Tag Archives: Hugh Jackman

Bringing The X-men Into The MCU: What To Do And What To Avoid

x-men-joining-the-mcu

These are exciting times for fans of Marvel and superhero movies. We thought we had reached a high point in 2012 when “The Avengers” came out. Then, we reached an even higher point this year with “Avengers: Infinity War.” Between raising the bar for superhero movies as a whole and generating billions at the box office, it seems impossible that Marvel could ascend any higher.

Well, Marvel Studios treat the impossible the same way the Hulk treats puny gods. They made Ant Man a successful movie franchise. They turned an obscure comic book featuring a talking raccoon into a multi-billion dollar phenomenon. At this point, doing the impossible is just another day at the office for Marvel and their Disney overlords.

In wake of the recent Disney/Fox merger, Kevin Feige and the brain trust at Marvel Studios will have even more tools with which to raise the bar. Even if they’re just running up the score at this point compared to the competition, there’s still plenty of room to grow now that they’ve got the entire mythos of the X-men and the Fantastic Four to work with.

This is already set to happen. Bob Iger himself has already indicated that there are plans to integrate the X-men and Fantastic Four into the MCU. How Marvel Studios will go about this is anyone’s guess and plenty of people have been sharing their guesses. I’ve tried to resist the temptation, but being a lifelong X-men fan and a lover of superhero movies in general, my restraint only goes so far.

However, I don’t want to wildly speculate or push an elaborate fan theory. Again, more than a few people have already done that. Instead, I’d like to do something a bit more generalized. Similar to my other articles on how not to screw up certain movies, I want to provide a guide of sorts.

At the very least, let’s avoid this.

I’m not going to get into specifics. Kevin Feige and a host of other people way smarter than me or anyone else on the internet are perfectly capable of handling those. Being a devout X-men fan, though, I feel like I can offer some basic pointers on what to do and what to avoid in bringing mutants into the MCU.

I think the X-men need that more than the Fantastic Four, at this point. Unlike Marvel’s First Family, the X-men entering the MCU will have far greater implications and not just because the last “Fantastic Four” movie almost killed the franchise. Mutants showing up in the MCU changes everything from what defines a superhero to how the physics of that universe operate.

At the same time, the X-men embody a particular theme, one that was relevant in 1963 when they first appeared, but has become relevant in entirely new ways in the 21st century. The last 18 years of X-men movies have tried to capture those themes, some being more successful than others. For the X-men to work in the MCU, it needs to capture those themes and get the characters right after Hugh Jackman set such a high bar.

Yes, it’s a daunting challenge, but one that Marvel Studios and their Disney overlords are more than equipped to handle. To achieve that success, and all the billions that come with it, here’s what I think they should pursue and what I think they should avoid.


Do: Tie The Events Of “Avengers: Infinity War” To Mutants (But Only Indirectly)

This is already part of the wild speculation surrounding “Avengers: Infinity War.” It would make sense to some degree, having Thanos’ universe-shaking actions lead directly to the creation and introduction of mutants in the MCU. However, I think having a direct link might undercut both the X-men and ultimate resolution of “Avengers 4.”

That’s why it would work better for both franchises if the link was indirect, at most. Part of the appeal of the MCU is that there are connections everywhere, but most of those connections are fairly loose. Sure, Dr. Strange will get a mention in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” but the movie doesn’t center around setting up another franchise.

Ideally, the X-men would follow the same approach. Perhaps Nick Fury mentions some strange genetic anomalies popping up. Perhaps Bruce Banner or Black Widow mentions rumors of other living weapons, which could be a reference for Weapon X. Let those small hints establish that mutants exist, but save the particulars for an actual X-men movie.


Avoid: Having Mutants Appear Without Explaining Their Absence

This is probably the most daunting challenge for Marvel Studios to date, explaining how mutants exist in the MCU and why they’ve been absent thus far. Most people with an internet connection know why the MCU could never mention the X-men. Their movie rights were owned by another studio.

Just because Disney owns Fox now doesn’t mean that mutants can just suddenly appear. It’s not like magic in “Dr. Strange” or the Asgardians in “Thor.” These forces could operate under the radar, independently, and on a small scale. Mutants, by their very nature, cannot act like that.

The most defining theme of mutants, as they exist in Marvel, is that they’re random. They manifest all over the world in every major human population, regardless of geography, culture, language, or ethnicity. That’s not something that can just be ignored while aliens invade New York or killer robots invade Sokovia.

