Picking up where I left off…
Aside from the core theme of right vs wrong and forgiveness vs revenge, the movies cover whether people should be able to choose whatever way they want to solve things.
It comes down always to Erik vs Charles. One determined to overthrow humanity, the other determined to co-exist with it peacefully.
If one ignores the evolutionary basis for the whole concept of useful mutation (totally unfounded in real science) I would find the difference between Christ and the Devil in these two points of view.
It doesn’t seem that way at first, but when, inevitable, the question about whether mutants just deserve by birthright to be in charge and to be over all regular humans, is raised. And Magneto declares that mutants are gods among ants. Which he tells Phyro, one easily swayed mutant who joins him. He repeats the idea at other moments, no one ever contradicts him.
But Charles actions are a kind of contradiction. He chooses to protect people. Even if he is more powerful than them, he does not consider himself better than them.
We find out in the fifth film that this was because he could feel their pain. Every single person’s he read the mind of, he could experience their pain, yet without breaking. And once you have done that, it is pretty much impossible to despise them.
Nothing unites human beings more than love and pain. Ideally, it would only need to be love. But now that we all suffer, sometimes what clears away the walls is the realization that other people have suffered the same way.
What amazed me aobut Erik is that in the whole course of the films that covered his backstory and his terrible experiences in the prison camp, he never once seemed to consider that most of the Jews there with him were “ordinary’ people.
Maybe his powers made for a unique kind of torture, but other people were tortured, other people watched their families die, other people were experimented on. Other people lost everything.
Humans are just as terrible to each other as they are to other kinds of creatures.
What’s more, some of the people in prison camps were there for risking their lives for Jews. People who willingly risked their lives for the outcasts. They died for that.
Humanity may be cruel, but it can also be more kind than we have any right to expect in this cynical world we often find ourselves in.
For almost every story of some crazy person taking life there’s another of some noble person laying their life down for others.
How Erik could be so selfish, yes selfish, as to be blind to all that is astounding to me.
How he could feel the injustice of bigotry toward mutants, but not of every bigotry, is just hypocritical.
What would we say of the people who followed him?
Did it make them better? More loyal? More noble?
No, those who follow a bad leader become like him.
Mystique became a cold blooded and vengeful killer who never seemed to think for herself. Phyro turned on the people who were his friends and who risked their lives for him and on Professor X, and he despised them. Angel, ( First Class,) turned on the first real friends she ever had because of the Mutant in that film, and then stuck with Erik’s way at the end of it.
What further amazed me is that none of these people turned back even when they had to fight those they once cared about. They were so willing to give into the darkness.
It was darkness. Erik turned Raven against Charles by suggesting that Charles wanted to control her. Maybe it was true, but Erik controlled her far more than Charles ever did, and she let him do it. Charles at least loved her, Erik was incapable of loving anyone.
(In the end Charles lets Raven choose what she will do. But only because at that point forcing her to do anything would be futile. Giving her her choice was the only way to make things right, but it was not so for Erik. He had chosen already, force had to be used on him, which we see immediately; in contrast to Charles releasing Raven.)
Phyro turned to pride. To thinking he was above mere mortals. The classic struggle that separates superheroes from super villains is whether they see their strength as for service, or for power.
The list goes on, but you get the idea.
What of the actual bigotry exhibited by the humans?
Well, it’s important to remember that a lot of the mutants are afraid of their own powers until they get used to them, because things that are different are often frightening. No one likes what they can’t understand until they learn to do without understanding.
But beyond that we are never given an example of humans who are open minded until the fourth and fifth films. There we see the secret agent who seemed fascinated by mutants and not at all disgusted; later we see a mom who seems to put up with her son’s mutation though she is irritated by it. We also learn that some humans defended the mutants in the War.
Even in the first film we see a man going from hating mutants to realizing they weren’t all bad, and that they did not choose to be born this way. The president is even left with deciding to be more lenient with them.
We see other humans who don’t seem to be trying to fight the mutants exactly, but they see their powers as a medical condition. Mutants like Rogue almost agree. (I can’t blame her.)
Strictly speaking the mutants are still human, and Charles, who has felt mutant pain and human pain alike, knows that the only difference is really in our minds.
That’s a two sided coin by the way. Storm admits that she hates humans sometimes because she is scared of them, and we know that is why humans hate mutants.
What someone ought to have told Erik long ago is that you can’t judge a people by what some of them do.
In the Bible, God often rules in favor of the minority. Eight people survive the flood, three people survive the destruction of two cities, a remnant is left of the Hebrews. The reason is, the parts of humanity that make it worth preserving are often int he minority. But they are still important.
In fact, the good of humanity is more important than the evil. The good in us is the reason we exist, it’s what we have left of what we were meant to be; the evil in us is the sign of our decay.
And mutant or not, that decay is present in all of us, and all of us choose whether we’re going to fight it, or give way to it.
That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.