This article may contain spoilers for the X-Men film franchise. You've been warned, filthy flatscans..
Given the recent success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the hype around the upcoming X-Men: Daysof Future Past, I've gone back and watched the MCU and X-Men films, and have come to two conclusions I'd like to share.
The important thing to note here is that, while I was very much into and up-to-date on comics in my younger years, I haven't really followed comics story-lines with any real dedication in some time. I've made sure to catch up on the major storylines here and there, but that's about it. I know there's a few characters that have suffered from some real over-exposure, and I know Wolverine's one of them, but we're not here to talk about Comics Wolverine.
To date, there have allegedly been 4 X-Men films and two Wolverine films. Setting aside the circle-jerk for a moment about certain films never having existed (Highlander 2, Batman and Robin, X-Men 3, Origins: Wolverine), I would posit a different count. There has been one X-Men film, and five Wolverine films.
- X-Men: Where Wolverine is hunted by Magneto and crew, meets up with Xavier and crew, calls Cyclops a dick, flirts with Jean Grey. PLOT TWIST: Mags is really after Rogue, but Wolverine still saves the day.
- X-Men 2: X2: X-Men United (2?) Wolverine goes looking for his origins, finds the facility he was enhanced at, flirts with Jean Grey some more, and shares a bro-hug with Scott "You're a dick" Summers at Jean's heroic (and badass) sacrifice.
- X-Men 3: The (not really) Last Stand: Wolverine stars in a story that's not even really about him but he still manages to steal every goddamn scene in the film. Cyclops written off in terribly dismissive fashion by butt-hurt writing team because he was in a Superman film (that managed to be more dull than this one) too, Wolverine flirts with Jean Grey some more then saves the day.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine: A comedy of bad special effects and weak performances from everyone except Hugh Jackman (of course), Liev Schreiber (who manages to make Sabretooth a psychologically scary bad-guy like he's supposed to be), and Ryan Reynolds (who manages to portray both the perfect and dead-worst versions of Deadpool you could imagine). Does not flirt with Jean Grey.
- X-Men: First Class: aka the one with only a tiny Wolverine cameo(no time to flirt with Jean Grey). This one is the only one that is truly an X-Men movie. Also the only one that gave Mystique a personality. Second best in the franchise, in my opinion, only topped by..
- The Wolverine: aka Hugh Jackman wakes up in the middle of the night to eat an entire goddamn chicken, and bro does he ever lift. They finally stop holding back and let Wolverine slice up enough Yukuza and Ninjas to fill Rhode Island. Confusingly, still flirting with Jean Grey. Gets treated to a common Superman trope, where his powers are stripped from him to show that this is serious. Also, crossover bonus: Madame Hydra is one of the villains.
- And coming soon: X-Men: Days of Future Past - Tyrion Lannister threatens to unleash killer robots after the X-Men, so Captain Picard and Gandalf send Future Wolverine into Past Wolverine to help Katniss Everdeen and the young, pretty Xavier and Magneto change the course of history. More Wolverine. Silly looking Quicksilver. Bishop's dumb cape. Blink looks awesome.
Which leads me to my second conclusion: Wolverine should be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hugh Jackman owns this role. Totally. When he's Wolverine, he is on. According to every interview I've seen, Jackman loves playing the role and takes this 100% seriously. Jackman's Wolverine is the Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark of the X-Men franchise, with one key difference.
RDJ is surrounded by incredible performances. From Rhodey and Pepper and Happy in his own movies to Widow and Fury in SHIELD, to Banner and Captain America in the Avengers, RDJ's Tony Stark is a star that shines brightly even amongst other stars. Jackman's Wolverine, with the exception of Sir Patrick and Sir Ian's Xavier and Magneto, just doesn't have the same calibre of supporting cast.
Yeah, as a fan, I've love to see Jackman's Wolverine standing shoulder to shoulder with the Avengers, and there's a precedent for it in the comics, but even deeper than that I feel that Jackman's love and dedication to that role deserves a stronger supporting cast, and that supporting cast is The Avengers. Rights and contracts be damned, I plead to both FOX and Marvel. Make up, play nice, and please bring Wolverine to Avengers 3.