At the very least, an X-men movie in the MCU needs to establish a valid reason for why they’ve been absent. Moreover, it can’t just be the result of experiments or mad science, which was done in Marvel’s now-defunct Ultimate line comics and is way too similar to the Inhumans, whose TV show failed miserably.

Luckily for Marvel and Disney, there’s already an established way to do this and it came from an underrated cartoon called “X-men Evolution.” In that world, mutants are there, but their existence is kept secret by Charles Xavier. The events of “The Avengers” could give them even more reasons for keeping that secret and the whole movie could be built around mutants finally coming out.

Considering how mutants have often been used to symbolize the struggle of minorities, I think that’s both appropriate and compelling.


Do: Make The First Team Of X-men Young And Idealistic

The early X-men movies were a lot of things. Upbeat wasn’t one of them. The original “X-men” trilogy was very serious, full of brooding and tension, even among the younger characters. That worked for the early 2000s when superhero movies needed to get serious after the “Batman and Robin” fiasco. It won’t work in this current era.

The original X-men were teenagers when they first donned their costumes. They weren’t hardened soldiers like Captain America. They were lovably idealistic in pursuing Charles Xavier’s dream, believing they could be the ones that change the world. Unlike most teenagers armed only with a cell phone and no adult baggage, they have the powers to actually achieve it.

The heroes in “The Avengers” already provided plenty of jaded adult perspectives. The X-men can offer the youthful, idealistic perspective that’s so endearing, but so easy to undermine. That’s how the X-men started in the comics and that’s how they’ll thrive in the MCU.


Avoid: Making Wolverine The Center Of Everything

This is a caveat that’s just as relevant today as it was in the early 2000s when the “X-men” movies first came out. Now, I love Wolverine as much as the next X-men fan, but he is not the center of the X-men’s world. As lovable as Hugh Jackman is, the world of X-men cannot and should not be defined by all things Wolverine.

I would even go so far as to keep Wolverine out of the first X-men movie that takes place in the MCU. Establish the team before bringing him into the picture because it’s inevitable that he’ll command a lot of energy. If anything, Wolverine should get his own solo movie before he meets the X-men. Having held down three movies, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch.

Wolverine is a great character, but he can’t be the main driving force of the X-men again. He already was with the original “X-men” movies and the MCU doesn’t need to follow that path again. Let Wolverine thrive on his own. Let the X-men thrive on their own. If they can complement one another along the way, then everybody wins.


Do: Highlight What Makes Mutants Different From Other Super-powered Beings

This is something that even the comics don’t do particularly well. Within that world, mutants exist alongside all types of heroes, from gamma-powered hulks to inter-dimensional refugees to Superman rip-offs. However, mutants are still hated and feared for being different.

The reasons for that are many, but poorly fleshed out. Unlike the Inhumans or unlucky teenagers who get bit by a spider, mutants are random. They’re born with their powers and they can’t avoid them. Being a mutant is like being a particular race. You can’t change what you are. That’s exactly what makes mutants both different and disconcerting for the public.

We already saw in “Captain America: Civil War” that the governments of the world are quite anxious about controlling super-powered beings. Add mutants to the mix and the potential for conflict is even greater. The foundation is there. The X-men just have to build on it.


Avoid: Making The Hatred And Mistrust Of Mutants Seem Contrived

This plays directly into my last point, but there’s a reason it’s worth highlighting. Like the comics, the MCU already has plenty of super-powered, super-capable beings that governments and average people rightly fear. There are legitimate reasons for that fear. Most people wouldn’t trust Elon Musk with a suit of armor. Why should they trust Tony Stark?

Fear and hatred of mutants is the primary driving force of conflict in the X-men. It’s also the primary motivator for characters like Magneto. That fear and hatred has to be different than the other logistical concerns that played out in “Captain America: Civil War.”

Dealing with mutants can’t just be about holding them accountable through some international treaty. Mutants are a lot more chaotic because they’re random and not every mutant seeks to be a superhero, which is part of why Charles Xavier formed a school in the first place.

The measures in the MCU, as well as the logic behind them, need to be different. At a time when people being detained is a hot-button issue, the X-men have could be extra relevant.


