July 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM ET
Hugh Jackman: Truly a man for all seasons. No matter what flavor you prefer — raging, revengeful superhero or sensitive, stalwart singer, he's got the chops (both talent and mutton) that please all kinds of audiences.
So on the eve of the release of "The Wolverine" (his sixth film as the "X-Men" character) and the announcement that he's heading back to the stage with his one-man Broadway show for a benefit night in October, we thought it was time to compare two key roles of this Jack(man) of all trades. When it's Wolverine vs."Les Miserables" Jean Valjean, who comes out on top?
Pec Appeal: Where does he lose his shirt the most?
For the most part, Jackman tends to keep his shirt on when he's singing, and as a period piece "Les Miserables" failed to give us a good look at Jackman's serious guns. But Wolverine has a hard time actually keeping his shirt on. If you go for that sort of thing (and really, who doesn't?), there's a clear answer here.
Value: Is Hugh worth more as a singer or superhero?
Answer: However you slice it, Jackman's "X-Men" franchise films are big box office around the world. He's got six (though admittedly, he was barely in "X-Men: First Class," and went uncredited). "X-Men" films account for 42% of the earnings of films Jackman has appeared in since he broke big in 2000, so while a musical here and there is all well and good don't expect him to claw his way out of the franchise biz just yet.
Awards: Who loves ya, baby?
Answer: This is pretty clear cut: An Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for "Les Miserables" (plus a handful of others for the role of Jean Valjean), and nothing nearly so prestigious for his "X-Men" character. When it comes to prestige, Valjean knows how to stick it to Wolverine.
Hair Today: How do you like his 'do?
Answer: This will be a matter of preference, but in both "Les Mis" and as Wolverine, Jackman is indeed stylin' some serious muttonchop whiskers. But then there's this look Jackman was wearing on the set of "Wolverine," looking like Tom Hanks' island buddy from "Castaway," and at the start of "Les Miserables" he sported mangy stubble up top and a full beard below. Truth is, we like him clean-shaven.
Personality: Who would you want to date?
Answer: Whether playing Wolverine or "Les Miserables'" Jean Valjean, Jackman adds a layer of complexity to his roles. But while Valjean is a tragic nice guy on the run from a malicious cop, Wolverine is a seriously pissed-off, moody guy who's only kinda sort of a hero by accident. Put it this way: Valjean would buy you dinner, while Wolverine would kill it for you. And if trouble erupted, both could perform super-heroic deeds — Wolverine with those claws and Valjean with his mighty arms — he spent years doing hard labor, remember. But only Valjean would probably call you in the morning, if he didn't need to suddenly flee town.
A tie! Who knew. The thing is, it's Hugh Jackman. We'll take him however he arrives. But what do you think? Take our poll and let us know in the "talk about it" comments below!