One of Hugh Jackman’s most prolific outings as Wolverine is currently number 4 on the Hulu streaming platform as audiences far-and-wide revisit the 2017 film that marked the actor’s last outing as the titular mutant hero.
It’s hard to think of the X-Men movies, troubled as they are, without thinking of Hugh Jackman’s masterful portrayal of Logan, better known as Wolverine, the team’s most ill-tempered and reluctant member. He starred in eight out of the ten movies and had brief cameos in two others, making him, without a doubt, the most decorated member of the franchise that started in 2000.
While solo outings such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the simply titled The Wolverine were not exactly well-received by fans nor critics alike, the 2017 movie Logan proved that the third time is a charm for Hugh Jackman. The movie plays out more like a western than a typical superhero film. It follows an aged Logan in the year 2029 where mutant-kind is few and far between, with a new mutant having not been born for roughly 25 years.
Among those who are left include, Professor Xavier, but he is in his 90s and as his mental faculties begin to go, he suffers from seizures. However, unlike most people who don’t have significantly enhanced telepathic abilities, when Professor X has a seizure, it releases a wave of power that is potentially lethal to all life in the area. It is implied that a similar seizure in the past resulted in the deaths of most of the X-Men.
Obviously, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, whose healing factor prevents him from easily dying of old age or psychic seizure mishaps, is left to care for his ailing mentor. However, with old age making his healing power diminished, he’s forced to drive a limo in order to make ends meet. When he’s tasked with bringing a child over the U.S. Canadian border, Logan and Professor Xavier stumble upon a plot to create new mutants for use as weapons as well as a forced mutant genocide that slipped right under their noses. With the future of mutant-kind hanging in the balance, the duo embarks on an adventure reminiscent of Unforgiven that allows them both to put a bookend on their respective long lives.
The plotline puts Hugh Jackman closer to his comic book counterpart than ever before (which should sound like the scathing indictment of Bryan Singer’s vision for the beloved series’ movie franchise that it is). Logan is based on the popular Mark Millar comic book run titled Old Man Logan. However, as Cinefix notes, thanks to a bevy of usage rights between Marvel Studios and 21st Century Fox, included a lot of characters and plotlines that simply weren’t in the cards legally. Instead, Logan merely has the broad strokes of the Old Man Logan adventure, but it included just enough to satisfy many fans of the original comic book — even if his ultimate battle with a hillbilly Hulk was not included.
As one may have guessed from the description of Logan, it marks the end of Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine after being the linchpin of the X-Men franchise for close to two decades. The move made sense for the actor at the time. After all, his talents were always somewhat wasted on the gruff, short-spoken Logan character. Coming from a theater background, Jackman’s forte is more in song, dance, and spectacle. He was literally The Greatest Showman, after all. In addition, it wasn’t long before the X-Men franchise fully lost its way after years of bonkers movies that played around a little too much with the old and young versions of the characters that were never exactly comic-book accurate to begin with.
By 2019 with the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, its subsequent box office failure, and its absolute critical shellacking it was clear that Hugh Jackman jumped ship just before it went down completely. Thanks to both its failure and the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, Hugh Jackman’s franchise is done. He’s made it clear that he isn’t a major proponent of resurrecting the character, even if it means he can be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As a result, fans will just have to continue to turn to Logan on streaming to say their fond farewell to Hugh Jackman and the only character that made the X-Men franchise somewhat bearable while they wait to see where future generations at Disney will run with the Wolverine baton.