Do: Establish Minor, But Relevant Links To Other MCU Characters

A big part of the appeal in the MCU is how everything seems connected. Captain America has links to Tony Stark’s father, Howard. Spider-Man has a close link to Iron Man, as well. “Thor: Ragnarok” established some ties with Dr. Strange. “Guardians of the Galaxy” created ties with Thanos that later played out in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

These kinds of links help make the MCU the box office powerhouse that it is and those links should continue in X-men. Again, the foundation is there. Carol Danvers, who is set to appear in “Captain Marvel,” already has close ties to the X-men in the comics. Wolverine even had close ties to Captain America during World War II.  Storm also has a documented, but flawed history with Black Panther.

How these links emerge depends heavily on how Marvel Studios decides to bring the X-men into the MCU. If they shake up reality or tweak the timelines, then there will be opportunities to establish these links. If they opt for something less messy, then they can just as easily focus on setting new links for future movies. Either way works, provided it’s done right.


Avoid: Creating Unnecessary Rivalries Or Conflicts

This is something that could very well happen if those connections I mentioned earlier aren’t done particularly well. I know it will be tempting for Marvel Studios to pursue a big “Avengers vs. X-men” event like the one that played out in the comics. Personally, I think that would be a mistake and not just because “Captain America: Civil War” already played that idea out.

Superheroes fighting other superheroes can be compelling, but it’s easy to overdo. It also has a nasty tendency to bring out the worst in all the characters involved. That has happened more than once in the comics, especially recently. Whenever heroes fight each other, nobody really comes off as heroes and that’s not a healthy way to develop quality characters. It just makes them seem petty.

The X-men already have a lengthy list of quality villains beyond Magneto. The original trilogy did a poor job of utilizing them. The MCU has already dealt with a significant villain problems in the past, but has since raised the bar with characters like Thanos and Erik Killmonger. Before the X-men start butting heads with the Avengers, let them clash with the likes of Sinister and Mastermold first.


Do: Let Ryan Reynolds Continue Being Deadpool

Does this really need an explanation? Deadpool is awesome. Ryan Reynolds is lovable, talented, and charismatic. It’s not broke so don’t try to fix it. Just let Deadpool be Deadpool and let the money roll in.

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Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Deadpool, superhero movies, X-men

Why Wolverine Of The X-men Is The Perfect Counter To Toxic Masculinity

During a debate, the biggest challenge is making a point that strikes the right chords, evokes the right emotions, and has some semblance of logic. Anyone who has ever engaged in a meaningful debate, be it a formal contest or an argument on a message board, understands the extent of that challenge.

Sometimes, you have to get creative to make those points. Thankfully, getting creative for an aspiring erotica/romance writer and die-hard comic book fan is easier than it is for most people. Every now and then, your mind makes unexpected connections that perfectly encompasses the message you’ve been trying to convey.

This brings me back to “toxic masculinity,” a term I still believe should be retired from the English language, and every other language for that matter. I’ve dedicated multiple posts to deconstructing this concept. Now, I want to take it a step further.

I want to re-frame my stance on this concept by offering a different kind of argument. I’ve already argued that context and social situations are the primary driving force of the traits often ascribed to toxic masculinity.

I still think the point I made about context and social situation is difficult to grasp, even with the references to the rat park experiments. Most people outside of psychology buffs aren’t familiar with those experiments. Instead, I want to make my point by referencing a character that the vast majority of people have heard of to some extent.

Some know him as Logan, James Howlett, Weapon X, or that snarling guy with the claws who helped make Hugh Jackman famous. Most simply know him as Wolverine.

Yes, I’m going to bring Wolverine, one of the most famous male superheroes of all time, into a discussion about toxic masculinity, but not in the way you think. Being an ardent X-men fan who has used superheroes to make points in the past, I feel uniquely qualified to link this iconic character to this concept that so many resent.

On the surface, that sounds like a losing battle. Bear with me, though. When you take a step back and look at Wolverine in the context of masculinity, as a whole, you’ll find that he’s the perfect embodiment of a man who guts the idea of toxic masculinity with his claws and spits on its corpse.

That may seem counter-initiative because anyone who is even somewhat familiar with Wolverine might see him as a man who embodies all the negative traits associated with masculinity. He’s brutish, crude, ill-mannered, ill-tempered, impulsive, violent, and irresponsible. He has all those traits on top of a tendency to go after married women.

However, before anyone starts attributing those traits to toxic masculinity, it’s important to understand the complexities of Wolverine’s story. There’s a reason why he’s often ranked as one of the most compelling characters in the history of comics. His life, persona, and story are full of all sorts of twists and turns. More than anything else, though, Wolverine’s story is one built on dehumanization.

