Magneto Wins

This is about X-Men: First Class.  If you haven’t seen the film  yet, there are some spoilers here.  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!

There.  You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh, what the heck.  Just to be safe.

SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!  SPOILER ALERT!

That should do it.

So I started writing a blog post about X-Men: First Class.  It was a digression into racial politics and the problems that we’re still wrestling with as a society.  It pointed out that all the non-Caucasian characters “go bad” in the end, and our theoretical “good guys” are all white males.  With the exception of the Beast, who is, technically underneath that fur, a white kid too.  Oh, yeah, and the black guy dies first.

But there’s a point where it’s just wearying.  Yeah, I think there’s quite a bit of unintentional racial baggage that shows up in First Class.  On the one hand, it’s not strange that they’d kill off Darwin, as he’s an obscure character and nobody really cares much for him.  But it’s also kind of strange to pick Darwin, considering his power is expressly the ability NOT to die.  It’s not that I couldn’t believe he could be killed.  But it should take a hell of a lot more than what it does in the movie.

But let’s put all that aside.  And let’s put all that other stuff aside too.  Because it’s all something worth talking about, but it’s not stuff I want to talk about now.

Instead, I’d like to talk about the very heart of First Class.  And that heart is this:

Magneto is right.

Shaw is a madman.  Xavier is naive.  But Magneto is neither.

And he’s right.

It’s weird to realize this because I’m not sure if that’s the intent of the film or not.  But it certainly seems like it.  Humans, as a whole, are presented as intolerant, obnoxious, and dangerous.  They’re also completely justified in their fears.  When four mutants are able to literally kill every human in their path without any difficulty, you realize just how powerless the humans are against these foes.

X-Men are often used to explore the concept of fantastic racism.  And usually, it’s handled deftly and with interesting nuance.  But First Class destroys that nuance by presenting characters which are so dangerous that humans would be stupid not to fear them.  The problem with this racism metaphor is that we’re not talking about superficial differences like skin color and eye color.  We’re talking about very real differences in just what they are capable of.

Magneto is right.  If mutants banded together and worked as one, in very short order, the world would be theirs.

Okay, so let’s ignore that for a moment.  Even if it’s possible for mutants to be good, productive members of society, the movie makes it clear that humans are not interested in that.  It’s always been a problem for the X-Men stories (in whatever form they’re presented) to make the humans both the enemy and sympathetic.  More often than not, the humans come across as small-minded and bigoted.  There are a handful of human characters in the X-men universe that are open-minded and friendly, who have a live and let live attitude.  It’s ironic in a story about acceptance that the humans are often portrayed as a uniform, intolerant hive mind.

First Class has the problem.  There are only two sympathetic, fleshed out human characters.  One is killed and promptly forgotten.  Another has her memory erased because even idealistic Charles Xavier knows you can’t trust humans.  Yes, even Prof X knows this:

Magneto is right.

I can only assume the film does this intentionally.  It can’t be an accident.  Perhaps because the film was written by humans, for humans, it’s assumed we’ll automatically side with the human race.  But I find myself rooting for the other side.  And if Prof X stands with the human race, I think Magneto would’ve been better off just killing him.

The film has managed to convince me that in the struggle of mutantkind, the X-Men are the bad guys.  And I guess that’s impressive if that’s its goal.  Although I’m not sure it is.  Marvel makes a lot of money of the X-Men.  It’d be strange to believe they want you to dislike them.

All I know is that the world would be a much different place if every repressed minority and subgroup had the power to shoot laser beams out of their eyes and spit acid.  And maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

So congratulations, First Class.  You’ve turned me away from tolerance.  You’ve convinced me, in at least this case, that Charles Xavier’s dreams of peace are the products of a delusional mind.  Maybe that’s just the way it goes now.  I’m used to disliking the good guys in this modern dark age of comics.  But I guess I’ll have to just get used to cheering for the “bad guys”.

