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Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Do We Like X-Men?, Part 2

Reason #2: The Films’ expansion of These Themes

As Mister Curie and boskers pointed out in their comments on the last post, the homosexual overtones in the movie are much more apparent than in the comic books or the cartoons.  This might make more sense taking into consideration the fact that Bryan Singer (below), director and writer of the first two movies, is gay and Jewish. 

X-men_poster  bryan_singerX2

In a BBC interview he stated that, as a member of minorities,  he connected with the stories of X-Men and X2 because of “everything from the [coming out] scene with Bobby Drake and his family, to Wolverine's journey to uncover his past.”  These connections led the director to focus on minority issues in the films.

MSNBC Film Critic John Hartl’s article “The ‘X-Men’ come out” shows just how these parallels and those presented in Part 1 are especially evident in the film series.  Hartl provides us a very similar arc to one which we are familiar with, focusing on 3 particular characters (Iceman, Jean Grey, and Angel).  Coming out, if you will, is a process, a story, a narrative.  It is a conflict and resolution of identity within a social sphere.  For the mutants in the X-Men Trilogy, a lot of the situations and questions mimic those that many of us encounter as homosexuals.

“Have you tried not being a mutant?” Iceman’s mother asks like a mother might ask her gay son, “Have you ever tried liking girls?”  Both seem preposterous in their own spheres because neither is really a lifestyle choice.

Icemanangel3

A more intense scene along the same lines passes in the The Last Stand between Angel and his father.   Upset with his own  identity as a mutant, he attempts to hack off his own wings as his disapproving father finds out he is one of the mutants his father despises so much.

So, tied up in these identities are the negative connotations of homosexuality and mutantdom, and we face psychological turmoil as a result.  For example, mutants and homosexuals have a bad reputation for damage caused by their powers and promiscuity, respectively.  So what are we to do?  Avoid and hide from a negatively-defined identity or reinvent it in a manner we deem fit?  

That’s an issue the X-Men films and comics focus on specifically. 

End, Part 2

3 comments:

slp said...

You have written a great commentary. I may have to look at watching the X-Men movies. Sadly, I have not yet seen them.

I hope all is well for you! Happy day. :)

Mister Curie said...

You noticed exactly the types of scenes and dialogues I was referring to. I think the 3rd movie was particularly poignant with the possibility of a cure. How many gay mormons would try to be cured if it were possible (how many try to be cured now even though there isn't much evidence for Evergreen and other approaches being very effective)? Or like some of the mutants, how many of us are happy with who we are and willing to embrace that fully? Is there a cure in Christ through the atonement, or does there even need to be a cure? I am looking forward to your part 3.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@ Mr. Curie: You're doing an excellent job of spoiling the final installment. ;)

@slp: What I have seen, I've only seen to write this to be honest.

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