Comic book movies have been around since the 60’s, but they didn’t pick up speed until the early 2000’s. The X-Men movies began around this time and varied wildly in quality. Some of the movies were horrible, some of them were exceptional, but almost all of them were memorable. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine has been a staple of these movies since the beginning. While other superheroes are consistently recast every few years, Hugh Jackman stuck around until Logan because he embodies the role perfectly.
Jackman always knew how to balance Wolverine’s rage with his deep sadness. You could see him tearing up the bad guys in one scene, empathizing with Rogue in another, and trading insults with Cyclops a few minutes later. It would have been easy to play Wolverine as a caged animal, but Jackman chose to give him more dimension and audiences responded to that.
It’s rare that a comic book movie series gets to definitively end. Most of them stop when they don’t make enough money or the actor decides to leave. Logan embraces this opportunity and let’s Wolverine come full circle on his journey.
In X-Men, Wolverine was a cage fighter who acted like he didn’t need anyone. He gained and lost friends over the course of many movies, and we feel those losses in every action he takes. When Wolverine, Professor X, and Laura are chased out of a hotel, he actually takes the time to carefully fold up Xavier’s wheelchair and put it in the back of the truck. The former hothead who would run into battle without a plan actually took the time to take care of his elderly friend in a crisis. This is a really caring gesture, and it shows how much his friends have affected him. In Wolverine’s eyes everyone else can go to hell, but he isn’t going to let his friends down.
As Wolverine matured, the audience matured as well. Back in 2000, it made sense to give the X -Men movies consistent PG13 ratings, but Logan had to be rated R. Wolverine has never been one to screw around when he killed someone and he was finally able to show off what those claws could do. Most of the audience was young when these movies started, so finishing them off in an adult manner was the right choice.
Logan really stepped it up when it was time for Wolverine to die. He risked taking a drug that could make him lose his mind, but would absolutely make him strong enough to defend the mutant kids. He rips the soldiers to shreds, slices through their skulls, and even blocks bullets meant for the kids. Since Wolverine wasn’t healing like he used to, he knew he might not come back from this. He died as he lived in a way; violently and in defense of the people he cared about.
It will hopefully be at least a decade before someone new plays Wolverine. Logan gave us a satisfying conclusion to a story many of us grew up with and that ending deserves to be respected. Saying goodbye to Wolverine felt like saying goodbye to a childhood friend. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine lived a full life and he will not be forgotten.
Kelsey LaCroix majored in Creative Writing at Roger Williams University. She loves audio books, poetry, and over-analyzing her favorite stories.
What are your thoughts? Tweet them to us!
Tag @klacroix42 @ShadedAreas #TLDR for best results.