Magneto is right.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,

Lee

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16 Comments

  1. Posted June 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree somewhat, I have always been a big X-Men fan and understand that they have always had a very strong racial undertones. And even though the whole mutant controversy is still prevalant it comes down to the fact that the X-Men are still just like any superheroes. The mutant concept, as creator Stan Lee admitted, was just a plot device on how to give these heroes their powers in that they were simply “born with them”. There is still the age old story of people with superpowers and whether or not they chose to use their powers for good or evil. Although Magneto may be the “evil one”, despite his rationale for wanting to make the world safe for mutants by getting rid of the humans; Xavier wants peaceful coexistance and understanding, which is all well and good but it’s obvious that neither of them will really get what they want, thus the eternal conflict ensues. I think X-Men: First Class is the X-Men movie that has finally “hit the nail on the head” when it comes to the true purpose behind the X-Men story. The ending does it perfectly!

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I disagree on one point. I don’t think Magneto comes across as an extremist. And I don’t find his goal disagreeable or impossible. In fact, by the end of the movie, I thought not only was Magneto right, but his vision is inevitable. In a world where mutants and humans are in constant conflict, the mutants would win. And the only reason they don’t more often is because of the misguided interference of Prof X and the X-Men. In other words, the humans are irrelevant to the discussion. If Prof X was paying attention, he’d realize that he’s fighting for a dream that no one else shares. One that can never be.

      At the end of the day, Magneto (or someone like him) will win. And all Prof X is doing is standing in his way as Magneto fights for the best future possible for his people.

      That’s where the film fails for me. It doesn’t convince me that Prof X is sympathetic or interesting or even idealistic. He’s just plain WRONG. And he’s wrong in a pig-headed, uncompromising way. He’s the Doctor Doom of unrequited tolerance, and he needs to go.

      Really, if the movie had ended with Magneto killing Prof X, it would’ve been a happy ending for me. I know that doesn’t jive with the continuity of the previous films, but I couldn’t honestly give a damn.

      There are no shades of gray here, no equally valid points of view. There’s Magneto who is right, Prof X who is wrong, and the human race, which is sadly caught in the middle.

    • Posted June 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree that Magneto proves his point. It’s sad. It isn’t realistic, though. In a world where every word and every action is subject to scrutiny and can be deemed as racist, people are quick to point the finger. This isn’t a bad thing. If the X-Men lived in our world, the haters would be viewed like any other hate group, and people would be protesting naked to protect Beast.

      • A. Lee Martinez
        Posted June 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I do think that in the real world, while there would undoubtedly be a lot of prejudice against mutants, there would also be many people who supported their right to exist and be non-persecuted members of society. This is where the X-Men movies always disappoint me. If you want to make me believe that mutants should try to get along with humans, you have to give me the impression that humans are redeemable.

        It’s actually the same way in the comic books. I don’t need every human (or even most) to be tolerant. But I need some. Without this portrayal, Prof X comes across as stupid and Magneto is right.

        Ironically, it’s this aspect that I find most unrealistic and disappointing about the X-Men universe. Humans are not a hive mind. But if you’re going to treat us like one, then you’re inevitably going to miss out on the subtleties of the entire concept.

  2. Jennifer Lawrence
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Heh. Marvel actually licensed a t-shirt about three or four years back that had Magneto’s face on it, roaring, and the slogan “Magneto was right.” I wear it often.

  3. Bob Bob
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    Wait! Hold the boat! First Class hasn’t brought anything new to the table. The first X-Men movie explored this same subject matter. In fact, Magneto blatantly makes a remark about human beings being extinct and evolution being inevitable: and we [mutants] are the evolution. Magneto was always right. You weren’t paying attention.

    But really! If there was any sort of extreme evolution, humans would be wiped out of existence within a few generations. They wouldn’t even have to directly kill us. All they have to do is breed.

    But who cares about that–let them have it. What is more important is what type of evolution will my mutant offspring be. I’m thinking mental evolution. Something similar to high functioning autism (limited social skills, lost ability to comprehend sarcasm or irony), but they’ll have above average critical thinking skills, advanced long/short term memories with ability to remember and juxtapose numerous facts (i.e meta- ideas, calculate numbers, extensive multilingual vocabularies), and a more advanced understanding of cause-and-effect. Basically, they’ll be the kids from Village of the Damned without telepathy and alien dna.

