Last night I felt like watching a big Hollywood Blockbuster movie because sometimes, that’s what you need. Sometimes you want a movie that will make you think, and other times you need action and fights and things blowing up. Fortunately, X-Men has always proved to be a production that has all the goodies of an action-packed movie and also makes you think. I’m not claiming it’s a feast for intellectuals, but it certainly doesn’t kill any brain cells, so it’s fine.
This movie starts in the present, in an age where virtually indestructible machines called Sentinels are targeting mutants to either destroy them or take them to concentration camps. The only way to save their race is by traveling back in time to stop Mystique from killing the Doctor in charge of this Sentinel program, which unleashes a series of chain events leading to the human’s war against mutants. Wolverine is the only one strong enough to withstand the time-traveling journey, so off he goes, fifty years into the past, to the year 1973, after the events that took place in X-Men: First Class.
In this reality, Charles Xavier is a tortured junkie who feels like a failure, and Magneto is imprisoned the most heavily guarded jail in the world for presumably having curved the bullet who killed President JFK. The funniest part of the film is when Peter (AKA Quicksilver), a quick-witted, rebellious, super-fast mutant breaks into the prison to set him free. Quicksilver is played to perfection by Evan Peters, the charmingly murderous lunatic kid from Season 1 of American Horror Story (I know he appears in season 2 as well but I’m only on ep.4 of the first season, but that’s a topic for another post).
As Charles Xavier battles his own demons, Mystique is torn between two paths: One of forgiveness (taught to her by Charles), and one of hate (shown to her by Erick). Erick, AKA as Magneto, goes back to being his own vengeful self once he’s free, and is dead-set on the mutant race conquering the world and ruling over humans. With Professor X powerless because of his newly acquired drug habit (which makes for interesting character development), things turn awry more than once. The movie comes to a climactic end when the future of the world and the mutant race is determined by Raven’s choice to either to kill the Doctor, or walk away.
The most interesting part of the movie is when Charles finally kicks his drug habit and is able to meet his future self by traveling in time through Wolverine’s consciousness. He saves him from himself, quite literally, and also relays this key message: Charles’s strength lies in understanding and feeling everybody’s pain without breaking. He must be strong enough for them, even if he can’t be strong enough for himself.
What struck me as interesting from this part of the movie, which is actually a sort of climax before the actual climax, is that future Professor X really symbolizes a Christ Figure, able to cope and take in everybody’s pain and transform it into strength by selflessness and service. Following along these lines, past Charles is the human Christ Figure in that he takes in everybody’s pain and feels all that suffering as if it were his own. The breakthrough comes when he can use that pain and transform it to fuel his impulse to do good. Of course I don’t know if this is what the producers intended, but it’s a cool connection nonetheless.
This is the seventh X-Men film, and I believe they are working on an eight, judging by this scene at the end of credits:
They make for very enjoyable entertainment, so I say keep them coming.