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X2

I saw X2 today for the second time (saw it on opening night the first) and both times it kicked serious ass. Definitely my favorite comic book movie. It has so many interwoven social commentaries and various subthemes. And I just love the whole idea of a whole group of friends all with different powers, working together to do something. It's much more healthy than having a single superhero like superman that everyone worships and nobody measures up to. I like how Magneto is a foil for Dr. Xavier, almost interchangably similar characters. Except that Magneto lets his power go to his head and thinks he has to treat humans the way they try to treat him. It is so much like the civil rights struggle (and many others), where there have been people like Martin Luther King, but there have also been people like Malcolm X. (sorry if I've got that wrong... I don't know a whole lot about history, perhaps Malcolm X wasn't that bad of a guy... if so, then take someone from the black panthers for an example.) How you respond to adversity and discrimination shows a lot about your character. Some scenes like Iceman "coming out" to his parents were obviously heavily intended to speak to gay teens and their whole social dilemna. One of my favorite lines is when his Mom says "Bobby... have you tried not being a mutant?"

But I think the most important scene for me was Magneto's conversation with Pyro in the plane. "Never forget that you are a God among insects." How many people have been led astray by this line of thinking? That's exactly what Hitler told the Germans to get them to march for him. And the thing is, it works. It's a real problem. Humans love to be flattered. They respond to it. I truly hope that as I ascend into higher academic circles I never become Magneto. Because I know that as a teenager I was a lot like Pyro. I had great contempt for neurotypicals, mainly stemming from the way I was treated as a kid for being smart and clumsy and different from the rest. If I had found the wrong role model, I could have had real problems later on. But the scary thing is, I think there are a fair amount of intellectuals out there who think and act a lot like Magneto. It's definitely something I need to watch out for.

Oh, and Ian McKellen is a fucking badass actor. I'm adding him to my interests list immediately. I knew he was good as Gandalf, but he really shines in X2. Patrick Stuart and Brian Cox were good too. Interesting how they had 3 strong Shakespearean actors all together there. Did they know each other before?

One last comment: I expect the Matrix II to suck, even though the original was one of my favorite movies. I have tickets to opening night, but I am already expecting to be disappointed. Especially after something like X2 so recently. The first X-Men movie left a lot more room for a sequel than the first Matrix. I think I'm going to end up wishing they had left it alone so as not to tarnish the original. But I would love to be pleasantly surprised!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
iwillfearnoevil
May. 11th, 2003 08:38 pm (UTC)
Iceman "coming out" to his parents were obviously heavily intended to speak to gay teens and their whole social dilemna. One of my favorite lines is when his Mom says "Bobby... have you tried not being a mutant?"

My gay boss Robert, who I love, loved that scene. He said it totally brought back his coming out.
iwillfearnoevil
May. 11th, 2003 08:41 pm (UTC)
tix where and when?

I do,too.

I'm expecting it to be thinking sci-fi - which I know few people have a taste for because it comes out so poorly in movies. But yum for the eye candy. I have a degree in production, so I love effects...
mike_b
May. 11th, 2003 09:43 pm (UTC)
Malcolm X wasn't "bad"; he just had a different way of thinking. In the mid-60s, much of the black civil rights movement had become more militant. Stokely Carmichael and others ousted the more "passive", "peaceful" leaders such and John Lewis, and by 1966 Martin Luther King had lost much of his clout. He was still the most famous, but there were people like Carmichael and Malcolm X who were "behind the scenes" and becoming more and more appealing.

When King got his Nobel Peace Prize, one of them said something along the lines of "Why is he getting a peace prize from the enemy?"

I will say I think your comparison of Xavier/Magneto and King/X is really fascinating and is something I hadn't even considered. I don't think Magneto necessarily let his power go to his head though, did he? He just has a different way of dealing with discrimination and...speciesism than Xavier does; he's a pessimist, Xavier is an optimist.

Anyway, I want to see the movie again and I'll definitely look more deeply for more such social commentary.

...

Good post, interesting to read.

-Michael
spoonless
May. 11th, 2003 10:22 pm (UTC)

Malcolm X wasn't "bad"; he just had a different way of thinking. In the mid-60s, much of the black civil rights movement had become more militant. Stokely Carmichael and others ousted the more "passive", "peaceful" leaders such and John Lewis, and by 1966 Martin Luther King had lost much of his clout. He was still the most famous, but there were people like Carmichael and Malcolm X who were "behind the scenes" and becoming more and more appealing.

Perhaps it isn't the most perfect analogy. But I still think Malcolm X dealt with discrimination in a non-constructive way. I'm fairly ignorant on the subject... but from little media clips I've seen or read of him, the way he talks about white folks is just completely filled with hate. Not just hate for what was done to his people, but hate for all whites just for being white. We're "the devil" just because of our skin color. If Magneto had an easy way to isolate mutants and let them have their own nation, I'm sure he would have tried that first. And if Malcolm X had the power to kill all whites with a huge cerebro machine, I wouldn't be surprised if he would have tried that. Neither of them was willing to try to get along with the majority who they both mentally labelled as "the enemy".

I just thought of another example. I think this one is even better: Valerie Solanas. If you're not familiar with her, give her SCUM manifesto a skim:

http://www.ai.mit.edu/~shivers/rants/scum.html

In her case, not only was she unwilling to try to get along with males and live amongst them, but she was utterly convinced of their complete inferiority to females. Men are nothing more than "emotional amoeba" in her mind. She shot Andy Warhol to further her cause of "cutting up men" (or maybe her motivations were a bit more complicated--I still haven't seen the end of her biography.) She went from an oppressed minority to a super-villain in the eyes of society.


I don't think Magneto necessarily let his power go to his head though, did he?

I think that is a part of it, yes. His unique power makes him see non-mutants as inferior, a different race or even a different species. And therefore, morally expendable. Internally, this may be due to all the shit he's gotten as a "mutant," but the language he uses such as the "God among insects" comment, is clearly one of superiority--as if he's on a holy quest to better the planet by wiping out the lesser beings... the ants who are getting in the way of the gods.
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