Posted on Friday, March 3rd, 2017 by Jacob Hall
(This article is by Jacob Hall and Jack Giroux.)
It’s hard to imagine the movies without Hugh Jackman. Not just because he’s played the character of Wolverine for the past 17 years, kicking off the superhero movie boom and providing a consistent anchor through the various up and downs of the X-Men series. No, it’s hard to imagine the movies without Hugh Jackman because he is one of our finest modern movie stars, an infinite well of charisma who has been nothing but fearless when it comes to taking risks and laying himself bare. Jackman has been in great movies, forgettable movies, and bad movies, but he’s showcased a remarkable consistency over the years – you put him in the front of the camera and you get something worth watching.
With Logan now in theaters, it’s time to pay tribute to an actor who is perfectly comfortable singing and dancing, hacking and slashing, wooing Meg Ryan and selling butter. These are the 15 greatest Hugh Jackman moments.
“Oh What a Beautiful Morning” in Oklahoma! (1999)
Before he was cast in X-Men, before he was a movie star, Hugh Jackman played the lead role of Curly in a London revival of the classic musical Oklahoma! and oh boy, he sure is magnificent. The show was filmed and released on video and while it’s not quite a movie, it’s movie enough – anyone who saw this before the superhero movie boom must’ve been shocked (shocked!) that this gifted musical stage performer ended up playing a tough-as-nails, adamantium-clawed mutant. Jackman’s opening number, where he strolls on stage singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” is a perfect encapsulation of what makes him a movie star. You can teach someone to act. You can teach them to sing. You cannot teach charisma. You’ve got be born with that. The stage and the lights and the audience (and the camera, of course) just love Hugh Jackman. (Jacob Hall)
A Wolverine Walks Into a Bar… in X-Men (2000)
Hugh Jackman isn’t as beefy as Wolverine in the original X-Men as he is now, but he doesn’t look any less dangerous. The tortured hero is introduced as a pure animal, with Jackman quickly establishing why he’s not a character to mess with. Right from his very first scene, Jackman is the Wolverine. He appears wild, reckless, and violent, but also lost, in desperate need of someone like Charles Xavier to come along and give him purpose. Logan actually ends up adding more weight to Wolverine’s introduction, now that we can see the full arc of where the character started and where he ends up. (Jack Giroux)
Dancing and Hacking in Swordfish (2001)
The dancing, hacking, and smoking sequence is one of the many, many silly scenes in Dominic Sena’s already dated action movie, Swordfish, a film about hacking that does not understand hacking at all. But not for a second does Jackman ever appear to be not committed to this nonsense. To him, this is the story of a hacker who wants to be a part of his daughter’s life again and he sells it, giving it more spirit than other actors would have. The dancing sequence is the biggest reminder of Jackman’s talent in the entire movie. It’s the most conventionally enjoyable scene in Swordfish, mainly because it’s Jackman on his own, being goofy and charming. Even when the script isn’t there, he still finds ways to entertain us. (Jack Giroux)
The Butter Commercial from Kate & Leopold (2001)
Hugh Jackman is a sincere actor, which is why he’s the perfect choice to star in this romantic comedy. His first collaboration with director James Mangold, Kate & Leopold, is silly in the right ways. In one scene, Prince Leopold (Jackman), Duke of Albany and accidental time traveller, is starring in a butter commercial. It’s a tad ridiculous to say the least, but watch how Jackman plays Leopold and you’ll completely understand why Meg Ryan’s character wants the man from the 1800s starring in a butter ad. No one is better at helping an audience suspend disbelief. Whatever Jackman is doing in a movie, even if he’s playing a time traveler who can’t fathom supporting a poor butter product, he’s believable and oh-so-charming. (Jack Giroux)
The Mansion Rampage in X2 (2003)
Plenty of fans and critics have noted Hugh Jackman’s intense physical commitment to his roles, with the actor defying the laws of nature to somehow appear tougher and stronger and more cut as the years went on. For an example of a movie taking full advantage of the fact that their leading man actually looks like he could decimate an entire team of mutant-hunting soldiers, look to X2, the second X-Men movie and one of the high-water marks of early superhero cinema. Jackman growls and yells and sells every single stab and slash. It’s the work of an absolute beast…and it’s also really funny. And that’s Jackman’s secret weapon – his toughness masks an innate comedian. He transforms his body, sells the action, and makes you laugh. He’s a performer through and through. (Jacob Hall)