Whether it’s the comics, movies, are cartoons, this is the primary driving force of Wolverine’s story. From his earliest origins to his most defining moments, Wolverine is a man who has been subjected to extreme forms of dehumanization. Some of them, especially those involved in the Weapon X program that made him, have no real-world parallel outside the mind of a North Korean mad scientist.

He’s had his memories erased, his mind warped, his body tortured, and even his soul stolen by a demon. Even by comic book standards, Wolverine has been roughed up more than most. Many people of exceedingly villainous tendencies have tried to strip him of his humanity and turn him into a living, breathing weapon. Needless to say, most of those people died horribly.

As a result, Wolverine is one of the most violent and unpredictable characters in all of comics. He’s also one of the most dangerous, having killed every major hero in the Marvel universe at one point and survived death itself on more than one occasion.

The most remarkable feat though, which also happens to strike directly at the very foundation of toxic masculinity, is his continued desire to cling to his humanity and be the iconic hero that so many X-men fans love.

It’s that drive, and the endearing persona that emerges from it, that makes Wolverine the perfect counter-punch to toxic masculinity. Despite all these dehumanizing forces, he still clings to his humanity. That effort, which has played out in many comics, movies, and cartoons over the years, reflects one important concept.

In essence, Wolverine reflects the idea that it’s really hard to make a man behave in such a toxic way. In order for him to be the kind of man that most people attribute to toxic masculinity, it’s necessary to torture him endlessly, strip him of all identity, and undercut his humanity in the worst way possible. If that kind of force is required, then how can anyone claim that masculinity is inherently toxic?

If those sorts of traits were inherent in men, then someone like Wolverine wouldn’t need that kind of conditioning. He wouldn’t need to be tortured or coerced into being the brutish, blood-thirsty monster that Weapon X wants him to be. If toxic masculinity were valid, someone would just have to give him some metal claws, send him out into the world, and let the magic of testosterone do the rest.

That’s not how men work, though, even in the fictional world. In X-men comics, as well as real life, ideas of masculinity guide men in different ways. For Wolverine, those ways led him to becoming an X-men, an Avenger, and an iconic hero who helped make Hugh Jackman famous. It shows in more than just his heroism.

Throughout his history in the X-men comics, Wolverine has shown that when he’s not being coerced or tortured, he makes an effort to live an honorable life. He seeks love, having even married a couple of a times. He seeks friendships and relationships, some of which have helped make characters like Kitty Pryde and Jubilee famous in their own right. He basically tries to be his own man.

Even though he’s still an asshole at times, he’s an asshole in a way that’s gender neutral. The things Wolverine does that make him an ass are the same things that apply to women. Whether it’s going after someone else’s spouse, undercutting someone’s authority, or randomly running off to do his own thing, there’s nothing Wolverine does that a woman couldn’t also do.

That leads directly to what might be an even more compelling argument for Wolverine being the antithesis of toxic masculinity. That’s because there is a female character who shares many of Wolverine’s experiences and exemplifies the same traits. Those who saw the “Logan” movie last year already know where I’m going with this.

It’s his clone/daughter, Laura “X-23” Kinney. In a sense, she doubles down on the idea that these “toxic” traits are not inherently masculine because she endured dehumanization to a similar extent. In fact, her dehumanization was even worse because she wasn’t given a name, only a number.

Like Wolverine, being subjected to such dehumanization rendered Laura violent, impulsive, and callous. If she were male, then it would be easy for advocates of toxic masculinity to slap her with that label, just like Wolverine. However, her being female undercuts that argument from its very foundation.

Together, the character and story surrounding Wolverine and X-23 undercuts toxic masculinity by establishing that the toxic effects of dehumanization don’t apply to just one gender. Strip away someone’s identity, social support, and humanity and they’ll demonstrate more than a few toxic traits.

What this means in terms of the bigger picture is that those traits attributed to toxic masculinity have a larger context that goes beyond gender. These traits that are tied to certain male behaviors are correlated to one thing, but not necessarily tied to the actual cause. Being a man doesn’t make Wolverine who he is. Being a man who was subject to dehumanizing treatment did that.

Now, apply that to a world where the very idea of masculinity is being subject to all sorts of scrutiny. Joss Whedon went so far as to call certain masculine tendencies a disease when making excuses for his infidelity. By linking everything bad in the world to masculinity, it dehumanizes men by making them seem inherently flawed.

