Is “X-Men: First Class” a Hit Because of Its Messages?

James P. Pinkerton, Fox News, June 6, 2011

{snip}

And so it is with “X-Men: First Class.” The film is based on a 50-year-old comic, but the SFX are totally 2011. And at the same time, the film brings a sharp eye to present-day issues, most notably the issues of tolerance and quality in a diverse society. Bullying? Intolerance? Prejudice? It’s all there to be noodled on, woven into a tale of mutants stretching from the Holocaust of World War Two to the nuclear fears of the Cold War. And if it’s easy enough to guess where a Hollywood movie comes down on the issue of gay tolerance, the film’s perspective on human evolution might be unnerving to many on the left, as well as the right.

{snip}

Back in the early 60s, [Stan] Lee intended “X-Men” to be a parable about racial prejudice in America. The X-Men (and Women) were a minority of mutants, and, as such, they suffered discrimination and alienation. But of course, they had superpowers, and so while they were sometimes shunned for their differentness, they were also feared for their power.

Thus the questions: Should mutants seek to blend in (integration), or should they seek to live by themselves, separate and apart from the larger society (mutant power)? Moreover, should mutants seek to improve society–or should they go to war against it?

{snip}

Yet the theme of the film–in between, of course, the stunts and explosions–is tolerance for difference. And so the new “X-Men” becomes a kind of coded meditation on the related themes of bullying and gay rights. Most of the major characters have a moment when they discover, to their visible relief, that they are not alone in their mutant-ness–others are like them.

{snip}

Nazi murderers aside, human evolution is a touchy subject for many on all sides of the belief spectrum. Even the secular left gets nervous when the subject of human evolution, leading to human difference, comes into play.

Two decades ago, a book that argued that intelligence was partly of a function of genetics, “The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life,” by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, caused a political firestorm. Indeed, those fires still smolder today, flaring up sometimes when issues of school-testing and achievement scores arise.

{snip}

Beyond the special effects, maybe “X-Men” is a already a hit (number 1 box office movie this past weekend) because it probes our deepest Darwinian feelings–and fears. If science succeeds in updating the definition of “fittest,” the survival of our particular species, in its current form, could be at risk. That’s great for future mutants, but not so great for the rest of us, and our current civilization.

{snip}

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  • aj

    I saw the movie, it wasn’t terrible, although the character Angel from the comic books, a millionaire blond haired white guy was miraculously changed into a mulatto or possibly hispanic, female stripper.

    The movie preaches that the more genetically advanced people, mutants, should help the less advanced people, humans who just hate them. Only the evil mutants want to have their own society. Pretty much a pretty obvious parable for our society.

  • sbuffalonative

    “…the film brings a sharp eye to present-day issues, most notably the issues of tolerance and quality in a diverse society. Bullying? Intolerance? Prejudice? It’s all there to be noodled on, woven into a tale of mutants stretching from the Holocaust of World War Two to the nuclear fears of the Cold War. And if it’s easy enough to guess where a Hollywood movie comes down on the issue of gay tolerance…”

    This is largely why I stopped going to movies years ago. Films today are nothing but propaganda. The main storyline is incidental. The real message is subliminal.

    “If science succeeds in updating the definition of “fittest,” the survival of our particular species, in its current form, could be at risk. That’s great for future mutants, but not so great for the rest of us, and our current civilization.”

    We certainly are on the road to dysgenics. Because of political actions, the “mutants” (gays, blacks, Muslims, and other sundry minorities) shall inherit the earth.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen the trailers on TV . It seems they are implying that X-men saved the day during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I am not at all comfortable with that. It lands squarely on the side of pure fictional mythology and tries to hawk it as the gospel truth. The ancient Greeks did not know better. We should. It detracts from the real men who did resolve the missile crisis with hard work and no super human powers .

    I see a real danger with blending comic book characters into real history. Just one more method for the liberal/progressives to rewrite and denigrate our history. The only heroes we will be allowed are the ones they say we can have. X-men ? God help our America .

  • 1RW

    I wish there was a movie that dealt with Humans 1.0 being obsolete. Oh, wait, it’s Gattaca. X-men is just a lame and shallow plea for tolerance. Except it misses the part of reality where weirdos and outsiders usually have superpowers like being incredibly annoying to others, contaminating the blood supply with the HIV virus, and kidnapping, molesting, and murdering children.

  • Anonymous

    The new X-men is not a “hit” by any stretch of the imagination. And it’s a bit of a slap in the face to those of us who enjoyed the old x-men comics.

    To answer the rather badly stated question brought up in the article. Yes….x-men is and has always been a rather heavy handed attempt to manipulate our culture’s perception of race.

    However, it’s always been a blatant failure at this….because it is so heavy handed. Humans hatred of the mutants has always been portrayed as extreme, murderous xenophobia….parents wanting to murder their children if they turned out to be mutants. Witch hunts…..ethnic cleansing. Attempts to “cure” mutation using anything from murdering them all and disposing of the bodies to brain washing them into slaves, to various medical techniques to remove their powers. Bigotry is always shown as extreme, evil….and white (I might add).

