[My question is based on the relationship depicted in the films.]

Recently, I watched all the X-Men films again. I understand that Wolverine is supposed to be an angry dude. But I was surprised by just how many people he kills onscreen. More than any other character, for sure. And in many situations, it seems superfluous, for instance,

In Days of Future Past, in his first scene after he gets sent back through time, he gets out of bed and immediately kills three people.

I say "superfluous" because in many situations, incapacitating the enemy would suffice, and of course, Wolverine is almost never personally in danger during any of these encounters, because he's essentially indestructible.

Moreover, Wolverine doesn't just kill "bad guys," he also kills —

Fellow mutants. For instance, The Last Stand, he kills a lot of them during the final battle on Alcatraz.

I grant you, Hugh Jackman makes the character completely appealing. But if you objectively assess Wolverine's actions during the films, he's at best a loose cannon, and at worst a mass murderer, because many of the killings lack reasonable justification.

But the question is about Professor Xavier. We can understand why Prof X would see Wolverine as useful, or be sympathetic to his trauma, e.g. —

His manipulation by Col. Stryker.

But given that Prof X is a man of peace and tolerance, why is he often shown expressing warm feelings toward Wolverine?

Like in the last scene of Days of Future Past. We also learn that he has given Wolverine a teaching position at the school. (Angry dude + kids = is that really a good idea?)

For that matter, why does he associate with Wolverine at all? He could ask any mutant in the world for help — why does he habitually rely on a guy who is categorically violent?

(And if Prof X knows that Wolverine kills repeatedly on his behalf — as he must, not least because of his psychic powers — what does that say about the strength of Prof X's convictions?)

Is there specific evidence in the films, or other places in the Marvel universe, that would explain their seemingly incongruous bond? Since Wolverine & Prof X are friends in the comic books as well, it's possible that the movies have depicted a small aspect of their relationship without filling in the nuance that would make it consistent with the characters.

  • 3
    It's arguable that a good number of the "bad" mutants in the Battle of Alcatraz could severely injure or permanently kill Logan. When fighting against other mutants, you never know what power they're going to pull out of their ass next. – Valorum Jun 14 '14 at 22:41
  • 1
    Or that the brotherhood of evil mutants were TRYING to kill Wolverine and his xmen. – user16696 Jun 14 '14 at 23:27
  • I'm with you on this I wouldn't trust Wolvie based on the movies alone... but he is a fan favorite, which is why he's not only gotten his own title (several in fact) but he's also gotten his own X-Men cartoon, two X-Teams -X-MEN & X-FORCE- and he's an Avenger ...which is still one of the most redic things MARVEL could have done with Wolverine. – 22nd Century Fza Jun 15 '14 at 4:45
  • So you're just blatantly ignoring the fact that the 3 guys he killed in DoFP were actually about to try to kill him and were attacking the girl? Or the fact that the mutants he killed in X3 were actually trying to kill him, his friends, and every human on the island? I think you're confusing murder with self defense and war. – Robert Jan 16 '15 at 13:14
  • Perhaps the question would be better asked if there was a bit more history regarding Wolverine and Xavier's relationship. Xavier recognized Wolverine's trauma because he helps him rediscover his memories and his personhood over time. Xavier learns that Wolverine is both a product of his nature and his nurture and despite the violence of his upbringing Wolverine has transcended his issues about his rage and having embraced the tenets of Bushido and the Samurai to become a stronger and better individual worthy of Xavier's trust and sponsorship. – Thaddeus Howze Feb 3 '15 at 23:31

In both Origins and The Wolverine, people attacking him were out to capture/kidnap or straight kill him or another person. Wolverine, a soldier, has no qualms about maiming or killing those people. He doesn't go out of his way to kill them either.

In the X-Men movies, he still retains some of his nonplussed attitude towards maiming, but is markedly less violent than he could be. X1 has few onscreen deaths. X2 deaths were faceless government agents attempting to capture a bunch of kids at gunpoint, and then later the same agents at the Weapon X facility. X3 deaths revolve around evil mutants trying to kill Wolverine and the other X-Men and facility guards, in order to kill the young boy mutant which the cure is cultivated from. I barely remember much death on screen, with the majority being off-screen kills from falling or similar injuries.

But as to why Professor X keeps Wolverine around? No onscreen explanation is given, but it is easy to figure out. Wolverine is a passionate, instinct-driven person. He has no problem killing when needed, but isn't a sadist, he doesn't kill for fun, or kill if he doesn't have to. He'll intimidate someone off just as often (like in the Wolverine, he stabs the hunter with his poison arrow, which he knows he can get treated for if the hunter is willing to admit to using illegal poison).

X1 Wolverine is found just moving around Canada, fighting for money but not hurting anyone. First Class Wolverine just wants people to F*** Off and be left alone. If anything, as the comics have shown, Wolverine is less likely to kill when Professor X is around. Xavier doesn't literally tame Wolverine, but it's an easy analogy to use.

After all, Wolverine isn't a mindless killer like the Punisher...

  • This is also like asking why Superman puts up with Batman's violence. – user16696 Jun 14 '14 at 23:43
  • 1
    Can we really call Wolverine a "soldier"? According to the Wolverine movies, he and Sabretooth are basically maladjusted loners prone to killing people, who end up in the military because it's the only place they (sort of) fit in. (Even then, they still end up in front of a military firing squad.) – Matthew Butterick Jun 15 '14 at 0:56
  • 2
    @MatthewButterick its not just Movie Wolverine, Comic and Cartoon Wolverine have long standing histories as being soldiers in multiple wars. Most notably, WW2 along side Capt. America liberating Jewish Concentration camps (Housing Magneto none the less). Logan is an outcast based on his mutant powers, but he has always worked well under an established power structure. He followed most orders until ordered to commit a war crime (murdering civilians), and accidentally killed his superior in Origins. Calling wolverine a soldier is like saying the sky is blue. – user16696 Jun 15 '14 at 7:40
  • Fair enough. But this still seems like more of a restatement of the question than an answer. We can all agree that "Wolverine is a passionate, instinct driven person." By contrast, Prof X is not: he is a cool & rational person who values ethics and reason. Thus, based on what we know about the characters, it's not "easy to figure out" why they would have a close relationship — hence the question. – Matthew Butterick Jun 16 '14 at 0:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.