    What do you think? What is the next evol?

  4. Will
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this post very much because I liked the film very much. No doubt there’s an intentional parallel between the human-mutant tension & interracial tensions. Another viewpoint is to take the mutants at face value – not an evolutionary competitor to humanity but the evolutionary future of humanity. Secondly, we love our naive idealists, here personified in Xavier. Thirdly, the negative portrayal of ordinary humans is consistent with the comic book/male teen roots of the franchise and there dislike of authority figures. Finally, although the nature of the blockade of Cuba was inaccurately portrayed, I enjoyed an implied criticism of JFK.

  5. Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I’d argue that Magneto is wrong for exactly the same reason that he’s kind of right. Mutants are human. Just as humans fear mutants with special abilities that might hurt them, mutants fear each other. Magneto is an extremist who believes in the theory of eugenics, the perfect race and that should rule. But rulers are a small group whose power is always challenged. There’s always another who will be superior to you in abilities and power and is therefore a threat, not a teammate. Magneto cannot bring the mutants together in any stable way, and since weakness is punished in his philosophy, even the weaker mutants in his camp will work to destroy those above them, for safety if nothing else. While Magneto offers a place to be accepted and feel superior in theory, he does not offer growth or judgment, and his soldiers are mostly focused on personal power and dominance, not achieving goals or keeping him in power. (Witness Emma Frost happily signing up to Magneto’s team, even though Magneto killed Shaw.) Xavier is naive, but he does not encourage mutants to fight it out. He helps them grow and control their powers and develop social skills that are not simply for getting along with humans, but for dealing with each other, so that fight or flight are not the only options for interactions. He wipes Moira’s memories not because he doesn’t trust her but because he’s trying to protect her and buy time to help the young people he’s got regarding both humans and Magneto.

    So you can have endless war and personal treachery, or you can have the Internet and kids who live and attempts to build things, like say you writing novels. Those attempts may fail, but trying them is better than the alternative. Magneto is frequently defeated, often by his own people or by forces stronger than himself. His own kids desert him and become superheroes. In the movie, he is only able to defeat Shaw because Xavier helps him and lets him kill Shaw in order to keep Magneto and many others alive. So Magneto isn’t right, Magneto is simply temporarily successful. Magneto gives up attempting the harder path and emulates Shaw and the Nazis who destroyed his family. And they lost.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted June 16, 2011 at 1:39 am | Permalink

      Interesting theory. Of course, it falls apart because though many people consider themselves the superior race throughout the history of the world, none of them actually were. But mutants actually are more powerful and capable than humans. This is shown repeatedly in the films and comics, where the only thing capable of stopping “evil” mutants was “good” mutants.

      Furthermore, more and more mutants are being born. They will only continue to grow in power and influence and there really is nothing the humans can do on their own to stop this.

      This is not to imply that a world ruled by mutants would be a utopia. It would definitely have its fair share of prejudice and problems. But this isn’t about creating a perfect world. It’s about a persecuted group trying to find its place in the world. The mutants aren’t the Nazis. They’re the persecuted group who, through the power of fantasy, have the power to bring about their own empowerment. And I find myself reluctant to say they’re wrong for being willing to do what they must against a world unwilling to compromise with them.

      Magneto didn’t pick this fight. He’s just not going to run away from it. And he’s the only sane character in the movie when you get right down to it. Shaw is needlessly destructive. Prof X is part of the corrupt system. Only Magneto has the courage and realism to know what must be done.

      Yeah, I know I’m supposed to find Prof X’s idealism inspiring. But it only comes across as hypocritical and ridiculous. He’s the wealthy white good-looking guy who can completely blend in while telling everyone else it’s in their best interest to be part of a system that rejects and endangers them. He’s no better than Shaw in the end.

