A Hugh Jackman of All Trades
You might not have even realized that he made a cameo in some of these films.
By Keegan Fornoff, Southeast Missouri State University
Throughout the history of superheroes, villains and anti-heroes, there are few that have stood the test of time, and of these, though this may just be my opinion, the most prominent is the character of Wolverine.
Spanning across countless movies, TV shows and video games, Logan/Wolverine has been one of the most loved X-Men and comic book character. Above all, Hugh Jackman’s consistent portrayal of Wolverine has developed a cult following, as it is much easier for fans to grow attached to one person, rather than a character that has many different faces and voices (looking at you, Batman).
Unfortunately, with the release of “Logan,” Hugh Jackman officially announced that he will be retiring the character of Wolverine for good. As this legacy comes to a sad close, I have compiled my definitive list of Hugh Jackman’s best appearances or cameos as Wolverine.
1o. Deadpool (2016)
Now, you may be thinking, Hugh Jackman did not make an appearance during this movie at all. And I say to you, WRONG.
Throughout the film, Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) makes multiple references to Hugh Jackman and Wolverine and there are even a few little Easter eggs for eagle-eyed fans. In one of the final scenes, Deadpool also wears a mask of Jackman’s face before revealing himself to Vanessa.
Obviously, due to the lack of actual Wolverine, this comes in last on the list, but still needs to be included.
9. X-Men: Apocalypse (2017)
Wolverine’s only appearance in this film is in his Weapon-X form. This cameo is only above “Deadpool” because it is an X-Men movie and involves a physical appearance, though neither of these appearances would be included if it weren’t for them technically qualifying.
Still, it helps you understand just how ingrained the character is in the superhero universe that directors would consider a cameo by him, no matter how small, to be a worthwhile addition the film.
8. X-Men: First Class (2011)
Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto) find Wolverine drinking in a bar. Wolverine rudely dismisses them before they leave.
This is on the bottom end of the list due to Wolverine having only one line and a twenty-second appearance, but the line was classic Wolverine and trumps #9, so at least this list is starting to show a little of the rogue personality that has made the character so timeless.
7. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Honestly, this movie is low-key an emotional mess.
Professor X dies (okay, maybe) and Wolverine must kill his one true love, Jean Grey/Phoenix. Throughout the whole movie, there is a massive battle between good (the X-Men) and evil/not really evil (the Brotherhood of Mutants) over a potential “cure” for mutant powers, which culminates in a war at Alcatraz where Jean Grey’s Phoenix persona is wreaking mayhem.
Wolverine risks his life to stop Jean, and in this instance, knows he must kill her, which brings him to fatally stab her, ending the lives of both Jean and Phoenix. Overall, a good movie, but too emotional and not enough Wolverine.
6. X-Men (2000)
This film, the first introduction of Wolverine, focuses mainly on the characters of Wolverine and Rogue, and introduces the conflict between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Audiences learn that Wolverine, civilian name Logan, possesses superhuman healing strength and adamantium claws. Wolverine and his powers are one of the central plot lines of the movie, as Professor X believes that Magneto and the Brotherhood are out to capture him. However, Magneto instead captures Rogue, and intends to use her powers to generate a machine that will make all the world’s leaders mutant.
Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men set out to save Rogue and stop Magneto and his machine. Wolverine risks his life, the first of many times, by transferring his healing powers to Rogue and saving her life. Once Wolverine recovers from his coma, he is given clues from Professor X about a military warehouse in Canada that could have a link to his past. This movie is a great first step into the X-Men world, but gives little insight into Wolverine, despite his being one of the primary characters.
5. X2 (2003)
This film gives one of the first tastes into the backstory of Wolverine. It begins with the jaded hero exploring an abandoned military complex in Alberta (the one tipped off by Professor X), only to find that it has been destroyed.
Military scientist William Stryker invades the X-mansion, the home and school of the X-Men, and somehow knows Wolverine by name. In an encounter with Wolverine, Magneto reveals that it was in fact Stryker that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton. In a later confrontation in Stryker’s lab, Wolverine remembers the location as where he received his skeleton. This film is fantastic, as it gives viewers the first taste of Wolverine’s past and later leads to Wolverine’s solo spinoffs.
4. X-Men: Days of Futures Past (2014)
This is another X-Men movie in which Wolverine is the main protagonist. The film depicts Wolverine being sent back in time to prevent the creation of Sentinels, who are set to obliterate every living mutant. He goes on a mission to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, which had originally led to the creation of the Sentinels.
Wolverine is successful and returns to present time, in an alternate universe, where Jean Grey never died and Wolverine became a history teacher at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters (X-Men school). Honestly, I want Wolverine to be my history teacher. Can you imagine?
3. The Wolverine (2013)
The second of Wolverine’s solo films shows that Logan is living as a hermit in the Yukon before being summoned to Japan by Shingen Yashida. Upon his arrival in Tokyo (cue comedic scenes of Logan attempting to blend into Japanese culture), it is revealed that Yashida wants to take Wolverine’s powers and transfer them to himself.
Naturally, Logan refuses and the two duke it out, and in a heart-wrenching scene, Wolverine’s adamantium claws are severed from his body. In a totally badass and mildly gross shot, Wolverine grows new claws from his actual bones and jets back to America, giving up on his isolationist lifestyle.
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
This movie led Wolverine enthusiasts through one of comic book’s greatest backstories. Viewers watch as young Wolverine (true name James Howlett) discovers his powers after murdering his biological father. He runs away with his half-brother, Victor Creed, and fights in many wars throughout the history of the United States.
During the Vietnam War, he is a member of William Stryker’s Team X, and when he is approached by Stryker later in the film, receives his adamantium skeleton from him. Fast-forward through the movie, and Wolverine is wiping out Stryker’s men left and right once he realizes that Stryker is planning to capture him, wipe his memory and use him as a personal weapon. This leads to a battle of Wolverine against Stryker, Creed and Wade Wilson (the first film appearance of Deadpool—painful for all involved). Wolverine technically defeats Stryker and Wilson with the help of Creed, but loses his memory from Stryker’s shots of adamantium bullets.
1. Logan (2017)
As this movie is new and I fear backlash from spoiling anything, I will not reveal any of the plot. As a Wolverine fan, the film was incredible and bittersweet. It was one of the most fantastic closings to a saga that left no loose ends for the character and did not entirely ruin the previous movies.
Also, as a side note, I would love to have Logan as an uncle. Hugh Jackman, please adopt me. Joking aside, this film is a piece of cinematic excellence and wraps up the storyline of Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett with a big, fat, shiny bow. It made me cry and yearn for more but is also an ending worthy of the Wolverine.