Because it’s so hard to pick only five or even ten moments that really capture Hugh Jackman’s performance as Wolverine, and because there are five films to choose clips from, David, Rob, Scott, and Chris all got together and decided to do a Top 15 list broken into three sections. Yesterday, we looked at the Top 5 Most Utterly Badass Moments.
Now, while everyone knows Wolverine is a total badass, the place where he really shines is on the battlefield. Over the course of five films, Wolverine has fought a wide variety of both humans and mutants, so today, we shift gears and look at Wolverine’s Top 5 Action Moments!
5. The Theatre of War, X-Men Origins: Wolverine
In this opening montage from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we witnesses a young James Howlett and Victor Creed, brothers from apparently the same mother, run into the woods of Canada and into the war zones of America. Starting with muskets and bayonets in the Civil War, drudging down in trench combat for the First World War, and storming Normandy for the Second World War, wrapping it all up with some friendly fire in Vietnam.
Now I love this scene in particular because it not only ingrains the Howlett/Creed families in American history, in scenarios I’ve never even considered for the Wolverine actually. It also suggests that Victor’s and Logan’s savagery is not inherently due to some mutant X-factor. Though Logan is famous for his feral rage, and Sabretooth is infamous for his savagery, their animalistic sides are only awakened in fighting mankind’s wars. It is only when Logan has to try to save his brother from getting torn apart by some well-deserved fragging that he actually pops his claws during his montage.
Each vignette of war bleeds seamlessly into one another and for a movie that’s a bit gritty in terms of editing, you can tell that extra work was put into this opening scene. Battlefield to kill zone perfectly weave to form a tapestry of brutality, with little flashes of combat hanging in still screen to burn into our memories, because in all likelihood this is all that Wolverine sees in his nightmares.
Ultimately, the scene is one of my favorites not only because it taps into grounds that Wolverine has never been seen in, but also perfectly encapsulates the primary psyche of the canucklehead without using a single complete sentence.
4. Wolverine vs. Mystique, X-Men
This fight starts out as Wolverine vs. Wolverine and ends with Logan’s (apparently) first on-screen kill. Is there really any more that needs to be said?
While some might point to Wolverine’s face-off with Sabertooth later as his best in this film, I think that this one is much more interesting. The fact that you genuinely don’t know which one is which for the first bit (I still don’t know which one shuts the door) makes it even more fun. And that’s not to mention the excellent choreography, shot expertly so you never miss a beat. Mystique certainly steals the show halfway through with her mid-air shape-shifting kick, but the real triumph here is Wolverine finally getting his claws wet.
As the first time we really see Wolverine in a fight where he doesn’t have to hold back, this scene shows us that despite decades upon decades of fighting experience, Wolverine still has his limits. Killing, though, is apparently not one of them.