5:53am PDT, Aug 20, 2021
Hugh Jackman has come a long way since his debut as Wolverine in the first “X-Men” film more than two decades ago. The blockbuster hit catapulted the Aussie actor to Hollywood’s A-list, where he has remained firmly planted in the years since, but he’s proven himself to be far more versatile than the superhero heartthrob to whom audiences were first introduced. He’s gone on to win a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award and has received an Academy Award nomination, making him one of the most consistent superstars working today. From the musical stylings of “The Greatest Showman” to the tragic dramatics of “Les Misérables” to the adorable romance of “Someone Like You,” Hugh’s films have grossed more than $5 billion at the global box office. To celebrate the release of his latest feature, “Reminiscence,” on Aug. 20, 2021, join Wonderwall.com as we revisit our favorite Hugh Jackman movies — and tell you where to stream them…
RELATED: “X-Men” cast: How their lives have changed
Hugh Jackman first made a splash as the steel claw-wielding mutant known as Wolverine when “X-Men” was released in the summer of 2000. He’s become synonymous with the ferocious role, also appearing as the character in 2003’s “X2,” 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” 2013’s “The Wolverine,” 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and 2017’s “Logan.” The lengthy tenure has earned him the Guinness World Record for “longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero” and has received praise since the hit franchise’s beginning. The Los Angeles Times wrote in its review of the first movie, “With a face of fury partially covered by mutton-chop sideburns, Jackman is this film’s star and brings a necessary level of acting intensity to the project.” The entire series has raked in over $6 billion, but the actor said after the release of “Logan” that he was done portraying the character. “It just felt like it was the right time to do it, and let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last, so I’m so grateful to the fans for the opportunity of playing it,” he admitted during an appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show.” “X-Men,” “The Wolverine” and “Logan” are only available to rent on iTunes, Amazon or YouTube, but the rest of the films can be streamed on Disney+.
RELATED: “X-Men” movie characters ranked
Despite showing off his musical skills on the live stage, including his Tony Award-winning work for “The Boy From Oz,” Hugh Jackman never took part in a big screen sing-along until the 2012 adaptation of “Les Misérables.” Coming from “The King’s Speech” director Tom Hooper, the retelling of the beloved musical stars the actor as protagonist Jean Valjean, who is hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman after breaking parole and agreeing to care for a factory worker’s daughter against the background of the French rebellion of 1832. The film was stuck in development for years, but it was clearly worth the wait: It grossed more than $441 million at the global box office and received glowing reviews, with many praising Hugh’s performance. “Hugh Jackman delivers a muscular, earnest performance that holds together this diverse ensemble cast,” wrote Metro at the time. He went on to receive a Golden Globe Award and Oscar nomination for his work, while the film also received a best picture nomination. “Les Misérables” is available to stream on Netflix.
RELATED: Stars who made the jump from Broadway to the big screen
Hugh Jackman kept the singing going with 2017’s “The Greatest Showman,” an original musical inspired by the story of famed circus founder P.T. Barnum, his creation of Barnum’s American Museum and the lives of its star attractions. He starred as the titular overzealous businessman who learns to keep his ambition from standing in the way of the people he loves. The inspiring story won audiences over around the world, grossing $435 million and making it the fifth highest grossing live-action musical of all time. “Jackman and the entire cast are deeply committed to entertaining and leave you feeling an old-school musical thrill,” wrote Empire Magazine in its review. Critics praised the film’s performances, music and production values, and it received numerous awards. It nabbed Golden Globe Award nominations for best picture and best actor as well as a Grammy Award for best compilation soundtrack. The film’s climactic anthem, “This Is Me,” won a Golden Globe Award and received an Oscar nomination for best original song. “The Greatest Showman” is available to stream on Disney+.
