zalena (zalena) wrote,

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Booboo and I saw X-men last night. I found it more upsetting than I'd like to admit. One of my friends had already warned me about the "misogynistic" ending, though she didn't give specifics. What upset me more was the misogynistic beginning. What happens to Jean is shades of Yellow Wallpaper and the resulting chaos is Dr. Xavier's fault. I found it hard to be sad at his death because I was still smarting from the revelation of his "Father Knows Best" attitude. (As my brother says, "With an attitude like that, what gives him the right to discuss medical ethics?")

The entire movie read from this point of view is a warning tale of "What happens to powerful women in our culture." My focus was more on how women are warped initially to cordon off part of their power. My friend's focus was on what we do to women when the darkside breaks free. Either way it was rather unsettling. And of course Jean has to end up dead.

Even looking at the movie from the point of view in which it was presented was problematic. I agree that Jean would be very difficult to "save," but at the same time rather than confronting her with blades, all they really had to do to stabilize the situation is get the Leech boy near here. Not a cure, just a presence, to help her chill and decide to what to do.

But it's a superhero movie, so the suspension common sense and the laws of physics (It's a suspension bridge for cryin' outloud. Does Magneto's powers extend to asphalt?) is to be expected. (Does anyone wonder why they locked people in the truck with their mutant powers, when they could've just given them an anti-mutant shot?)

I was disappointed the characters weren't better developed. (Colossus in the comic books leaves the X-men for Magneto. Kitty Pride is one of the brightest X-men, and in this movie she was a spoiled brat.) I also didn't see enough of Rogue, have never liked Iceboy, and the guy with wings wasn't a character, but a plot device. It was a little disappointing because the first movie is so character driven.

Which isn't to say I didn't have a good time. My brother and I kept cracking jokes at each other, the best of which is when Magneto says to Jean, "I want you to be the way nature intended."

I said, "He's starting a nudist colony," which led to snickers and off-color jokes through the rest of the film. (My brother pointed out that Mystique is a perfect example of his mutant nudist vision.)

So, the ideas were interesting, the execution straight-forward, but the strength and conflict of the characters was limited. Watching these films has also been interesting because of their link to both contemporary politics and attitudes about health and well-being. The "mutant" factor can stand in for any kind of "Otherness" in our culture whether it's ethnicity, intelligence, sexual orientation, disability, or mental illness.

I must admit there's always a faint discomfort sitting in the audience and wondering if people know that I'm a mutant. But then, as dr_tectonic says, we're all mutants. That's part of what it means to be alive. Random mutation is also my favorite part of evolutionary process, which clearly the people in film don't quite understand. (Clearly most the people in this country don't understand! And they wonder why our country lags in math in science. It's becase we don't BELIEVE in math and science, as though it were a matter of faith.)

But that's all my thoughts for now.
Tags: movies, women
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