By now, you’ve surely seen the trailer for Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine. A serious, Western looking affair, set in the desert, backed with Johnny Cash’s glorious, stripped down cover of Hurt. 17 years ago when the first X Men hit cinemas, nobody would have expected this. Hell, nobody would have expected a largely unknown Australian to become a film star and still be playing the ol’ canucklehead.
I’ve had a life long relationship with the X-Men. The comics, animated series, the films, everything. Their whole ethos of a team of outsiders sticking together and defending even those who hate and fear them. It’s applicable to everyone who’s been an outcast whether because of race, gender, sexuality, whatever. It’s not only ok to be different, it’s a good thing. Which is why (for the most part) this is a film series that works. Despite a few clunkers, some shoddy special effects and bad acting, we’ve had 17 years of solid X Men movies. Even the bad ones are still watchable. Everybody has something to relate to, keeping them relevant and commercially successful.
Most of the franchise’s success is arguably down to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
The X-Men cast is a brilliant ensemble, each film has multiple plot threads, but it’s mostly the Wolverine show. He even got three solo spin off films and making cameos the two films he’s not supposed to be in! Either the folks behind these films think we deserve extra Hugh or they have no faith in a film without him. I’m fine with it for the most part, but I do feel other actors and characters have missed out. Think about James Marsden as Cyclops, leader of the X Men in comics, animation and film, he was dealt short shrift, The Last Stand particularly going the extra mile to screw him over. Let’s not even consider the shenanigans that poor old Taylor Kitsch’s Gambit got! A small role, in a poor entry in the franchise, eventually erased from the time line, ironically, by Wolverine in a better film.
Logan, the film, is apparently the last time out for Jackman. His 17 year stint is unrivalled in its consistency and it’s length. Turning in a great performance every time, he has owned the role and brought his own humour and sensibilities to something already iconic. Japanese samurai, World War II soldier, mutant vigilante, mindless beast, amnesiac drifter, friend, heartbroken lover. Every box checked, every time staying true to Wolverine. It’s a huge achievement especially when you look at other superhero movies, when some actors can’t even differentiate between their two identities.
I’ll be sad to see Hugh hang up his claws, especially seeing as Logan looks so poignant an ending for our hero. With regular films out since I was 15 years old, the cinema will never be the same.
Looking to the future, surely someone will take over. There’s been tons of different Batmen, Supermen and Spider-Men Yet only one Logan.
My personal choice would be Scott Eastwood. Or maybe Tom Hardy. Ideally I’d prefer an unknown just like Jackman was. I just think they need to either do it sooner rather than later.