This is actually not a review of the first X-men film, it’s for all of them up to date except for Apocalypse (honestly, I don’t plan on watching that one anytime soon.)
Up till about two months ago I had never seen any of the films, but after liking Spiderman and the Guardians of the Galaxy, I decided to give this other big marvel franchise a shot. Anything would be better than the Avengers, right?
I’ve seen five movies about X-men, in order, and I would say they were superior tot he Avengers in every way. (Sorry fans.) Though to be clear, I still rate them below Spiderman. Maybe above G of G. (Maybe. But I doubt it.)
Here’s the difference I perceive between the industries.
X-Men movies are almost all origin stories in some way. New mutants are constantly being introduced. We don’t find out Jean’s origin till the third film she’s in, or Raven’s till the third and fourth. But also we have old characters coming back repetitively and learning and adapting, giving it a both fresh and continuing feel. Spiderman may have done better at growing the specific characters, but these films definitely tell you more about them and make you understand the way they think and feel.
Though ostensibly these films are about diversity, bigotry, and acceptance; the real crux of each one never comes down to any one person giving someone else their rights. (except the last two, but that was a little different I’ll get to that later.) AT least for the first three, the crisis of the whole movie rests on what the heroes or villains are willing to do, and what they choose to believe.
In the first film a lot rides on Magneto changing (in a heartbeat) from being willing to mutate ordinary people to being fine with it killing them in the process. From that moment on, he never ceases trying to destroy humanity and preserve mutants. But only the mutants who have no problem with finishing off regular people.
For the ones like Raven/Mystique, this may not be such a hard jump. Her family tried to kill her. (we are never told how or why.) Understandably she’s a bit jaded toward humans and doubts they’ll ever accept her. but she’s made a huge leap. And so did Magneto.
In movie no# 4 (First Class) we learn Erik/Magneto is a holocaust survivor whose mother was cruelly murdered right in front of him because of his powers. Erik claims to want to protect all mutants form the human who would stifle them, but in the beginning, it was her who was exploited for his power, not stifled. And deep down, it’s not really about protecting anyone but himself, as he does not hesitate to kill his “kind” should they stand in his way. He never plays fair, and whenever his old friends need him most to be there for them, he abandons them to their fate. Erik is a broken man who does not wish to be healed but only to inflict his brokenness on every other person he meets. Turning several mutants away from Charles and toward a darker cause.
Then there’s people like Rogue/Marie and Logan/Wolverine. They are both experienced in hurting people either by accident or sometimes on purpose in his case. But neither of them really likes it. Though they suffer a lot, especially Logan, he never seems to like killing or mangling people even in self defense. There’s almost always a look of regret on his face when it happens.
Rogue simply can’t help hurting people because it’s literally her power to drain their energy. She can’t be close to anyone.
Amazingly enough, though mutants like Magneto and Mystique may feel their chance at human it was stolen from them, one might argue in Logan and Marie’s case it was even more so, and for Marie it seemed to be fate, not even a wicked person behind it. Still Marie does not want to dish out what she herself has to take, and neither does Logan.
Which really shows that revenge is a choice. It’s not something you are forced into by being mistreated, but something you choose as a way to dull the pain, or at least to share it, even when it does you or your kind no personal good.
What amazes me is that never once in the films does Charles decide to finally admit Erik is the villain of the movies. And I watched closely to see if Erik ever does a single redeemable act through any of them. Guess what, he doesn’t. (not till the post apocalyptic future of Days of Future Past.) Never. Erik never makes a choice that is unselfish, kind, or merciful. Not even to his most loyal followers. Not to his oldest and only friend Charles Xavier.
There’s no way to gloss over the fact that Magneto is the villain of every single film, but I will give them credit for never making him so dislikable that you aren’t hoping he will turn. You get why Charles keeps giving him chance after chance (an also why he punches him in no#5) because Magneto is the sort of man who might, in another movie or even in another time, realize that he is on the wrong path. Apparently he does at some point,( we can hope.)
Magneto is actually a hypocrite. He does the same things he is angry at the humans for doing, he does it to other mutants as well as regular people, he has no limit. Sometimes it seems like he actually wants his victims to suffer.
But he has a fascinating effect on a lot of mutants, especially Raven. He seems to respect them and see them for who they are.
But does he really?
More on that in part two.
Until Next time–Natasha.