality seriously. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from battling the Yakuza atop a speeding bullet train, but you can see how creative he has to get when he can’t just assume he’s going to live through everything life hurls at him.
This Interaction With Cyclops (X-Men)
Logan and Scott Summers have never seen eye to laser visor, mostly because of their shared affection for Jean Grey. After a battle with Mystique that confuses everyone into thinking she might be assuming the form of Wolverine, Logan has only a moment to prove that he’s the real deal, and he nails it.
Stryker’s Assault on the Mansion (X2: X-Men United)
Not only was this one of Wolverine’s finest moments, this was arguably the best sequence of any of the X-Men movies (with maybe Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House giving it chase). With the rest of the official X-Men trying to locate a brainwashed German mutant, Wolverine is forced to play babysitter to the students. But when Stryker and his men attack the mansion, Wolverine goes full animal-style. His ability to somehow be protective of children while still slaughtering hordes of soldiers shows Jackman’s full mastery of the character and the range of emotions he can feel at any given time.
Jackman stepping down is definitely the end of an era, and I’m going to miss his charismatic, funny, and intense take on the Canadian Carnage Machine. Is there a worthy successor out there who can fill his shoes? (Tom Hardy anyone?) Let us know on Twitter @Smosh!