Hollywood loves its heroes and we love to identify the actors playing them as those heroes. Arnold Schwarzenegger will always be The Terminator for many while Bruce Willis is John McClane. Then there’s Harrison Ford who’s both Han Solo and Indiana Jones, or Sylvester Stallone, Rocky and Rambo, depending on who you ask. One such actor is Hugh Jackman, identified by many as one hero, The Wolverine.
Jumping into what was arguably the most iconic character in the X-Men universe meant Hugh Jackman had anything but an easy job ahead of him. Six movies later (he does have a very short cameo in X-Men: First Class) and with a 7th on the way we can safely say there’s no other actor we’d rather have as Wolverine.
This upcoming weekend Hugh Jackman stars in the thriller The Prisoners alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, so clearly Wolverine is not the only part he plays. Here’s a look at Hugh Jackman’s 10 highest grossing movies of his career. We’re talking worldwide numbers this time, unadjusted for inflation (for reasons having to do with the lack of any accurate data in that department).
10. Real Steel (2011) $295.5 million – In the future men don’t box anymore, robots do. Now these aren’t Pacific Rim size robots, no, much much smaller, yet still larger than any human you have ever seen (volume too, not just height). Fun family flick with a strong Rocky vibe.
9. X-Men (2000) $296.3 million – This is where it all started for Hugh Jackman, the first X-Men film. Having been a longtime fan of the animated series and seeing this at the age of 13 in theaters, you could say I’m a bit biased. Yet there is one thing I’ve always held against this movie, its length. Running at just 104 minutes (which was more like 95 without the credits), X-Men felt like it was over way too soon for 13 year old me.
8. Van Helsing (2004) $300.3 million – Stephen Sommers, who at that point was famous for his two popular Mummy movies, was put in charge of Van Helsing by Universal. What we got was an often stupid (not always in a bad way) campy action adventure with lots of CGI. So basically Stephen Sommers did exactly what he was hired to do, right? I don’t get the avid hatred for this movie, Van Helsing did exactly what it set out to do.
7. Rise of the Guardians (2012) $303.7 million – Hugh Jackman’s Australian accent was unleashed in this animation, voicing the Easter bunny. If you ask me, he plays it more like a kangaroo than a bunny but hey, still a great character, if not the best in the film. Rise of the Guardians on its own was an ok animation, very action-packed, lots of fun.
6. The Wolverine (2013) 366.6 million (and still going) – In case you haven’t noticed thus far, I don’t share Andrew’s opinion on The Wolverine from his review. I was never bored, action was great, and the story was simple yet effective. The film might have been a bit heavier than it should have, but Wolverine was in a dark place at that point in the story so in a way I can get behind it. There were some head-scratching moments that I won’t spoil here but overall The Wolverine was a blast (for me), the flick Origins should have been. It’s not quite on the level of X2 X-Men, or X-Man: First Class but how many superhero movies really are. So if you haven’t seen it yet here’s a more positive second opinion that says go check it out.
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) $373.1 million – The least said here the better. Hey, at least Fox seem to have learned their lesson, sometimes less is more, The Wolverine, a step up in every way imaginable.
4. Happy Feet (2006) $384.3 million – What happens when you get George Miller of Mad Max fame to direct and write an animated film? Well Happy Feet, obviously. Hugh Jackman voices Memphis, the father of the main character, Mumble. So there is not a lot of his voice in the film. Happy Feet won an Oscar for Best Animated feature of the year in 2007 and there was a sequel in 2011, but Hugh Jackman didn’t return for that.
3. X2- X-Men United (2003) $407.7 million – With a good 30 minutes over X-Men, X2 effectively solved my only issue with the original. On top of that the sequel had more action, more mutants and an even better story. If you ask most fans which is their favorite X-Men film the vast majority will say X2, and for good reasons.
2. Les Miserables (2012) $437.7 million – The only film on this list I’ve yet to see (and chances are, never will) is actually closer to Hugh Jackman’s heart than many might think at first. A musical (not my cup of tea unfortunately), Les Miserables was directed by Tom Hooper and if you ever want to hear Wolverine sing, well you’re in luck.
1. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) $459.4 million – The highest grossing of the X-Men films is not really the best one. The Last Stand had some good ideas but there just was way too much to tell in little over 90 minutes (without the credits), not to mention director Brett Ratner really wasn’t the right replacement for Bryan Singer. It’s not the mess Origins: Wolverine was, but it most certainly can’t hold a candle to X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class or even The Wolverine.
Now if you have seen The Wolverine and you’re still hungry for more, than 2014 should be a good year with X-Men: Days of Future Past, a sequel to both The Wolverine and X-Men: First Class starring pretty much everyone that is still alive (and even some that shouldn’t) from all the past X-Men films.
Which is your favorite Hugh Jackman movie? My answer is a short one, X2.