RELATED: Action stars who’ve done musicals
Hugh Jackman got to show his romantic side in the time-traveling romantic comedy “Kate & Leopold” in 2001. It marked the first big screen opportunity for the star to take a on a period place as the Duke of Albany, who travels through a time portal to modern-day New York City and begins falling for his great-great-grandson’s ex-girlfriend, played by Meg Ryan. The chemistry between the two leads is undeniable and it proves Hugh’s ability to woo hearts on and off screen. The film didn’t receive the same positive response as Meg’s previous romantic comedies and sadly marks her last one to date, but critics were impressed with Hugh’s performance. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in its review, “The irresistible force that is Hugh Jackman — or was it his swoony Leopold? — swept me off my seat and into the movie.” His work garnered him his first Golden Globe nomination. The movie can be streamed on Showtime Anytime.
Hugh Jackman traded superheroes for monsters with the 2004 action flick “Van Helsing” alongside Kate Beckinsale. He stars as Gabriel Van Helsing, a legendary monster hunter inspired by Abraham Van Helsing from Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula.” The film is a tribute to the Universal Horror Monster films from the ’30s and ’40s and includes a number of monsters such as Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster Duergar, Mr. Hyde and werewolves as a homage to multi-monster movies like “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” “House of Frankenstein” and “House of Dracula.” As many critics pointed out, it sacrifices a lot of story to focus on CGI (as well as the hunky star’s luscious locks), but Hugh still piqued the interest of many. As USA Today wrote at the time, “The dashing Jackman plays his part well enough, but the script doesn’t provide sufficient Indiana Jones-style bons mots to win us over.” It still managed to gross $300 million worldwide. It’s available to stream on Peacock.
Best known for playing heroes, Hugh Jackman manages to be just as good while playing a villain. Based on the true story of the largest public school embezzlement in American history, the 2020 film “Bad Education” follows both the Aussie star and Allison Janney as school district superintendents who steal millions of dollars from the same public school district that they seek to make the best in the country. The dark comedy immediately won viewers over when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, getting scooped up by HBO for more than $17 million. It garnered high praise from critics, with Rolling Stone describing Hugh’s work as “a career-best performance from a movie star with a genuine actor’s depth and range,” and the script as “devilishly clever and detailed.” The real Frank Tassone (Hugh’s character) spoke admiringly about his performance on “The Coach Mike Podcast,” saying he “did a very good job playing me. Especially at the end, when I walk out of prison and I see what I lost. That really hit home for me. Because I did lose all of that.” It won the Emmy Award for outstanding television movie and the actor also received a nomination.
Hugh Jackman got animated in the 2006 film “Happy Feet” as Memphis, a penguin who falls for another bird voiced by Nicole Kidman. The parents welcome a baby penguin who faces a big problem: He can’t sing a single note in a world where everyone needs a heart song to attract a soul mate, leading him to make use of his newfound dancing abilities instead. Despite being an animated feature, it incorporated motion capture of live action humans in the dance scenes, which were acted out by actual dancers. It became a favorite with families and earned more than $380 million in global ticket sales, plus won the hearts of critics. “Visually dazzling, with a thoughtful storyline and catchy musical numbers, ‘Happy Feet’ marks a successful animated debut from the makers of ‘Babe,'” wrote Rotten Tomatoes. It was the recipient of the inaugural BAFTA Award for best animated film and became the fourth non-Disney or Pixar film to win the Academy Award for best animated feature. “Happy Feet” is available to stream on HBO Max.
Teaming up once again — this time, in person — Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman star in the 2008 romantic epic “Australia,” a celebration of their shared home country. The big-budget period drama follows an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling Australian ranch and reluctantly makes a pact with a rugged stock-man to protect the property from a takeover plot. The pair fall for each other during a trip across the hard terrain of the outback before getting caught in the early Japanese bombings of World War II. It marked the highly anticipated return of director Baz Luhrmann after his Oscar-nominated musical “Moulin Rouge,” but it didn’t have the same impact with critics. That said, some did appreciate the film’s incredible visuals and throwback touches to the classic romantic epics that defined the Golden Age of Hollywood, with the Los Angeles Times writing, “If you are willing to take the plunge and view things through Luhrmann’s prism, Australia does deliver the classic dramatic and romantic satisfactions its ambitious advertising campaign promises.” It grossed more than $200 million around the world. “Australia” is available to stream on Hulu.
