Now that you understand what we’re dealing with, let’s rank the love triangles that made our subjects famous.
1. Tied for first place is Owen Wilson/Rachel McAdams/Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers (2005) and Wolverine/Jean Grey/Cyclops:
These two triangles are the epitome of why these two are so well known. In Wedding Crashers, we see Rachel McAdams struggle to choose between what her heart tells her and what her family expects of her. Bradley Cooper’s breakout cameo in this movie was perfectly cast and adds to the push and pull of the relationship. Owen Wilson on the other hand is not the most believable “heart wants what the heart wants” male lead, but his comedic timing on the other end of the movie is what carries the character. In this movie, we see the beginning of Rachel McAdams’ sweet spot, the unsure, innocent, gullible, impressionable, beautiful filling of the love triangle sandwich. Wolverine’s archetypal bad boy is buoyed by his memory loss’ vulnerability. Jean’s helpful demeanor and willingness to help anyone was, in hindsight, the perfect pairing for Wolverine’s broken mind and short temper. Scott Summers on the other hand is the quintessential All-American good guy, just like Bradley Cooper.[ii]
2. Rachel McAdams/Eric Bana/Time in The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009): Coming in strong at number 2, we are introduced to the benevolent character Time, which plays a part in several movie love triangles and has even crossed over into motivational sayings like “You can’t buy Time” or “Time heals all wounds”. Much like when Thanos wanted to impress Death, Time was vying for the attention of Rachel McAdams. Eric “Bottom of Hulk totem pole” Bana does an admiral job in trying to win in this triangle but in the end, “Time is undefeated”[iii].
3. Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams/Other Guy in 2004’s the Notebook:
Although this is considered a triangle, the fact that 90% of you reading cannot remember who the other guy[iv] in the triangle is, pushes it down the power rankings. I could say it is Chris Pine or Cary Elwes and most people would nod their heads in agreement. The hard work that Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling do on their side of the triangle equation pushes this trio into this position. Along with the creative storytelling and seeing this couple in their older years cements their position at number 3.
4. Wolverine/Mariko Yashida/The Yashida Clan:
From the pages of Uncanny X-men 118 to 2013’s The Wolverine, the chemistry between Mariko and Wolverine is palpable. The only things that could have come between these two was responsibility and duty to her family for Mariko. The Yashida Clan does what every ruthless criminal organization does, give ridiculous and life altering ultimatums. Mariko always chooses the family clan and Wolverine having to stop the pain of his love interest could be construed as drinking from the well too often (see dark Phoenix), but it still gets you right in the feels.
5. Domhnall Gleeson/Rachel McAdams/Time in 2013’s About Time:
Making a second appearance or X-Men 266[v] if you will, is the character Time. Although Time is present in many other love triangles, (2006’s The Lakehouse or even 2014’s Interstellar come to mind) none of those movies have Rachel McAdams’ perfect casting and experience with Time to make them memorable love triangles. Before he was the loveable Hux, Domhnall Gleeson played a great, aw shucks, everyman with an incredible ability to go back in time. Using this superpower, he does what every awkward, red headed male would do and goes back in time to fall in love with Rachel McAdams. Realizing Time is not something to be trifled with, he stops the love affair and settles down with McAdams.
***Honorable mention: Wolverine/Adamantium/Magneto***