      Sorry, but Magneto is right. And I’ve yet to hear a rebuttal that convinces me otherwise.

      • Posted June 17, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        The mutants are powerful, but they’re not necessarily capable, nor necessarily intelligent. What they are, most of them, even the good ones, is unstable. Their powers are often tied into their emotions and difficult to control, they are dysfunctional and self-destructive and likely to kill others intentionally or accidentally. They are also continually vulnerable. Sure, Magneto can send a bunch of missiles flying — if he’s not distracted by attack and if he’s got his pretty helmet to protect him from psychic attack which can and does regularly take him out. And he’s severely psychologically damaged, as is Raven. He is not able to keep the loyalty and support of any coalition of mutants for long. They will simply vie to kill him. Magneto is attacked just as often by “bad” mutants as good ones. And then there are the aliens, even more powerful than the mutants, who beat up on the mutants and Magneto, etc., on a regular basis. (Dark Phoenix, the most powerful “mutant” of all, was apparently an alien.) Magneto used alien tech to create a humanoid who then turned Magneto into a baby, etc. Magneto’s philosophy is the Nazi philosophy and is Shaw’s philosophy — that mutants are superior and should rule, slaughtering or enslaving the inferior, including inferior mutants. But there’s always going to be someone — mutant, alien, robot, constructed entity — more powerful than Magneto. (Shaw was more powerful than Magneto, which is why he had to have Xavier’s help to kill him.) And even when an entity is not as powerful as you, with a lucky shot or teamwork, a weaker one can still take you out — as Shaw discovered — and it’s in their best interest to do so.

        It’s not a zero sum game, as you are arguing. If the mutants kill off the humans as the inferior life form, it doesn’t stop there; they’ll continue to kill off each other. Forget utopia, it’s simply endless slaughter — no civilization, no growth, no safety, into mass extinction. We know what nuclear bombs can do. When you have people who are nuclear bombs and have the mental stability of a meth-head, then you’re going to blow up the planet or at the least turn it into a devastated wasteland of instant death. And indeed, the comics have created dimensions and alt timelines that show this very reality happening, often with Magneto ruling or defeated by other rulers and/or stripped of his powers. Magneto’s plan is simply that they should all kill each other to see who wins. And he does not, despite his powers, win. His daughter is more powerful than him and can warp reality, stripping mutants of their powers. Xavier puts him into a coma. A former ally clones him to seek his death, and many more comics scenarios.

        If you want to live under tyranny and have your family eaten, then Magneto’s philosophy is the one for you. Xavier’s philosophy is not blanket tolerance, nor is it always about yielding to the fears of others. In the movie, Xavier is young and stupid and ends up learning a big lesson at great cost because of it. But Magneto remains the scared little boy who watched his mom die and wants to kill the whole world because of it so he can never feel helpless again. And that’s not superiority. It’s post-traumatic stress syndrome.

        • A. Lee Martinez
          Posted June 17, 2011 at 12:37 am | Permalink

          Don’t know if I agree with any of this. Let me just state though, for the record, I don’t like Magneto’s philosophy. I don’t want to live in that world. But the film clearly portrays it as the only possible world to live in.

          I would certainly like to live in a tolerant world, and I’d love to believe in Xavier’s dream. But because there are no sympathetic humans in the films and even Magneto comes across as more likable and relatable.

          Your other points are all valid for the comic books. But I’m basing my point only on the movie itself, which is an important distinction. After all, the fear of mutants in comics never made much sense to me, considering the number of non-mutant superhumans in the Marvel universe.

          It would also be different if mutants were an isolated phenomenon. But there are more born every day in this universe and eventually, no matter how you try to get rid of them, they will just keep coming. They can’t be contained. They will eventually overwhelm the humans and most probably replace them. (Although that’s not precisely true because I really agree mutants aren’t another species, just a peculiar minority of humanity.) Magneto understands this, and is just trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.

          I think if we judge the actions of Magneto based on what we see in the film, then he comes across as the only sane mane. No argument yet has convinced me otherwise.