That’s the most insidious implication of toxic masculinity. It’s very much akin to the forces behind Weapon X in that it attempts to deconstruct a core part of someone’s identity, reducing them to a hunk of flesh to be molded for someone else.

Most men don’t want that. Most people, in general, don’t want that. It’s yet another reason why the idea of toxic masculinity needs to be gutted with adamantium claws, locked in an adamantium case, and thrown into the deepest, darkest pits of the real and fictional world.

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Sexy Sunday Thoughts: The Hugh Jackman Appreciation Edition

This weekend has been a big deal for X-men fans, comic book fans, and people who just think Hugh Jackman is God’s gift to this world. The “Logan” movie is out. If you haven’t seen it yet, what the hell is your excuse? Short of a death in the family, a life-threatening illness, or a date with Taylor Swift, there is none.

It’s exciting, but bittersweet for X-men fans. With this monumental movie, Hugh Jackman is hanging up his claws. He will no longer play Wolverine. I’ve talked about why this movie matters and why it’s importance goes beyond catering to comic book fans like myself. There will probably be many more discussions on this movie and its associated topics down the line. For now, though, Hugh Jackman has done his part.

What can you say about the man that hasn’t already been said or screamed by women with vivid imaginations during sex? He’s one of the most likable guys in Hollywood who doesn’t sell cocaine. He’s a truly special soul.

As a noted X-men fan, I can say for certain that his contributions to X-men and comic book movies will be celebrated for generations to come. Whatever he does next in his storied career, I wish him nothing but the best. May he enjoy critical praise and nude scenes with every actress on “Game of Thrones” for the rest his career.

That’s why I’d like to dedicate this week’s edition of “Sexy Sunday Thoughts” to the man who dedicated 17 years of his life to playing everyone’s favorite razor-clawed, whiskey chugging, mutton-chops wielding Canadian. I doubt he’ll ever read this, but Mr. Jackman, consider this my way of saying thanks.


“Teenagers have any number of reasons for being miserable, but you rarely see miserable teenagers with healthy sex lives. Coincidence?”

I like to think of myself as an expert on miserable teenagers, seeing as how I had a talent for misery throughout high school. I know all about the things that make a teenager sad, depressed, and just plain pissed off at the world.

For the teenagers that had healthy sex lives, and I know this because teenagers suck at shutting up, they weren’t really that miserable. It turns out that, despite all the fears about teen sex, it is possible for some teenagers to be responsible about it. The result is less misery. Go figure.


“Teach a man to love a woman and he’ll dedicate himself to finding the one for him. Teach a man to go down on a woman and that woman he’s seeking will find him.”

I consider this critical romantic advice for men who seek the love of women. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I explore all sorts of ideas about love, sex, and intimacy. In that exploration, I’ve learned that it’s not enough to just be passionate about finding a significant other. You also have to give those whose love you seek incentive.

When it comes to incentives, it’s hard to top good oral sex. It doesn’t matter how bad a day a man or woman is having. If their day ends with good oral sex, it’s a good day. That, my fellow men, will streamline any romantic quest.


“Does a prostitute at a singles bar defeat the purpose?”

People go to singles bars to seek out new romantic partners, hook up, and get laid if their lucky. It’s a complex game, one that requires an elaborate mating dances of sorts. Put it in a nature show and it’s basically a documentary with more rap music in the background.

A prostitute, male or female, circumvents that dance. There’s no ambiguity with their goals. There’s no elaborate dance beyond haggling how much extra it costs for oral. Not saying prostitutes have no place in a singles bar. They definitely do. However, they do sort of undermine the principle.


“If pole dancing qualifies as exercise, then lap dances should count as romance.”

Pole dancing is a new fitness trend. That’s not a joke. Seriously, this is actually a thing. I’m not too big on fitness fads these days, but this just feels like an excuse for people to exercise their elaborate stripper fantasies that they don’t want to share with their significant others.

If that’s really the case, then they why do things halfway? Why not go the extra distance and throw lap dances into the mix? If you’re going to call stuff like that fitness, then let’s at least be as flexible when it comes to romance.


“A trained gynecologist has no excuse for being bad at cunnilingus.”

This is just basic logic. Doctors go to school for a long time and have to learn a lot of things about the human body that most people never get to know, nor do they want to know. A gynecologist is just one of many specialties and I imagine it has a certain appeal that other parts of the body just can’t match.