    It’s a joke. And x-men has lost a lot of readership over the years (people don’t like being manipulated).

    I think the average person reacts to the movie somewhat lie me. OK…that was a decent flik. The brainwashing is all inclusive and obviously a large scale cooperative effort.

  • Anonymous

    Magneto was right.

  • Anonymous

    #5 Lol @ the part left out of my post at the end by the mod.

    Let me rephrase that bit. Hmmmm….brainwashing, especially anti-white bigotry, even violence against people who look like me is disturbingly all encompassing in movies and other media. That is cause for some concern and no small amount of reasonable preparation, awareness and discussion with others who might have also noticed. I think someone might mean me and mine no small bit of harm. Seeing yet another example of this, makes me more inclined to engage in those reasonable, effective and legal behaviors designed to protect my loved ones from harm.

  • rjp

    5 – It’s a joke. And x-men has lost a lot of readership over the years (people don’t like being manipulated).

    Do you think they care about readership when they are selling movie tickets like they are? ? ? ?

  • flyingtiger

    I was a young lad when the first X-Men came out. It frightened me. I was afraid that mutants were being trained by Professor X to take over the world and kill all humans. I wanted to harm anyone that was different.

    Luckily there was the Legion of Superheros. Who showed that people from different planets can live and work together. That was a superhero team!

  • DB Cooper

    I too enjoyed the Xmen when I was a kid, and I happened to like “Xmen: First Class.

    I don’t heavily buy into the analogies between racial prejudice and fear of super powered mutants. First of all, if these mutants existed, some of them are more preferable to live among, and even marry, than certain other people.

    I don’t think I would panic if my son or daughter had powers like Professor X, Magneto, or White Queen. In the comics, I recall two mutants marrying, then having a 100% ordinary human daughter who is Magneto’s granddaughter.

    Call me kinky, but I think the blue skinned, red haired, and yellow eyed Mystique is still a lot prettier than a lot of third world women I’ve seen.

    I say get over the “hidden messages”. They won’t work because there’s even racism among mutant kind. There was a japanese Xman called Sunfire who had Human Torch like powers. He was repulsed by Nightcrawler’s appearance and refused to be partnered up with him. Sunfire quit the team after just 2 issues.

  • Roy

    “Even the secular left gets nervous when the subject of human evolution, leading to human difference, comes into play.”

    Correction; should read “ESPECIALLY the secular left…”.

    But then again, how can the Left be so nervous about human evolution when they’re always assuring us that racial diversity is our greatest strength?

  • Turtle

    Darwin never said the “fittest”. Darwin said that the best adapted to their particular environment would be the most likely to reproduce and past on their genes. IQ in humans is a very flexible adaption that can be useful in many environments,unlike height or musical talent. Also niche competition-that is two species or subspecies competing for the same the niche in the environment will come into conflict, with one of the species giving way is still operational. Natural laws are more powerful than man-made laws. Wishful parables in the end don’t count for much.

  • Spirit Wolf

    The article, and possibly the movie, left out the third option – instead of warring with the prevalent society, live apart but in peace with it. You live there, we live here, and that’s it. It doesn’t exclude trade of goods or ideas, just of people (at least on any significant scale, beyond ambassadors or scholars or such.)

    The problem is, the entire world is claimed, isn’t it? There’s no more room for anyone to go or spread to because everything is, basically, owned by someone (whether a government or individual or organization.) Any new group appearing would have this problem; we’re already having this problem because of simple overpopulation – the third world overbreeders have a biological want to spread, but the only place they can do it is “underpopulated” (at least relatively so, if not really so) countries like Canada, Australia, and the US.

    Why has the manned space programme been cut?

  • Ben

    Oh?!

    You mean Darwinism at the CORE is incompatible with Liberalism (as we know today)?!

    Any Darwinism that the Left doesn’t like is called “Social Darwinism” and/or “Fascism.”

    Egalitarianism is the last thing that comes to mind with Evolution or Darwinian thinking.

    @ Turtle

    It ultimately comes down the fittest. The fittest are most likely to reproduce and pass on their genes. And societies that gear themselves to producing the fittest will have an evolutionary edge over those who don’t. IQ may be very flexible. I totally agree, but that doesn’t refute “the fittest” in anyway.

    The Left wants everyone to be the lowest common denominator.

  • Anonymous

    Note how in the comic book ANGEL is a handsome white blonde male. In the movie it is a ludicrous hispanic or mulatto female who works as a seedy stripper with an attitude. Ridiculous.

  • down the bayou

    #12_turtle is right. “Fittest” just means that which is best suited to a particular environment.

    Libs like evolution when it upsets christians, but not when genetics proves certain differences fall along racial lines. Liberalism is a self contradictory philosophy and will eventually implode as long as we still post our opinions and let it be known what we believe.

    I quit going to movies a long time ago, I did not even know a new x-men came out. Even before I was awake, I could see the subliminal messaging in x men movies; and all other hollywood movies. Independent films are better (when not made by lesbians). Still I have too much sewing and knitting and self-home-schooling to do to go watch movies. I put Braveheart on repeat to listen to when I do my work.

    Boycott tv and coca-cola!