  6. Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Well no, Magneto isn’t trying to make it as smooth as possible. Magneto believes in death, destruction and slaughter. I think you’re missing the point of the movie, just because Magneto temporarily spares Chuck, Moira and the Wonder Twins out of passing guilt, while indicating to Chuck, which Chuck understands, that he will kill him later. It’s just that they all need to try to get out since the U.S. forces were trying to kill them. Magneto is, at a later date in the first X-Men movie, happily trying to turn all the humans into mutants, even if it kills them — just like Shaw planned. And Havok and Banshee don’t join Magneto for the same reason that they didn’t join Shaw — they don’t want to kill millions of people and they know also that Magneto, their former mentor, will turn on them if he thinks it necessary. Magneto’s philosophy is join or die, and even if you join him, you’ll die because the mutants turn on each other.

    The message of the movie can be summed up in the dialogue exchange between Magneto and Chuck. Magneto says, “Your problem is that you think all of the humans are like Moira.” And Xavier says, “Your problem is that you think all of the humans are not like Moira.” For Magneto, everyone is a threat, human or mutant, seeking to destroy him. So the only way he can be safe is to kill every human and mutant on the planet. It’s not like a mutant government is going to be better for him and persecute him less than a human one. Even if he’s the ruler, he’ll be betrayed and attacked. Which is again why he wears his pretty helmet. His philosophy goes nowhere except annihilation.

    The movie does not endorse Magento’s savage nihilism as correct. It has the usual message that killing of all kinds is something to try to stop as much as possible as well as the message that you should believe in yourself. Xavier makes mistakes about how to build bridges, and they cost him Raven and a relationship with Moira, but by the end of the movie, he’s learned from them. Magneto has a chance to learn from his mistakes, but he doesn’t. He simply assumes Shaw’s mantle, which was what Shaw wanted from him. He calls himself Frankenstein’s monster, and like that monster, kills his creator. Which is why mutants can’t replace humans successfully — they’ll simply keep killing each other. Superiority is an arms race that can never be won. (This has been fun, especially as this is probably way more than the Hollywood folks were thinking about.)

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted June 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Okay, so let’s keep this going a little while longer.

      “Smooth as possible” does not imply there won’t be a lot of death and destruction. That’s a given. Evolution is a brutal process. There’s no way around that.

      I disagree that Magneto is taking Shaw’s mantle. He clearly understands how deranged Shaw is in his methods. This is evident again from the films. In the original X-Men film, his goal is to transform human leaders into mutants. There is nothing destructive about that. At least, not in what he wants to happen. In the film, he doesn’t believe the mutations will kill anyone. So in the first film, his goal is actually pretty damn benevolent, even if his methods are reckless.

      (But is this really any different than Prof X, who sends students into dangerous battle situations for his own ideals? It’s not as if Prof X can take the high ground on this point.)

      In the second film, Magneto attempts to wipe out the human race in one fell swoop. This is more militant, but there’s little indication of malice here. Furthermore, he’s only using a plan that a human organization has already developed, turning their own weapon against them. Still, it’s definitely more malevolent, and I can see why it can be viewed as wrong.

      In the third film, Magneto is merely trying to destroy a tool that humanity wants to use to wipe out mutantkind. This is entirely a defensive posture. He’s not exactly the good guy, but considering that his goal is only to protect himself from those who would attack him, it’s hard to think of him as the bad guy. Other than his willingness to use his own mutant soldiers as fodder in a stupid manner. (Which is just plain bad writing.)

      In comparison, if neo-Nazis developed a Caucasian Ray that transformed all minorities into white people, would we expect minorities to just accept this? Would we think they were wrong for wanting it destroyed?

      Magneto’s “wrongness” is an informed attribute. The films never really present us with a real alternative. Like I’ve said, all it would take was for several humans to be presented as pro-mutant and anti-discrimination. But these characters simply do not exist in the film. Humanity comes across as prejudiced and foolish. And weak.