Also in 2008, Hugh Jackman went from romantic lead to devious villain with the erotic thriller “Deception.” He portrays a charismatic lawyer who befriends an aimless accountant, played by Ewan McGregor, and introduces him to a mysterious sex club. Ewan’s character falls for a sex worker played by Michelle Williams — until he finds himself entwined in a dangerous plot of murder and manipulation. Despite the incredible cast, which also includes Charlotte Rampling and Maggie Q, critics hated the film, with the New York Daily News going so far as to write, “Every actor has a few titles on his résumé that he’d love to forget. So should you ever have the opportunity to meet ‘Deception’ stars Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, we highly recommend you pretend this movie was never made.” It also failed to make back its budget in ticket sales, but all that aside, “Deception” marks a mindless change of pace for Hugh and gives fans a chance to see a sexier and scarier version of the movie star we all love. It can be streamed on Cinemax Go.
Keeping with the darker side of Hugh Jackman’s filmography is the 2013 thriller “Prisoners.” He stars as a father who faces his worst nightmare when his 6-year-old daughter goes missing. The lead detective on the case, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, lets the only suspect walk due to a lack of evidence, leading Hugh’s character to dangerously take matters into his own hands. The film was a financial and critical success, grossing $122 million worldwide and being chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top 10 films of the year. It also received an Academy Award nomination for best cinematography. According to The Atlantic’s review, “the work done here by Jackman, Gyllenhaal, and especially [director Denis] Villeneuve is simply too powerful to ignore.” Rarely do we get to see Hugh show off a brand of heroism that isn’t based around superpowers or rugged machismo, so this turn of vulnerability makes it a heartbreaking and impactful turn for the actor. “Prisoners” is available to stream on Hulu.
Hugh Jackman tried his hand at magic when he starred in 2006’s “The Prestige” alongside Christian Bale as rival stage magicians in London at the end of the 19th century. The two are obsessed with creating the best stage illusion, engaging in competitive one-upmanship — with fatal results. Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, and featuring an incredible ensemble that includes Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine and David Bowie, the psychological thriller is based on the 1995 novel of the same name. It marked a darker turn for Hugh — and critics like Ebert & Roeper were impressed, writing, “Jackman and Bale give standout performances as rivals whose mutual obsession destroys all sense of perspective and ruins lives.” Audiences were also intrigued, with the film grossing $109 million worldwide against a production budget of $40 million. It garnered Academy Award nominations for best art direction and best cinematography. It’s available to rent on Amazon or YouTube.
Hugh Jackman got his first shot at romance with the 2001 comedy “Someone Like You,” which stars Ashley Judd as a heartbroken talk show production assistant who’s looking for the reason she got dumped. She moves in with her womanizing co-worker, played by Hugh, in an effort to make her ex-boyfriend jealous — that is, until she starts developing feelings for her new roommate. The two leads have incredible chemistry and won over audiences with their lovefest, which got a boost from a great supporting cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin. The film wasn’t a massive hit, but it proved Hugh was more than just an action star. Rolling Stone hailed the star as “funny and touching” and said “his scenes with the dazzling Judd have a poignancy that soars above the chick-flick herd into the realm of sweet magic.” “Someone Like You” is available to rent on iTunes, Amazon or YouTube.