So if someone is a trained and competent gynecologist, they should know the mechanics of giving women good oral sex. If they don’t, then what’s that say about their competence as a doctor? You can get away with being incompetent at some things. Gynecology is not one of them.


“Crossfit is to exercise what fisting is to sex.”

This is more an indictment about crossfit than it is about fisting. Now we all have certain sex acts that we consider uncomfortable or extreme. Some are just built for those acts and for those people, I say more power to them.

Crossfit, however, is one of those things where people seem to go out of their way to punish their bodies. It’s intense, it’s strenuous, and it doesn’t work for everybody. However, the people involved, much like those who love fisting too much, don’t shut the fuck up about it. Now I’m all for better sex and exercise. I don’t need people getting evangelical about it.


“No epic love story ever began with a drunken bar bet that involved public nudity.”

I’m sure there are any number of one-night stands and hookups that began with bar bets and public nudity. I may even write about some of those stories in my novels at some point. For a truly epic love story, though, I’m just as certain that it’s not a viable starting point.

Now I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for bar bets and public nudity, especially during Mardi Gras. However, if you’re trying to craft an epic love story, you’re probably going to need a better starting point.


“A teenage boy can’t truly say he’s smart until he’s learned how to get semen stains out of his bed sheets.”

This is something men everywhere have to deal with at some point, but rarely talk about. As teenagers, our dicks get us into all sorts of trouble. Even when we’re sleeping, they like to screw with us. So when our dreams get a little too vivid, the results tend to lead to awkward conversations with parents.

For those teenage boys who consider themselves smart and resourceful, they find a way to hide the evidence and avoid those conversations. I don’t care how many AP classes you take. If you’re not smart enough to hide the evidence of your Jennifer Lawrence fantasies from your mother, then you can’t call yourself smart.


That’s it for now. On behalf of Wolverine fans and people who just fine Hugh Jackman sexy as hell, I thank you. Mr. Jackman, this one’s for you. You spent 17 years playing Wolverine, the most badass comic book character of all time. Thank you for making the world a little sexier.

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The Logan Movie And Why It Matters

Today is a big day for X-men fans. As such, that means it’s a big day for me. I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear on this blog that I’m a big comic book fan and a big X-men fan. Hell, I dedicated an entire post to explaining why Storm is a better role model for girls than Wonder Woman. If that’s not enough to get my point across, then you’re just being difficult.

Today, the X-men fan in me is giddier than a school girl in a house full of puppies because this is the day the “Logan” movie comes out. This is not just another superhero movie for me, nor is it just another attempt by Fox to keep the X-men movie rights from returning to Marvel, although that certainly is part of it. This movie represents the end of an era for X-men and the potential beginning of another.

This movie was destined to be bittersweet because Hugh Jackman made clear that this movie would be his last time playing Wolverine. For X-men fans of the past 17 years, this is a big fucking deal. Hugh Jackman is to Wolverine what dick jokes are to Deadpool. They’re so intrinsically tied to one another. They make each other inherently better.

The fact that anyone can play the same character for 17 years in a major action movie that requires a ridiculous workout regiment says just as much about Hugh Jackman as it does about Wolverine. In that same time, we’ve had three actors play Spider-Man, two actors play Batman, and two actors play Superman. There has always been one Wolverine. Jackman sets that high bar. The cast of Justice League should take notice.

As an X-men fan, I will be sad to see Jackman hang up his claws after this. Wolverine will never be the same without him, but he’s better as a character because of him. For that, I will be eternally thankful to Mr. Jackman for his passion and dedication.

However, there’s another reason to be excited about this movie and it has little to do with Hugh Jackman or his sex appeal. I know. That’s a bold claim. I know many of the ladies out there would passionately disagree, but that reason is every bit as important as Jackman’s sexiness.

For this particular movie, as well as the future of the X-men in general, Wolverine isn’t the alpha and omega of all things X-men. It’s not just because the cast for X-men is so large and diverse. In this movie, Logan literally can’t be that guy anymore. His body, his spirit, and his resolve are breaking down. Even with metal bones and a healing factor, he just can’t do what he does anymore, nor does he even want to.

That’s where Laura “X-23” Kinny comes in. Who is X-23 and why should you care? Well, make no mistake. X-23 is a major reason to see this movie. She’s also a major reason to read the X-men comics because she is very much a part of the legacy that Wolverine has created.

X-23, who is played by Dafne Keen this movie, is one of the most important characters to enter the X-men comics in the past 20 years. She debuted in 2004 in season 3 of the X-men cartoon, X-men Evolution. For a kids show that aired on Saturday mornings, her story is pretty damn harsh.