      (It’s like the scenes in the Spidey films where citizens come to his defense. Or the boat scene in Dark Knight. I actually dislike all these films, but at least they portray average citizens who are worthy of our sympathy.)

      I’ll just go ahead and say it. Magneto represents the new world fighting against the old guard. Xavier represents the old world. I know it isn’t intended as such, but considering that he’s a wealthy, charming, well-respected Caucasian, it’s hard not to see him as hypocritical when he tells other mutants that aren’t so lucky that they should relax and just work with the system. Magneto seems more accepting and realistic in his goals and outlook.

      Let’s get one thing straight though. Don’t mistake my complete sympathy with Magneto to be an endorsement of real world politics of this sort. But in this fictional universe the films have created, Magneto’s vision is the only consistent and logical one. It’s the only genuinely worthwhile philosophy in the world he lives in.

      It’s not that I want to empathize with Magneto. In fact, it really kind of pisses me off that I find myself on his side. But I can’t honestly disagree with Magneto or his views, given what the films have given me to work with. And while in the real world, I will always lean toward idealism, I can’t find any genuine idealism in these films. Even Prof X is merely a guy who likes the world the way it is and doesn’t want it to change. He’s not an idealist.

      So in a world with no heroes and no villains, Magneto is the winner. And that’s about all that’s left to say about it from my point of view.

  7. Posted June 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I think that you are sort of color coating everything. You’re trying to make Magneto benevolent because we do sympathize with his childhood. But sympathizing that the mass murderer had a bad childhood does not mean ignoring that he’s a mass murderer. That there are other mass murderers and that they happen to be human (some of them, like Shaw, are mutants,) does not mean that Magneto is suddenly just a good old agent of evolution. And in each of the four films, he loses. That’s not exactly an endorsement.

    You are also now trying to say Xavier isn’t an idealist and doesn’t want things to change, after painting him as a naive idealist. But in each of the films, Xavier is an idealist and he does want things to change and grow better for mutants. It’s just that in First Class, he’s young, cocky and inexperienced. And he’s punished for it.

    And you keep selectively applying racial aspects to the conflict, while at the same time saying that racial aspects are not relevant as the mutants are not a race, but actual superior beings. Yes, Xavier is white — which has little to do with his mutant situation — and he can pass for human. The films are bound by comics canon. It was the 1960′s and while Stan Lee was trying to support racial equality through the idea of mutants, to have his equivalent of DC’s Bruce Wayne, it was going to have to be a white guy back then. So Xavier is white, and he’s rich so that he has resources to outfit a team. But Erik is also white and can and does pass, as do Emma and Shaw. Erik is in fact being a bleeding hypocrite towards Raven, but hey, he’s a sexy older man and she’s on the rebound. Trying to paint Xavier as the colonial white master trying to keep the minorities in check really doesn’t work. Xavier is naive, yes, and his enthusiasm overrides caution in First Class but he’s mainly just trying to keep black and white people alive from nuclear holocaust. He is trying to protect Raven from humans who he knows will be dangerous to her, (and making Raven be black as the analogy really doesn’t cut it here,) and in doing so, he messes up, lessens her. He accepts this, regrets it, and lets her go, grow up and make her own choices.

    There are sympathetic humans in the films, and Beast gets appointed ambassador to the UN, but the X-Men movies aren’t focused on the humans or human reactions. They’re focused on the mutants having cool abilities and being under threat so that they can become heroic or villainous because that makes good story.

    But what I’m trying to say is that Magneto’s vision of the future, while consistent in his desire for revenge, is not very practical. It’s not really clear thinking. It’s emotional. It’s a hissy fit, not the rational actions of a superior being. And it is incredibly short-sighted, as superiority arguments always are. If it’s only a dog eat dog world, no point in attempting anything else — which for Magneto, killing Shaw his creator, it is — then the mutants will in the future continue to kill each other. Logically, they cannot not kill each other. Logically, to protect himself, Magneto must attempt to kill everyone eventually, and he is willing to do so. You are arguing that it’s a new world where the mutants will supplant humans or at least rule over them as tyrants, but what I’m saying is that this is not logically what will happen. What will happen is that the mutants will eat each other. There will be no new world; only an ever escalating war. Because if the humans are a threat because they are threatened, the mutants are an even bigger threat and are threatened by other mutants. There’s always a bigger fish.

