05 March 2017 1056 Views

TODD POLT Looks at the Lifetime Legacy of LOGAN from HUGH JACKMAN aka WOLVERINE

by James Murphy

LOGAN has opened to worldwide acclaim and a bigger box office take than expected, given its R rating. I must confess to have been slow in going to watch the film. It is sad to see HUGH JACKMAN say Goodbye to a role he made his own and it’s a shame that only now in his ‘final’ film can we get a substantial and inventive piece of cinema that truly lets the Wolverine character go wild in style.

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Was it too much to ask for just a few more films of that ilk using the same character and actor? There is also a pervasive mood of gloom in the air today and am reluctant to sit and immerse myself in a movie that is not exactly being hailed as feel good escapism.

But I will of course get round to it and especially given the film’s universal acclaim. Above all? This is cinematic history. Jackman has made the character his own, over 17 years: honing, refining, building his body to perfection each time, timing the comedy alongside the drama and action and then promoting each product with unfailing charm and diplomacy. He is an old school movie star and LOGAN is an old school western movie that happens to feature a comic book character.

And so, in that spirit too: TODD POLT looks back at the last 17 years of Logan/Wolverine/Jackman on film and thereby reminds us of what an epic achievement it is to remain in one role for so long. Dig your claws in, Todd! 

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Some perspective, folks.

Hugh Jackman played his gig through 4 U.S. Presidents, 2 Daredevils, 3 Spider-Men, 2 James Bonds, 2 Supermen, 2 Batmen, 3 Hulks, 2 Jokers, 2 Lex Luthors, 3 Punishers, etc.

Since X-MEN, we’ve gotten several new countries: Timor-Leste, Montenegro and Serbia, and South Sudan.

Jackman played that part in 9 movies, 3 different trilogies in 3 different decades. (Yes X-MEN came out in summer 2000 but it was shot fall 1999.) Jackman only got that part after original Wolverine actor Dougray Scott lost it because of scheduling conflicts with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2. Part 6 of that series drops next year.

When he began as Wolverine, Fox only gave a major VFX extravaganza like X-MEN a $75 million budget because Tom Rothman considered it a risk to invest big money on adapting a film based off one of the more popular and well-known Marvel comics titles in history. 10 movies later, X-Men is one of Fox’s few dependable drawing franchises.

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Last year’s BATMAN V. SUPERMAN had a reported production budget of well over $300+ million. Recent story claims AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR films, both of them together will cost allegedly a BILLION bucks. LOGAN is sold as a more “down to Earth” movie compared to its genre brethren, supposedly just cost $100 million and that’s considered a goddamn bargain in 2017 for a spandex blockbuster.

X-MEN in fact was only the 3rd movie based off a Marvel comic, after HOWARD THE DUCK and BLADE. One for each decade of 1980s/1990s. When Jackman first put on those claws, there was no Marvel Studios which wouldn’t form until later that decade, Kevin Feige was still an assistant for producer Avi Arad, getting an Associate Producer credit on X-MEN. We all know what Feige went on to do, overseeing the Marvel Cinematic Universe that kicked off the shared universe movie fad that rest of Hollywood is aping that’s grossed TEN BILLION DOLLARS and rising. He’s produced 14 MCU movies.

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In fact since then we’ve had hit franchises based off Marvel characters less popular historically speaking than the X-Men (some drastically less popular) like Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, etc. Even Long time major guns in the Marvel Universe like Iron Man and Thor, their comics were never as popular as X-Men comics were at their peak in the 1980s/1990s.

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Speaking of DC, in 2000 Batman was still in limbo after Bat Nipples and wouldn’t come back to cinemas for another 5 years. 6 years for Superman (out of action since ’87.) In fact from X-MEN to LOGAN, we have a history of so many well-reported unproduced projects for both characters that came and went with Brett Ratner and Wolfgang Petersen and Darren Aronofsky attached at one point or another. Then Nolan did his Batman trilogy. Then the DCEU was launched. 14 MCU releases, 3 DCEU releases so far. .

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In 2000, what live-action comic book TV was there recently, relatively speaking? Uhhh…..NIGHT MAN? Yeah I’m having trouble remembering too. A year later, SMALLVILLE premiered and ran for a decade. Since X-MEN, Marvel has produced 7 live-action TV shows, with more in the pipeline. (IRON FIST drops next week.) DC? I’ve lost count. They’ve got 5 on the CW (with a 6th coming next broadcast season) and 2 on Fox. In fact specifically regarding X-Men, LEGION based off a character from that universe premiered a few weeks ago and another X-Men program will air on Fox next season. (I guess we *could* also count MUTANT X from the mid-2000s, since that was Marvel’s attempt to dabble in X-Men land on TV outside of Fox’s X-Men film rights contract. Which Fox sued them over.)

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In fact its hard anymore keeping track of all the movies and TV programs being adapted from comics (and not necessarily involving spandex or published by the Big Two) and I’m a person who’s head is always in that shit.

Times sure have changed for comic fans and media based off funny books, and Jackman was there for most of it.

Todd Polt is “Trying to survive in his native East Tennessee, one day at a time.”

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