On paper, she’s a clone of Wolverine. That’s not a new concept. Comic books are full of clone characters and stories about clones. Some of them are decent. Some are infamously terrible. However, X-23 took it many steps further.

Like Wolverine, she’s prone to outbursts of violent rage. She prefers solving her problems by stabbing them and she’ll spit, swear, and snarl in ways that would make any man’s balls feel a little bit smaller. She’s not a tomboy. She’s the kind of girl who beats the shit out of tomboys and looks badass doing it.

However, her story goes even deeper than that. X-23 never carried herself as a clone. She always carried herself as a part of Wolverine’s family. At first, she hated it. In fact, in her debut episode of X-men Evolution, she tried to kill him. Her reasons are best summed up by one succinct quote.

This is your fault, everything I am is because of you!

What exactly is she and why does she blame Wolverine? Well, one of the most defining traits, aside from his convoluted romantic history, about Wolverine is his mysterious past. It’s mysterious because a good chunk of it has been wiped from his memory. This mystery is a big part of what drove the first two Wolverine movies.

With X-23, however, she has no such luxury. She remembers everything and not just because she’s just a teenager. She remembers all the ways her creators tortured her. At least Logan got to live a life before he became a living weapon. X-23 was created from birth to be that same weapon. Every waking hour of her childhood was dedicated to turning her into a heartless killing machine.

Now I know I joke about how traumatic high school is for some teenagers, but what X-23 went through defies even the worst high school experiences, including gym class. She has been so systematically conditioned, trained, and abused to become more a thing than a person that it pisses her off and rightfully so.

In both X-men Evolution, and her comic book origin story “X-23: Innocence Lost,” she turns on her creators. By that, I mean she fucking maims every one of them. However, she still sees Logan as the reason she exists. It’s his DNA that made her. At first, she sees him as a source of pain. Eventually, though, she comes to see him as her salvation.

This is what is so meaningful and relevant about X-23 and her story. She was literally created to be more weapon than human. She was not supposed to have family, emotions, or attachments of any kind. Despite this, and all the torture that came with it, she still sought those connections out.

She even achieved it, thanks to her own efforts, as well as Logan. She came to see him as a father rather than an enemy. Logan, despite his predilection for beer and married women, embraced the opportunity to be a father to this girl. He brought out the best in X-23 and she brought out the best in him.

As a character, X-23 is both compelling and relevant. With Hugh Jackman leaving the X-men movies, who else can carry on his legacy? Deadpool can do a lot, even with his pants on, but even the sex appeal of Ryan Reynolds has its limits.

The X-men comics have already taken that step. After Wolverine died in a final battle against his creators, X-23 decided to honor her father’s legacy by taking on his mantle. On top of that, the yellow spandex looks better on her.

There’s one more reason why X-23 is so important to the future of the X-men, superhero movies, and female characters as a whole. At the moment, every comic company and movie producer not on a cocaine binge is trying to create better female characters. In many respects, they have plenty to work with.

DC and the Justice League have Wonder Woman, who is a already a female icon. Marvel has Captain Marvel, who they are working tirelessly to make into a female icon. The X-men also have Storm, a female character whose grace and badassery transcend race, gender, or whatever else hippies bitch about. However, X-23 represents something that’s different and vital.

It’s not just that these iconic female characters are all adults who have established themselves in competent roles. These characters try to embody the best of what women can be. X-23 follows a different struggle. She fights to overcome the dehumanization she endured as a child and become her own person. It’s a constant struggle, one that leads to some pretty brutal moments, but one that’s wholly relevant in 2017.

While “Logan” may be Hugh Jackman’s swan song to an iconic character, it’s also a celebration of the emergence of X-23. At a time when women have plenty of reasons to dread, X-23 represents the will and strength to confront those challenges, stab them, look damn good while doing it.

All his life, and through Hugh Jackman’s charisma, Wolverine claimed to be the best he was at what he did. Now, thanks to X-23, he can rest easy knowing that his legacy is secure.

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A Deadpool/Wolverine Movie With Hugh Jackman AND Ryan Reynolds? Yes Please!

Say what you will about 2016 (and let’s face it, there’s a lot to say, for better and for worse), it was a damn good year for Deadpool and actor, Ryan Reynolds. In a year where superheroes couldn’t stop fighting each other for reasons that involved overly elaborate plans from woefully underdeveloped villains, Deadpool stands out.

