They’re Great, Bub! – The Top 10 Wolverine Scenes of All-Time
The summer after my freshman year of high school, I saw Hugh Jackman play Wolverine in the 2000 film, X-Men, a superhero movie that forever changed the course of comic book films. He was awesome. In seventeen years, nothing has changed. Hugh Jackman is still Wolverine, and he’s still awesome. We’ve been through a lot of rage screams, snikts and cigars, but this weekend’s Logan is the final time Hugh Jackman will done the adamantium claws.
By all accounts, this is Jackman’s best turn as the character. As someone who’s never wavered from the X-Men franchise, despite one or two “eh” movies, it’s going to be tough to say goodbye. Jackman’s dedication to this role has been more than enough, and with Logan being Rated-R, we are about to see the Wolverine he always wanted to play. I have no doubt he’ll give his blood, sweat and tears for one last ride.
As this is the swan song, what better way to honor Jackman than by counting down The Top Ten Wolverine Scenes. Once I see Logan, the entire top ten could very well be from that film.
Hugh Jackman. This is for you. Thank you for seventeen great years.
P.S. I know you’re all disappointed, but nothing from X-Men Origins: Wolverine made the list.
Honorable Mention: Weapon X (X-Men: Apocalypse)
This mostly missed out because by the time we get to the ninth X-Men film, we’ve seen Wolverine slash and scream so many times, that this feels a bit redundant. Having said that, it’s still a great Wolverine berserker moment. What’s cool about this particular sequence is it’s really the first time we see an unhinged Wolverine in his most animalistic state. The Weapon X garb also looks awesome. Jackman doesn’t even have a line here, yet he’s still one of the best parts to the entire film. We also get a nice moment between him and the younger Jean Grey. I even like how they plant the seeds of Cyclops hating his guts.
It’s a great Wolverine moment, but more of the same. Maybe it would have made the list IF THEY DIDN’T SPOIL IT IN THE DAMN TRAILER!!!!
10. Logan Lets Go of his Past (X2)
This is a big character moment. The first two X-Men films are all about Logan trying to discover his past. When he finally has a chance to get all the answers, he basically says “Screw it. I’m an X-Man.” It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a beautifully written scene. He tosses away the army tags. He carries the kid back to the jet. It’s the perfect line of dialogue (“I’ll take my chances with him.”). You even get the big Stryker proclamation: “One day, someone will finish what I’ve started, Wolverine! One day!” Very poignant. It’s just a damn good scene all around.
9. Nagasaki (The Wolverine)
This is the opening to The Wolverine, and it’s a good one. First of all, the opening shot to this film is extraordinary. Absolutely gorgeous. It sets up the movie perfectly, as we see a young Yashida being saved by Wolverine. When you think of this scene compared to how the last solo Wolverine film opened (lazy as hell), you knew right away that Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold meant business. What I particularly love about this sequence is the mystique of Wolverine. He’s in the shadows down in the cage merely watching what’s about to go down. Then suddenly he comes out of nowhere and grabs Yashida. We’ve seen Wolverine’s healing power on film many times, but this was by far the best healing effects yet. The dude survives an atom blast. His whole body is black and charred. It’s the first time we really see his entire body heal, and it was pretty damn cool.
8. Wolverine Goes Berserk in the Mansion (X2)
I’m sure you all think this is way too low. This is probably the most iconic Wolverine scene in the entire series, and no doubt a thrilling five minutes. The reason it’s a bit low though goes back to why the scene from X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t make the cut. We’ve seen this so many times now, it’s lost some luster. Despite all that, what else can be said about this scene that hasn’t been said already? Wolverine slashes everything. We get the classic rage screams. It’s a vintage Wolverine moment, no doubt.
7. Wolverine Wakes Up/Chops up the Goons (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
I couldn’t let this countdown go without getting a Days of Future Past scene on here. I’m sure many of you are reading this and thinking, “Seriously, that scene?” Here’s my argument: Yes, we’ve seen Wolverine slash and dash a hundred times before, but this was a completely different ball of wax. This is the most intimate and violent snikt scene yet. First of all, the set-up is great. Wolverine is in a complete daze after his consciousness travels through time. You get a couple great lines (“Would you believe me if I told you I was sent here from the future?”). Wolverine absolutely rips these guys to shred in quick, brutal fashion. It’s awesome. The scene is also artfully directed, ending with the rabbit’s foot key chain flip. It’s a quick sequence, but a Wolverine scene I always wanted to see. It gets as close to Rated-R territory as you possibly can.
