I always thought Hugh Jackman made for a pretty excellent Wolverine...the portrayal of the character in the movies is the fault of the writing and such. I had no real previous knowledge of the guy so I had none of this "he's too nice" stuff running through my head, I just thought he looked the part (yeah he's supposed to be short and all that jazz but that's the kind of liberty I can easily look past).
I feel that some liberties as far as appearance go are ok and some aren't. To me it's all about how much of their personality is expressed through what they look like. Wolverine's hight explains so much why he does and acts the way he does. He's always the little guy looked down on from bigger guys. It's also a huge part of his fighting style. His height is IMO as visually important as Superman's cape. It doesn't look right without it.
As for direction and writing. I agree. It's pretty clear they went in a more Wolverine-ish direction in Origins (when Hugh Jackman got more control over the character). It's definitely the best interpretation of the character. Still though. I don't feel the guys really right for the part.