The success of the Deadpool movie continues to be one of those pleasant surprises that caught everyone by surprise. It’s a movie that Fox fought tooth and nail not to make. Even when they did, they only gave it a paltry (by Hollywood standards) $53 million budget. Despite this, it went onto gross $782 million worldwide, eclipsing the totals of every X-men movie to date.

By any measure, Deadpool was a booming success. Naturally, as both a comic book fan and a fan of movies that have strippers, it’s my favorite movie of 2016. I’ve made my love and respect for the Deadpool movie known on this blog before. I’ve made my love of X-men comics known as well. So how could Deadpool possibly get any more awesome at this point?

Well, Deadpool actor and former Mr. Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds, has an idea. It can best be summed up in two simple worlds that make straight women and gay men alike feel all sorts of wonderful feelings in their pants: Hugh Jackman.

Yes, Ryan Reynolds knows what turns women on and what makes X-men fans want to dance naked in the streets. When it comes to ass-kicking manliness mixed with an all-around awesome human being, Hugh Jackman checks all the boxes.

He’s also the man responsible for bringing Wolverine to life in the X-men movies. In fact, Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for 17 years now. In that time, we’ve had two actors play Batman, two actors play Superman, and two actors play James Bond. In terms of consistency, dedication, and sex appeal, Hugh Jackman checks all those boxes as well.

So of course Ryan Reynolds, a man who seems determined to make Deadpool more awesome at all costs, wants Jackman’s star power and sex appeal in a Deadpool movie. Now, he’s actively enlisting his legion of internet fans to convince Hugh Jackman to play Wolverine again in a Wolverine/Deadpool movie. There hasn’t been a more worthy cause that doesn’t involve breasts or sick children.

That begs a question though. Why is Ryan Reynolds’ legion of internet followers necessary in the first place? I just said that Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for 17 years now, donning his claws in some form or another in over a half-dozen movies, some of which went onto become big-time blockbusters.

It’s not like there isn’t precedent for it in the comics. Wolverine and Deadpool have quite a history together. In the comics, they both have a similar background in that they’re from Canada and they both endured the Weapon X program that gave them some of their abilities. These two do know each other in the comics, but often clash in ways that are both obscenely violent and wonderfully entertaining.

There’s so much to work with here. One character is an angry, gritty, badass death machine who lusts after married women and has the manliest chest hair in the history of comics. The other is a wise-cracking, fourth wall breaking, trigger-happy goofball. It’s quite possibly the ultimate buddy cop movie.

So what’s keeping us, the comic book fans and those who want to see Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds naked, from seeing such a glorious movie? Well, it has to do with Hugh Jackman’s current schedule. He’s gone on record as saying that his next movie, Logan, will be his last Wolverine movie ever.

Now to be fair, the trailer to this movie is pretty damn awesome. Like the Deadpool movie, it’s R-rated so that means there’s a chance the blood won’t look like expired ketchup and we may actually see some tits, two things that Wolverine movies have been missing for the past 16 years.

If this movie is as awesome as it looks (and that’s never a guarantee because trailers are notoriously misleading), then it would help Jackman go out on top with Wolverine. Given his age and the sheer breadth of the success he’s had, nobody could possibly blame him.

Even so, the idea that he’d hang up his claws before he joined Ryan Reynolds in a Wolverine/Deadpool movie just feels wrong. It’s too great an opportunity to waste, both for the characters and the two actors involved, whose dedication to their characters is beyond reproach.

So while I will still respect Jackman’s decision, whatever it may be, I do think this is a cause the internet should take up. The internet rallies behind cat videos, bad Kickstarter projects, and misguided boycotts. Why can’t it rally around this?

In case you need any more incentive, let me give the ladies and the gay men out there a little reminder. This is what Hugh Jackman looks like:

Look at that picture for a moment. Take a few deep breaths. Make sure you’re wearing clean pants. Then, take a moment to remember what Ryan Reynolds looks like.

With these images in mind, and presumably after changing your underwear, take a moment to assess the possibilities here. Think about what an R-rated Wolverine and Deadpool movie starring Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds would bring to the table.

I know. That’s a lot of sex appeal for just one movie. Hopefully, you don’t need more convincing after this. So if you can, respond to Ryan Reynolds’ call to action! Convince Hugh Jackman to co-star in a Deadpool movie! The world deserves/needs that kind of sex appeal right now.

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