6. Open Heart Surgery (The Wolverine)
This is one hell of a Wolverine moment, and arguably the best scene in The Wolverine. Tense as hell. Wolverine cuts open his chest to remove a robotic bug that’s eating away at his heart, which in turn suppresses his power. Meanwhile, a giant sword fight ensues in a confined hospital room between Yukio and Shingen, while Wolverine tries to observe from a monitor screen on where to pull the damn bug out! It’s an amazing sequence. The score is fantastic. I remember watching this in the theater for the first time, and I was on the edge of my seat. Gut-wrenching.
Wolverine Kills Jean Grey (X-Men: The Last Stand)
I’m not going to rehash my defense for X-Men: The Last Stand. You can click here for that. Bottom-line: I liked it. This scene is a classic “Good for the movie/Bad for the Comic Book fans” argument. I know many detest how they “butchered” the Phoenix story line, relegating it to this one moment where Jean Grey goes crazy. The reason this ranks so high on a Wolverine list though is how monumental of a scene it is for him personally. This first X-Men trilogy was always about Wolverine, and watching the war between Professor X and Magneto through his eyes. Along the way he falls in love with Jean Grey. The burden that he’s the only one who can kill her is the stuff of great tragedies, and adds to the character’s pain that they brilliantly pay off in The Wolverine.
The execution (no pun intended) of this scene was also very well done. I love how Wolverine’s skin rips apart and you can see his adamantium skeleton. The music is epic. The dialogue between Logan and Jean is perfect. You can say what you want about this movie, but this was a pretty impactful moment.
4. “The Wolverine” (The Wolverine)
The entire character arc for Logan in this movie is accepting who he is. He’s a soldier. This sequence where Logan battles Shingen is finally the payoff moment:
Shingen: What kind of monster are you?
Logan: The Wolverine
Gut-wrenching. Not only is this a phenomenal character moment, but it’s shot beautifully. Gorgeous. The reason I put this so high is for one shot in particular, where Wolverine pulls a samurai sword out of his torso. Wolverine pulls a damn sword out of his body. It’s the type of image I want plastered on my wall like a giant poster. It’s the most bad ass shot of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine you will ever see.
3. Bar Attack (The Wolverine)
This is the first time I can honestly say where Wolverine legitimately terrified me. The first act of The Wolverine is so damn good, it’s almost a shame the movie gets progressively worse. It’s still a great flick, but that opening twenty-minutes is spectacular. It’s a quiet, visceral look at the character like we’ve never seen him.
After Logan hangs out with the bear from The Revenant, he goes into this seedy bar to confront the hunters who didn’t put the bear down properly. What ensures is a piss your pants sequence of events from Logan where he completely screws with these absolute ass clowns. Not only is Wolverine scary as hell, but Jackman still manages to give the character his trademark humor. There’s only one other Wolverine moment we’ll get to later where I felt this tense watching the character. While we don’t get to see him completely unload on these guys, it almost works better that it stops short. It’s such a Wolverine tease, but a damn good one.
2. “Go F**k Yourself” (X-Men: First Class)
Quite possibly the greatest cameo ever in a movie. When you hear the word “cameo,” it usually spells doom. They rarely work, and tend to be forced as hell. Not this one. This couldn’t have been more perfect. What else can I possibly say that would do this justice. Just watch the clip.
Cage Fighting/The Claws (X-Men)
It’s a predictable one, but I have to do it. This is it. The first time we ever meet Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. While predictable, I truly believe this is the best Wolverine moment on film. I’m also going to extend this out to the first time we see the claws unleashed.
Once “Alberta, Canada” pops up on screen, you know it’s coming. The anticipation is building. Rogue (Anna Paquin) enters this complete dive where there’s a bunch of yelling and screaming. You get a glimpse of the cage. You know Wolverine is in there. Bryan Singer executes this flawlessly. You can kind of see him leaning up against the fence as he smokes his cigar, but he’s not yet fully revealed. Then the challenger goes for the big punch and CLANG! There he is. For the first time ever, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, grunting and animalistic as ever. A great reveal.
That was only part one of the build-up. We’re still waiting for those claws. In between the cage fight and the claws, I love how we get this quiet moment with Wolverine, as he sits and stares at Rogue. When the hack fighter goes back to harass him, you know it’s coming. He’s screwed. Then without warning, SNIKT! The claws are out. It’s Wolverine.
With the exception of maybe Batman at the docks in Batman Begins, it’s the best superhero introduction in the history of comic book movies. With Logan, I’m hoping for the best ending.
Farewell, Hugh Jackman.