Every Wolverine-featuring movie ranked from Logan to X-Men: Origins
A fitting finale for the much-loved X-Men character.
Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine in a feature film, Logan, is arriving in cinemas this week and to celebrate the release of the film, we're going back through the Wolverine archives to document his history on film, from the very damn good (we saw Logan over the weekend and it's amazing), to the not so damn good.
In Logan, Wolverine is looking after an also-much older Professor X, along with his clone, X23, a young girl with the same powers and by the looks of things an equally impressive temper. Director James Mangold previously delivered the best Wolverine-only movie (IMO), The Wolverine, and with the ratings shackles removed in Logan, both director and actor get to tell the best Wolverine story comitted to cinema yet:
To celebrate its release, we've taken a look at the evolution of Hugh Jackman's role below, so read on as we dig back through all eight movies (First Class is uncredited, but we included it anyway) Jackman has starred in as Wolverine ranked from best to worst:
Well in a pleasing case of the trailers backing up the hype, Logan is fucking awesome. Basically an old-school western but in the superhero movie world, it'll also make you grateful for all the movies below this. After spending 17 years in the role, there is real gravitas to the proceedings of Logan - we've been with this guy (and Patrick Stewart as Professor X) for nearly two decades, and you bloody well feel it. It's also refreshing to see some actual violence in a movie about a guy with huge claws, instead of the neutered stuff we normally get from M-rated superhero movies. And X-23 almost steals the show as Wolverine's young clone. A fitting finale for a characters that's had his cinematic ups and downs to be sure...
#2: X-2: X-MEN UNITED
Let's be honest and say that director Bryan Singer has never really truly grasped the X-Men universe. From the moment he chose to take away all the bright and colourful costumes from comic books and chuck everyone in weird black leather outfits instead, everyone knew it was gonna be a pretty bumpy ride. That said, while X-Men 1 really set the course for the superhero movie onslaught we still currently exist in, X-2 was the one true great X-Men movie we got from Singer. Arguably one of the best comic book movie sequels ever (nothing can top Spider-Man 2), X-2 features improved performances around the board, particularly from Jackman himself, settling into the Wolverine role he was born to play.
#3: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Alright this one's a bit sneaky - Jackman only appears for a second to tell young Professor X and Magneto to fuck off, but it's a great little cameo in what ended up being a pretty great X-Men movie thanks to Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughan injecting a bit of life into a series that became pretty stale pretty quickly. A young, energetic, and talented cast came together for one of those rare reboot/prequel/rebootquels that actually really works.
Did you know there was a time when each year didn't bring with it 15 new blockbuster superhero films for you to try and get along to the cinemas and see? Well that time did exist, and even though Tim Burton's Batman made ALL OF THE MONEY in 1989, it wasn't until Singer's X-Men came along in 2000 that people realised, 'Hey, if we make movies based on popular comic books, people are gonna go and see them at the cinema.' It also helped that X-Men was actually pretty good. Weird costume choices not-withstanding, it stayed fairly faithful to the original comics, and while focusing on Jackman's Wolverine perhaps a bit too much for some, it did introduce us to the iconic duo that is Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and that's something we can all be grateful for.
#5: THE WOLVERINE
AKA the one where Wolverine goes to Japan. Placing this movie this high on the list might not be the most popular opinion, but I found The Wolverine a breath of fresh air, especially after the shit-show that was Origins. Taking it into foreign lands lets the focus remain on Wolverine and not all the other X-Men blowing in or out. It just feels very nice and contained (even if the ending is a little overblown), which is rare in comic book movie land. And weirdly, after a few movies already, The Wolverine feels like the first time Jackman fully understood the Wolverine character.
#6: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
After Matthew Vaughan left the franchise having given it new life with First Class, Singer returned to say, 'Hey, heard you talking shit about me, my first two X-Men movies were fine, you just watch'. And while I don't know if he really said that, he did return, and you can definitely feel it with an increase in bombast that felt really out of sync compared to Vaughan's more understated affair. That said, despite a pretty convoluted time travel plot, that I'm pretty sure basically wipes the slate clean for the whole franchise (I think, it's kinda hard to figure out at times), Days Of Future Past ain't too bad. It lets the new and old cast combine in an interesting fashion, although once again just devolves to Professor X and Magneto arguing with each other heaps.
#7: X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
After Singer bowed out of the franchise on a high note with X-2, much-loved (see: mostly loathed) director Brett Ratner stepped in and made a movie that was pretty panned at the time, although in retrospect wasn't quite as bad as everyone made it out to be. Introducing the fan favourite Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix saga was an ambitious move, as many hold it close to their heart, and Ratner didn't really do it justice. Also Cyclops dies, although that whole thing got wiped out by DOFP and he's alive again now, so no harm no foul (I think?). It did also give us this pearler from Vinnie Jones:
#8: X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
If Days Of Future Past was Singer's chance to come back and show everyone he knows X-Men better than anyone, Apocalypse was his chance to take a huge dump on the franchise. DOFP made the most money of any X-Men movie, so clearly the franchise was revived, but with one foul swoop, an un-recognisable Oscar Isaac, and an un-interested Jennifer Lawrence, it's made a lot of people very un-enthused as to where the new cast of characters goes next. Which is a shame, because there's some great young actors there.
#9: X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Just a pointless exercise in film-making, despite Jackman's best effort. Telling a story that didn't really need to be told, in ways that only over complicate things when tied into the original X-Men narrative, and that's not to mention it almost fucked Deadpool for the rest of us. The only positive I can draw from this movie is that Logan probably wouldn't exist if they didn't decide to start making Wolverine-focused movies.
Okay he didn't really star in this, but his face did when Deadpool wears a cut-out from a magazine. Plus it's worth noting that the huge financial success of Deadpool is why Logan gets to be rated R (MA15+ here). The guy has three huge knives on each hand ffs, which in the comic books have notoriously torn up a lot of people, and with a bit more freedom in the violence realm we can finally see old man Logan do some serious damage on whatever bad guys compel him so. Sure, more blood doesn't necessarily mean better movie, but if we're entering a new phase of comic book films that aren't so restricted by family-friendly ratings, that's alright by me.
Logan is out in cinemas on March 2.