Tuesday, June 06, 2006

X-Men 3 [Spoilers!]

Our air conditioner went out Sunday afternoon, as it is wont to do in the summers (we live in a slum) and our slum-lord, though she is usually very kind about calling the 24-our AC repair guy (he's genial and 70 and doesn't really fix the AC himself, he calls his son, who lives in Fayetteville, on the cell phone, and his son talks him through the repair), could not get it fixed until Monday. We are living in Arkansas, you will remember.

In June. In Arkansas. Which is why there are 24-hour AC repair guys, of course.

It was soon in the mid-eighties in the house, and getting hotter. I had been writing savagely on Book IV all weekend (really – I’m averaging 40 pages a day these days) and whined amazingly about this, since it is impossible for me to write when it is that hot. mr. delagar scoffed. Did Faulkner let the heat stop him from writing? he demanded to know. Did Tolstoy? Did Hemingway?

I said bad things.

Anyway. It was too hot to write. It was too hot to live. According to the weather forecast, it would cool down when evening came, to a not unbearable 65. But that was hours away. mr. delagar proposed a movie.

Ha. Not a thing was on. Poseidon Adventure. Stick It. Over the Hedge. You need a movie? Pork Smith is showing crap. The only thing we even wanted to see, Inside Man, we had seen the week before.

X-Men 3, mr. delagar proposed. It’s got terrible reviews, I countered. And? he said. You prefer the heat?

So we went.

It wasn’t terrible. I mean, yes, plot holes, and I am sure those fans of the comics were appalled, to read what their blogs are saying, but it moved right along and had some nice moments. As a movie and as a way to suck up some AC, it was nice enough.

On the other hand.

I gave a paper at the CEA, a few years ago, on the first X-Men movie, “From Marlowe to Magneto: The Persistence of the Jewish Villain in Popular Culture,” which argued for a drawing straight line from the medieval blood libel tales to the movie X-Men, released in 2000, with Magneto as the archetypal villain of that blood libel tale – that he is the archetypal Jew who slaughters the Christian innocent (Rogue, in that movie) in order to use its blood (her power) to promote his nefarious way of life.

Magneto persists as the archetypal evil Jew in this sequel –blah blah blah, here’s my mark tastycakes – but our focus, you’ll note, has shifted.

What are we looking at now, folks?

Oh, heavens. It’s the evil woman.

And the evil boy, but never mind him for now.

We open with the bad little girl in her parents’ house. They can’t control her. But they give her to two strong daddies who can. Bless the patriarchy!

Xavier (our archetypal good Christian, with his X symbols everywhere) takes her off to his giant ivy-covered school and controls her – says he’s teaching her to control herself, but it soon becomes clear that he is controlling her himself. He is the patriarch. As he says himself, he must control her. “You have no idea what she can do,” he tells Wolverine.

This is right after she has killed the fella who is, more or less, her true love, her (sort of) husband, Cyclops. Clean-cut Scott. How has she killed him? Why, she gets him to expose his eyes to her! And then, somehow (it’s off screen) she exploits/warps/ explodes him to death through that venue.

I don’t have to tell any of you good psychological critics what eyes equal, do I?

Didn’t think so.

Right soon after this, after Wolverine (her other lover-- Scott's shadow figure) has freed her from the actual physical bonds Xavier has put her in, Jean kills Xavier. Explodes him. Well.

(As mr delagar whispered to me, at this point, in real and slightly horrified astonishment, “Did she just kill Captain Picard?”)

She is taken off to be the partner of the evil Jew Magneto at this point. It’s made clear that she is not his subservient partner, either. She is more powerful than he is, she threatens him at one point – he is coming up with the game plan, but he is not telling what to do. He’s not in control of her. This worries him, but on the other hand he accepts it.

[Magneto, for all his other faults, and as the movie defines him he has many, since he wants a world where anyone who is not a mutant is wiped out, and of course that’s a bad and evil thing, nevertheless Magneto does have this one good thing: anyone who is a mutant, in his world, is an equal (though this doesn’t explain his weird comment during the final battle about “pawns,” as a few blogs have mentioned – that seems very out of character) – well, so long as you haven’t sympathized with the enemy: and even then he regards you as his enemy with reluctance.]

Finally, at the end of the movie, Jean, the powerful woman mutant, gets really annoyed at the soldiers who are trying to destroy her, and begins exploding them forthwith. Wolverine cries out, “I’m the only one who can stop her!” He begins struggling toward her. She begs him to save her. He says he loves her. Then? He saves her. How? Why, by killing her. He rips out her heart with his adamantine claws, and enfolds her in his arms as she dies, crying out in grief. But, you know, just once. (For the record, he cried a lot longer when he saw that Xavier was dead.)

So what have we here, folks?

Why, it’s a lesson from the Patriarchy, I do believe!

Those women! You don’t know what they’re capable of! They must be controlled! And if they can’t be controlled? If their daddies can’t control them? Or their husbands can’t? Or their lovers can’t? You know what’s going to happen then don’t you!

They’ll destroy the world, that’s what!

That’s what this movie is about.

Though mr. delagar claims not. He thinks I might be overreacting a bit.

He would think that, though. Fucking member of the fucking patriarchy, ain’t he.


Mouse said...

Oh its like the Greeks, you know, women running wild?

zelda1 said...

I hate those movies that are supposed to be entertaining and they end up being these things that make a statement and while I don't think they intend to, or some don't, the message is there and I'm with you. Fuck that shit.

phoenix said...

just read your rather interesting review and thought it rather great.
but i would just like to clear up one thing for you:

Magneto wasn't a jew he was polish you might want to double check.because he and his familt were caught and went to a polish german prision camp in his native country.

delagar said...

Phoenix -- can you give me your source? My sources all say he's Jewish. Lots of Jews in Poland, you know. That's where my husband's people came from (Ashkenazi Jews, the lot of them). I haven't read deeply in the comic books, but the secondary sources say Magneto is a Polish Jew.