Wolverine is becoming as prolific in movies as he is in comics — and now we need some quality control. Here are five Wolverine moments from the comics that we hope Darren Aronofsky and other film-makers read before filming Logan.
5. The Punisher vs Wolverine
For most heroes, a story in which they get thoroughly and humiliatingly trounced in a fight shouldn't have any bearing on their story. It is their story, after all, and it should showcase their strengths and their power. The problem is, that's what the X-Men movies have been doing already. In the first he's the hard-as-nails cage fighter who instantly turns gooey for the kid and the woman. The second is so much about his intense love affair with someone else's wife. The third disposes of the husband completely so he can love Jean Grey guilt free, while he saves the world. Wolverine is supposed to be the underdog. In the comics, he's the guy who defeats mutants with godlike powers through sheer determination and a few pieces of metal. In the movies, he's godlike himself.
Did most people, and any Wolverine fans, like the beat down from The Punisher? No. Did they ever again think that a victory for Wolverine was assured when Garth Ennis was writing him? No, they did not. Every movie needs to make you think, if only for a fleeting second when you're overcome with emotion, that the hero won't succeed. Wolverine needs a knock down solid enough to make us believe that in his next movie.
4. Wolverine: Get Mystique
This story was described to me as "Wolverine and Mystique play Tom & Jerry," and that is exactly what it is. The only reason why you don't see Wolverine peering into a hole in the wall while Mystique sneaks up behind him and puts his tail in a mousetrap is because Wolverine doesn't have a tail. Logan doesn't even have to break character. The fact that he's stone-cold serious about it all while Mystique is a gleeful imp bent on destruction just makes it that much more entertaining.
Of course, Wolverine has already gotten Mystique in the X-Men movies. She's gotten some of him as well. The specific character doesn't matter, it's the fight that does. Remember in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? When you realize you're one and a half hours into hearing Will and Elizabeth moaning about each other for three hours? And then Johnny Depp has a slapstick fight scene so inspired that you're laughing about it for the rest of the movie? Turn the violence on those scenes up by a million, and you have something that willl liven up a Wolverine movie.
3. Wolverine: The Package
I know that everyone thinks bloggers occupy a remote, rarified sphere. I know that they think we can't understand the tastes, trends, and concerns of other people. I know that they think we sit in our ivory basements and spin crazy yarns that have no bearing on anything except the echo-chamber we inhabit. But that's not true. We're human. We have human failings and human desires, and by that I mean: Cute Little Baby with Big Tough Guy! Awwwwwwwww!
Look, say whatever you want about it, babies are cute. Especially when you don't have to deal with the glop they put out. And babies are funny. Especially when other people do have to deal with that glop. This is a formula that works.
On top of that, look at the art for this book. This is the kind of art that made Sin City so visually striking. Incorporating it into the film would be a nice change from the visually bland last Wolverine movie.
2. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine
Like I said, some formulas just work. Big tough laconic guy. Little skinny chatty guy. Add some zaniness, and you get fun.
This one I picked because it had a nutty story to go with everything else. Wolvey and Spidey get sent back to the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event. Wolverine fights with Spider-Man and stomps off to the next valley to become the leader of some . . . I don't know what they are exactly, but they have fur. Spider-Man grows a beard. They skip randomly through time and fight a lot.
There are two reasons I'm picking this. These two characters mash up pretty well, both as types and as individuals. Wolverine's a good character but he needs someone to play off, otherwise he's just brooding all the time. The reason why he's brooding is the second reason why I'm choosing this. Wolverine only has one story; the Powers That Be stole his memory and his girl died. And we have seen that story at least twice already. The guy needs a new angle, and the next movie needs to give him one.
1. Wolverine: Enemy of the State and Wolverine: Agent of SHIELD
There's an alternative to all of that. Instead of Wolverine being cute with a baby and playing off of Spider-Man, instead of Wolverine mixing it up with a villain who can dish out the punishment as fast as he can take it like Mystique, instead of Wolverine getting his ass kicked hard by the Punisher, the movie could just have him kill . . . everyone.
Wolverine's famous line is "I'm the best at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice." So far? It's looked pretty nice to me. In the movies Wolverine's helped runaways and mutants and humans and everyone else who came his way. The Wolverine of the movies, and of the comics, is a guy anyone would feel pretty safe with, I think. He's done a lot of good work for a lot of people, without asking for anything in return. He should feel pretty good about himself.
In the above two trades, we see some of that not-so-nice behavior. He gets brainwashed, kills a lot of no-names, and hospitalizes all the named characters on his side. Then he realizes he was brainwashed, and kills the hell out of the people who brainwashed him. There's no time spent cuddling with his girlfriend or being a lumberjack. He just murders people.
Let's face it, Wolverine has always been a fake anti-hero and a fake 'bad boy'. There's a lot of talk of his temper and how he has to keep the rage under control and how he's a loose cannon, and yet he never does anything to deserve such a reputation. He's a guy who fights and fights hard — but that's not really any different from any other Marvel character. A two hour killing spree? Would finally make him live up to that reputation. Maybe that's what we need in a Wolverine movie.