    And that’s what First Class is trying to show via using the Cuban Missile Crisis — the continual escalation of superiority arms race to the point of willingness of destroying the Earth — and themselves — to win against a threat. The movie presents this as a bad idea, that knee jerk reactions are easily manipulated, as Shaw does, into mass destruction — and attacks on the mutant rescuers which were partly the after results of Shaw’s tentacles. Magneto embraces mass destruction and revenge; he thinks he can do a better arms race than the humans or Shaw did. Which again means perpetual war and slaughter. Xavier studies genetic mutation — he knows where Magneto’s path leads — to continual supplantation and extinction. He understands how an ecosystem works. Magneto does not. He was turned into a soldier and that’s all he knows — kill things. Devastate your enemies. And so the mutants cannot, under Magneto, be a stable force and will kill each other, out of dominance and fear. Logically, Magneto’s plan only leads to death.

    Which Magneto accepts because he’s suicidal. To kill Shaw, he was willing to kill himself, drowning in the water, till Xavier promised him another chance at revenge and the discovery of other mutants. Magneto feels responsible for the death of his parents, he suffers post traumatic stress (his inability to unlock good memories, etc.) and he wants to punish himself, their Nazi killers and the whole world. He is Frankenstein’s monster — who is looked on as a monster and a threat by some, and so decides to be a monster, not out of logic, but out of pain. Magneto is not acting out of logic. Magneto fails. Magneto is prejudiced. Magneto is emotional and self-destructive. Magneto, evolutionary-wise, is a dead end. And if mutants only follow a dog eat dog view of the ecosystem, then they will kill each other and that they have powers will only matter for making more spectacular deaths and a really good nuclear holocaust. I’m pretty sure the latter was not what the movie was trying to endorse.

  8. Bob Bob
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    @KatG

    A Lee Martinez is usually wrong. He has relativistic notions bordering on nihilism. But in this case he is right. Magneto Wins!!!!! Magneto seems to be a realist in this situation. He understands evolution is inevitable and homo sapiens hold no value anymore. Homo sapiens have become the wounded dog hit by a car on the side of the highway. The mutants either need to shoot us or save us. If the mutants save us, we remain damaged. We become free-riders in a world beyond our potential. The mutant society would be forced to imprison us keep us from dangers of common mutant life. Could you imagine constantly living in fear, because some common supernatural event will kill you? If you had a child outside of incest, your child may unwantingly, unknowingly kill you. Are you the type of person who wants their child to live with the fact that he killed his parent(s) out of his basic nature? Magneto Wins, because to survive is to be a parody of homo sapien.

  9. Bob Bob
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Back up, my previous post seemed overwhelmingly altruistic, which is what Magneto is by the way. “Join us or die” is an altruism. What I meant to say is, it is cynical to think homo sapiens and mutants can co-exist at all. If mutants become the majority or even the equality, we hold no value in the workaday world. For instance, do you think a business would hire a common human when humans have such limited assets? Why would a business hire humans to commute to and fro–paying large expenses for airplane travel–when they could hire a mutant to teleport from on place to another? Hire the teleportation mutant and the business can eliminate the entire travel expense account. Hire the telepath and boom never get taken by the competition. This may sound absurd, but you get the idea: assets. Homo sapiens have no assets, and they are a liability. I doubt a university would even consider taking homo sapiens. I think they would be hard pressed to find any value in us. Even A. Lee Martinez’s fiction would become valueless. Perhaps not, mutants might find entertainment reading about the human fish-out-of-water story (I doubt it). Romance–Only if the pirate protagonist has frog abilities.

    Anyway, if the dynamic changed in such a way that humans were the lesser species we wouldn’t be much more than commodities for the superior species. We would have about as much value as a porcelain doll in a hammer factory.

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