Logan, the third Wolverine solo film, will be the ninth and final appearance by Hugh Jackman as the most popular X-Man. No one, not even Chris Reeve as Superman or Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark has completely and totally owned a superhero like Jackman has from the very first seconds we saw him cage fighting in X-Men. Seventeen years later, his journey with the character will end, we’ll see the heir to Logan’s mantle, and also bid goodbye to Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier. This doesn’t feel like a super hero movie (and I mean that in the best way), it feels like an old gunslinger’s last hurrah, and set to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” (one of my three favorite songs), I got a little misty. No one will ever fill Hugh’s shoes, even though one day they’ll cast another person as Logan, he has a choke hold on this role forever. Continue reading Trailer Time: Logan Trailer #1 (2017) *Jackman Pops the Claws One Last Time*
The 2016 Summer Olympics will begin a week from tomorrow in Rio. Those games will undoubtedly be the swansong of the greatest Olympian (in terms of medals won) of all-time: Michael Phelps. If you were to try to find his polar opposite in the annals of Olympic lore, a very good case could be made for British ski jumper Eddie Edwards. The 1988 Winter Olympics were a strange games, producing the infamous Jamaican bobsled team (for which there is a great movie in Cool Runnings) and Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. The ski jumper became a polarizing figure in 1988 when only after a brief time in the sport, he slipped through some rule oversights not corrected in half a century and onto the British Olympic Team. He finished last (spoiler), but I’m not sure anyone has ever been happier to be an Olympian or more embodied the determination to push yourself to your personal best than Edwards. He now has his own film to complete the Calgary Olympics Weird Stories Boxset with Eddie the Eagle. Continue reading Movie Review: Eddie the Eagle (2016) *Worst Olympian Ever is Still an Olympian*
Last week, in my weekly “My Favorite Scene” column, I talked about my favorite scene from X-Men: First Class: The Point Between Rage and Serenity. It’s one of my favorite Xavier/Magneto scenes. Then I started to think how many iconic scenes there have been through the seven films that have contained Professor X and Magneto, and thought a top 5 list was in order.
It seemed almost impossible that suitable matches could be found to carry the torch for Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan after they made those characters theirs starting in the second scene in the first film. However, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have proven to be every bit their equal, and have had better, meatier parts of the Xavier/Magneto relationship to work with as they chart their friendship and the schism between them that would divide mutants. Quite frankly, you could make the whole list out of chess matches, but I tried to spread them out. Here are my five favorite (plus the scene I already wrote about, which you can see by clicking the link above).
Chess in a Plastic Prison, X-Men (2000)
The Breaking Point, X-Men: First Class (2011)
We Are the Future, X-Men (2000)
You Abandoned Me!, X-Men: DOFP (2014)
Gifts, The Wolverine (2013)
Until The Dark Knight, X-Men 2 was the gold standard for comic book movies. It remains my favorite of the series, and though there are tons of great moments, I love it when a film opens with something jaw-dropping. X-Men 2 opened with a mind-controlled Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) storming The White House, teleporting, BAMFING, and fulfilling every X-fan’s dream to see the fuzzy elf realized in the comics.
Nightcrawler is one of my favorite X-Men, so it was great to see him, but it wasn’t just his appearance. No one had choreographed a fight for a teleporter before. His fighting style utilizing his teleportation and his tail is so unique that you were sucked into the movie in the little over two minutes it took Kurt to breach The Oval Office. Unfortunately, Alan Cumming had a miserable experience working on X2 and never returned, clashing with Brian Singer and chafing at the elaborate make-up necessary for the character. A younger Kurt Wagner will make his debut in X-Men: Apocalypse played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. He’s got some large, oddly shaped shoes to fill. For more of Alan Cumming, check out The Good Wife on CBS (just finishing its seven-year run). His character is reason enough to binge watch the drama.
Ok, so it’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s my column so I’ll mess with the format if I want to. X-Men in 2000 (which does not seem 16 years ago) kicked off the modern age of super hero films. It was the first film to successfully bring a team of super heroes to life. It took it’s subject matter seriously, cast amazing actors like Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart, but none of that would’ve mattered if they’d gotten Wolverine wrong. Edward Norton almost ended up playing the part, but in the end it went to the unknown, at the time, Hugh Jackman.
No one has ever owned a comic book character the way Jackman owns Wolverine. It was perfect casting of an extremely talented actor, who would go on to be Oscar nominated for his work in other films. He’s been in every X-Men movie, plus two of his own (with a final one on the way), and it’s hard to imagine what X-Men films will be like without him. He’ll have been in nine films as Logan if Wolverine 3 is indeed his last go-round, and FOX is going to recast the role at some point. Wolverine is too popular a character to sit on the bench. But I pity whoever they cast. Jackman had the audience within seconds of his first appearance in X-Men.
From the very first shot of him in a cage fight, smoking his stogie (which now he can’t do because apparently that’s worse than beheadings or nipples to the MPAA), and just emitting waves of barely contained fury, Jackman had us. All that was left was to see the claws for the very first time. Just a fantastic way to introduce the character. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films and X-Men: Days of Future Past, is returning for his fourth film later this month with X-Men: Apocalypse (in which Wolverine will have a small role). We don’t have enough time to do all the X-films before then, but since I already did Days of Future Past (click here if you missed it), we can cover the other Singer films and X-Men: First Class before X-Men Apocalypse opens. I’m looking forward to seeing Wolverine unleashed in his third solo film, but I’ll be melancholy at the end, because we’re saying good-bye to an actor who has put a stamp on a character that may never come close to being equaled.