“Swordfish” was one of Hugh Jackman’s first roles that proved that his box office powers extend beyond the “X-Men” franchise. He leads the action flick as an ex-con and computer hacker who’s targeted for recruitment into a bank robbery conspiracy because of his formidable tech skills. It was a chance for him to take part in a powerhouse ensemble that includes John Travolta, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle — and it brought in nearly $150 million in ticket sales. The high-octane thrills and stunts received praise, but the film’s thin plot was ravaged by critics. As The New York Times wrote in its review, “A meticulously choreographed bang-by-the-numbers action fantasy that I would accuse of peddling evil if the film weren’t so dumb and incoherent.” It may be a long way from Hugh’s best work, but there’s no denying how fun it is, and it gives viewers an early look at how he began carving a career for himself outside of Marvel. “Swordfish” is available to stream on Netflix.
The most visually striking film Hugh Jackman has ever done is 2006’s “The Fountain.” The ambitious project blends elements of fantasy, history, spirituality and science fiction and consists of three storylines involving one man’s pursuit of avoiding immortality and the resulting loves lost. Co-starring Rachel Weisz, the pair play sets of characters bonded by love across time and space: a conquistador and his ill-fated queen, a modern-day scientist and his cancer-stricken wife, and a traveler immersed in a universal journey alongside aspects of his lost love. It was an opportunity for Hugh to show his acting abilities in a number of ways and marked one of the first big-budget efforts from visionary director Darren Aronofsky. That said, the film flopped at the box office and split critics. But many still praised the visual elements and the incredible effort it took to make a unique cinematic experience, with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writing, “Wolverine Man Jackman works nobly in the three parts of his trinity.” “The Fountain” is available to stream on Tubi.
Hugh Jackman works with a very unique team in 2011’s “Real Steel,” as many of his co-stars are prize-fighting robots. He plays a former boxer who retires when the pieces of metal take the ring. He’s now on a mission to build the greatest boxing robot to retain credibility in the industry, but it’s not until he partners with his estranged son that victory becomes a viable option. Animatronic robots were built for the film and motion-capture technology was used to depict the brawling of the animatronics and CGI characters. The action flick became a favorite with families, nabbing nearly $300 million in ticket sales, but critics weren’t as kind. Some felt the premise was too silly to take seriously, but others celebrated the film’s Oscar-nominated special effects and wholesome charm. “It’s as corny as Kansas, but the mix of old-fashioned heart and new-fangled animatronic cyber tech will make this picture a winner for fathers and sons,” wrote CNN in its review. “Real Steel” can be streamed on Netflix.
“Eddie the Eagle” finds Hugh at his feel-good best. The 2016 biopic follows Taron Egerton as Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British skier who in 1988 became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping since 1928. Hugh plays a fictional alcoholic snow groomer and former champion ski jumper who left the sport in his 20s after a conflict with his mentor. He first advises Eddie to give up, but Eddie’s tenacious spirit and a shared sense of being an outsider convince him to train Eddie all the way to the Olympics. The small-scale film was a box office success, becoming the highest grossing British film released in the U.K. that year. It also received glowing reviews, with many falling for the comedy’s inspiring story and warm heat. As the Toronto Sun put it, the film “is a tad sugary sweet, but thanks to the performances of Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton, the end result is a family film that’s highly entertaining.” Fans can stream “Eddie The Eagle” on Disney+.
Based on another true story, 2018’s “The Front Runner” chronicles the rise of Senator Gary Hart, a 1988 Democratic presidential nominee candidate, and his subsequent fall from grace when media reports suggested he was having an extramarital affair. Hugh Jackman stars as the disgraced politician, providing another example of his incredible knack for adding disarming charm to even the most frustrating characters. The film initially received strong awards buzz, with Hugh snagging the Hollywood Actor Award at the Hollywood Film Awards, but critics were harsh on the drama, singling out the lead actor as its one exceptional component. “Jackman’s commanding performance should be required viewing,” wrote The Australian, while The Hollywood Reporter gushed, “Jackman delivers one of his finest performances.” Even when his films aren’t must-sees, Hugh still manages to churn out a compelling performance. “The Front Runner” is available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.