Lit React ~ Analysis & reactions on works of fiction.

06 Aug 2011

(Movie - 2011) X-Men First Class, directed by: Matthew Vaughn

(Reaction) Intertwined or Tangled by: Patrick Shane Diaz

X-Men First Class revolves around the issue of survival of the species, versus it's harmony with another. Should the mutants wage war and eliminate the humans who persecute them? Or live in harmony for the development and advancement, as well as the safety of both species? Should humans unite to ensure their survival?

Some humans think that mutants are genetic abominations, who should be shunned by society. Some believe that they are those entrusted with power so as to safeguard the weaker species. It is all a matter of point of view, whether the human believes their species to be the inferior or the superior. The same goes for the mutants, as the savior of the exterminator, based on the treatment of humans to them and their kind.

The irony of the plot is seeing humans define equality as such if they benefit from it. Mutants who protect them are considered equals, yet those indifferent and those trying to fit in as normal people are considered freaks. The gravity of the situation is such that they see things in black and white, either a mutant is a protector or ally, or a threat. Mutants in the same way see humans as either those they serve to protect, or hindrances in their goal of species survival. Both species generally see their co-species as equals, and the other as outsiders. This causes both to discriminate against the other, creating an unhealthy society full of rejection and unequal treatment.

The film also explores the way mutants are generalized by humans as threats. It's sad to note that even if not all mutants, such as the X-Men, have racial superiority tendencies, they are categorized and generalized as societal threats. What these humans do not realize is that in doing so, they themselves are creating the threats to their society. By shunning these mutants, their treatments cause these mutants to change the way they see societal life. One good example was Mystique, who, from being an X-Man, joined Magneto's Brotherhood once she saw the way humans really see mutants, as abominations.

The pivotal thought of the film is the action to be considered given the predicament of being shunned by society. It can either be to lay low keep a low profile or indifference, or fight for acceptance in society or safety from it. In the film, acceptance was the choice, but in different ways. One chose forcing the acceptance to society, the other chose living harmoniously to safeguard society, to win their acceptance.

Professor Charles Xavier is the pioneer of harmony. His profession of being a professor symbolizes his drive to teach society that mutants are not to be shunned, but to be accepted as equals. He believes that mutants have a duty to protect the human society, which leads to humans understanding and accepting mutants, and in doing so live in cooperation and harmony.

It is ironic that Professor X is one of the most powerful mutants, and yet he promotes being under the acceptance of humans, and not superior to them. His power is said to make him see the bigger picture, mutants are to be understood and accepted, not shunned. But more than just helping him see the entirety of it all, his telepathic ability allows him to fully understand and know the mutants and human point of view. Being a peaceful person, Professor X's power and personality coincide with his goal of coexistence and harmony. It can be seen that his power is a symbolism of his personality, that he is the one who understands what is needed the most, to achieve his goals of harmony and coexistence between both species.

Magneto on the other hand controls metal, an obvious symbolism of his being hard and rigid. His understanding is limited to being black or white, hard or soft, like the metal he so easily controls. This makes his stand to be that of superiority of mutants, the top species in survival of the fittest. It can be attributed to his childhood, witnessing his mother being shot, being a product of a concentration camp of Nazi Germany. He is driven by revenge on the humans that were responsible for his hard childhood. This revenge fuels him, wherein he pours this anger towards humans, generalizing them in the process. This makes him unable to live in harmony with humans. Usually driven by rage and impulse, Magneto is an object of feeling, one to stick to his beliefs and enforce them on his whim and manner.

In effect, both the goals of Professor X and Magneto were the same: safety from the persecution of human society. The positions however were different. Professor X wanted safety through peace and coexistence, with mutants living as equals among men. Magneto wanted safety as well, but through force and security in such a way that his fellow mutants will be safe from persecution by society.

Mystique is seen as the image of one who is shunned by society, due to her physical appearance. There is a conflict in her, either to accept who she is, and how she looks like, or change her appearance to look normal. The same goes for Hank McCoy or Beast, wherein he is bothered so much that he develops a cure for his appearance, only to backfire and force him to accept it.

Man by nature is resistant to change. They are creatures of habit, such that anything new frightens them. Furthermore, they fear what they don't understand. Man has the natural need to be superior, shaped by the theory of survival of the fittest. The film depicts this very well, wherein enemies, USA and USSR, unite against a greater enemy, mutants, so as to preserve their superiority.


X-Men has always been a cartoon for kids, violent and action filled. What everyone who watched those cartoons did not know was that they were being brainwashed and force fed the situation depicted in the cartoons. Most people already made up their minds as kids, choosing the side of the X-Men. The question remains, when that time to choose comes, what side will we choose?

As humans of the current age, we are faced with the same dilemma. The threat to us may not be the mutants as that depicted in the film, but we must decide that when the time comes, who will we stand with? Will we be man enough to fight for ourselves, together? Or will our own personal issues get in the way of that? The film can be seen as a wake up call by the author to everyone. It may be a fun film to watch together with friends, but the message is clear: do we stand together in adversity or pit against each other when it comes to that.

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