Significance of the X-Men
by Bear Hunter
I just headed out and watched “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. It was simply brilliant. I couldn’t look away, both the story and the action were captivating. There is a scene in there that rivals the “Nightcrawler in the Whitehouse” scene from X2. I won’t give it away.
The themes of prejudice, fear and genecide were powerful. Anyone who is different – born or raised – can understand the fear of being misunderstood or even seen as a threat to the average collective. Feeling like you have to hide yourself or face prosecution – minor or major – is a terrible feeling/burden. The human genome is fairly stable but even so there are people out there with real physical and neurological distinctions. The X-Men from the very beginnings of the comics brought to the surface how prejudice can take on any form and it also emphasizes the difficulties and risks involved in accepting what one doesn’t understand. Some mutants such as Magneto do a good job of dissuading people from giving mutants a chance.
I think it’s essential to have comic books, novels, movies and any media in general that remind us that we aren’t all the same and that isn’t a bad thing. Both visible and invisible minorities can suffer incredible amounts of criticism, bullying and violence for any number of reasons. It’s easy to herd a group of people we don’t understand into a corner and keep a close watch on them because we’re not sure what they are going to do rather than take the time to learn about the things that make them tick, what needs they have or what their motivations are.
It’s also important to have characters in stories that – those being oppressed and those not – having varied opinions on the subject matter. It reminds us that not all of us respond to different types of discrimination the same way. How Beast responds to being feared and judged by humans is a lot different than how Wolverine responds to it and they are both avid seekers of peace. I hate to say it, but there are times when I found myself agreeing with Magneto on a point or two during “Days of Future Past”.
I look forward to the next instalment of the X-Men.
– Bear Hunter