18 years ago, before The Avengers, or the Justice League, Bryan Singer introduced us to a bunch of true misfits with powers that they often wanted to run away from.
One such misfit was the ageless Wolverine. The first time we saw him was inside a cage, deprived of his own memories and a purpose in life.
In a way, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was the comic illiterate audiences’ surrogate.
His character was hardly the main protagonist of X-Men. And yet there he was, etched in our memories.
A decade later, Fox Studios couldn’t imagine making an X-Men film without their anti-hero.
And that credit goes solely to Hugh Jackman.
Logan, as a character was a misfit even within a bunch of misfits. As was Hugh Jackman, a flamboyant actor known for his singing and dancing performances.
And yet here he was, playing a character so violently flawed and yet so self-aware that it resonated with the audience.
Logan never spoke much about his ordeal. The character didn’t have a lot of space for emoting pain, suffering or feelings of love with dialogues.
But Jackman’s performance made sure that we deeply empathised with a character we wouldn't want to hang out with in real life.
We were worried about Logan despite knowing that fact that there was nothing that could kill him.
We felt sad and sorry for him, his eternal torment. And that is just Jackman's acting.
And for 17 years, he did it with perfection, despite the often horrible scripts and terrible directing that went on with X-Men films after X2: United.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
In the year 2000, when Jackman was offered the role of Wolverine, his wife, Deborra Lee Furness advised him against it. And Jackman himself admits that it was the only time he didn’t listen to her.
And trust me, the thriving superhero industry is glad that he didn’t. Because, call it a bias, but nobody could have played Logan with as much conviction as Jackman.
And in doing so, he opened the portal to a new world of superheroes, each of them struggling to be accepted in a manner or so. Unlike, the effortless good looking guys with capes living a happy life with the people of Earth.
Jackman epitomised the struggle between a superhero and the part of him that was still ‘normal’, a recurring trait we see in Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America and even the great Tony Stark himself.
The success of the X-Men franchise was dependent on the stardom Jackman had managed to attain, the love and empathy his character had managed to garner.
And without that success, there would be no MCU or whatever DCEU is up to these days.
Would it be fair to say that the new superhero generation wouldn’t exist if Jackman had listened to his wife? We don’t know.
All I can tell you is that it took one scene of a cigar-smoking Canadian badass to kickstart a dead genre.
And for that, we thank you, Hugh Jackman.