So I guess I’m at the end of my journey, binge watching Jackman’s Wolverine and X-men films. Days of Future Past (DoFP) is an odd film especially analyzing from the point of view of our favourite hero. In re-watching I’ve come to the conclusion that The Wolverine, Days of Future Past, and Logan create an excellent character arc for Wolverine. And on that arc DoFP marks the high tide line for Wolvy’s character, for example within this movie Wolverine is almost not-himself in his heroism, well-adjustedness, and coping. It must be the only film where he doesn’t resist being part of the team and doing the right thing. Even in X2 where he was mostly heroic there was still a tension between Wolverine working with the X-men and investigating his past. Indeed in DoFP he not only volunteers to be send into the past to save the future, but also acts as a mentor for the young Xavier. In fact Wolverine is coping so well in this movie he even talks to Xavier about the importance of him founding the X-men, that despite all the pain its important to bring them together even Jean (whose death send Wolverine into a deep depression) when I first saw the movie I wondered if Wolverine was about to try and convince Xavier to not recruit Jean in an attempt to save her. The scene instead shows Wolverine taking a deep breath and accepting her fate.
There are a couple of blips on the radar, when Wolverine encounters a young Striker he breaks down, sadly showing that despite all his personal progress he still experiences tremendous pain from his traumatic past. Even though once he comes out of the turmoil and returns to well-adjusted Wolverine (even not taking any steps to say murder Striker like perhaps a past Wolverine might have) one still feels senses a vulnerability within Wolverine.
The finale of course ends on a high note as well, but for astute observers its bittersweet for Wolverine. Our hero wakes up in a ‘fixed’ future where not only is the school saved, even Cyclops and Jean are back. It’s a touching scene for a comic book movie and well executed. What we are quickly reminded of for Wolverine however is he now has 50 years of a brutal war against mutants in his memory, while he is clearly overjoyed to see the future saved one can’t help but feel like that memory especially not being able to share it as a major injury for him.
The real brilliance of Wolverine’s character arc is across all the movies we see him go through a variety of progressions, both growth and decline. While I’m not 100% sure that the writers of DoFP wrote with Logan in mind (there is ~3 years between the films, and typically the solo movies have sat off to the side of the X-men films) nonetheless it is brilliant positioning to show Wolverine at the height of his heroism and character strength, to then see this all brought low in Logan.
Phew, I didn’t think this would happen, but I’m almost X-men and Wolverined out. I do have the Death of Wolverine comic series on order so there is more to come, but luckily for anyone following this blog there probably won’t be much more Wolverine obsession.