Sunday, June 26, 2011

"I don't get to talk, but I wear fabulous suits."

The irony of X-Men: First Class (in theaters now!) is the film's theme of social acceptance, while rigidly adhering to the standard discriminatory practices of Hollywood movies. Racism, sexism, ageism, sizeism were all in fine form in a story about celebrating your differences.

First of all--SPOILER ALERT for almost every action movie ever--the black guy dies, after Kevin Bacon self-righteously compares mutants to African slaves, and gives the black guy a pointed look. Btw, the only black guy does have a name: it's Darwin, like the lovable dolphin on seaQuest DSV. (We'll miss you, Jonathan Brandis.)

Second, did the wardrobe department run out of fabric for the ladies? James McAvoy and the other guy had their bodies completely covered from neck to toe, even on the sunny beach scenes. Yet all of female characters (all four of them, in supporting roles) were required to appear semi-naked for most, if not all, of their scenes. Mystique and Rose Byrne insisted upon wearing miniskirts during the rainy season in London and while representing a government agency, respectively. The former couldn't even close her X-Men jumpsuit the whole way, because ladies' zippers don't go up that far? Did they need to be sexually objectified for the entire movie?

Third, these ladies needed to take a page from Storm and Jean Grey in X2 (otherwise known as the best X-Men movie), because none of them seemed to be able to act on their own without the help or guidance or condescension of some man. None of them were allowed to carry their own story line. Each of female characters seemed to exist mainly to assist, serve, praise and/or sexually entice one or more of the male characters in the movie. Way to keep the wimmins in their place.

Fourth, if Charles Xavier could use Cerebro to identify all of the humans in the world, why did he end up selecting almost exclusively the young, pale, painfully thin, American ones? For example, were there no mature, chunky, Indonesian women in the mutant population? And to make matters worse, as Tasha Robinson points out in her review at the A.V. Club, "the few non-Caucasian characters are all dead or evil by halfway through the film". Dead. Silent and evil. Barely clothed and evil.

That's exactly the kind of message a film about escaping the Nazi regime should embrace: only let the white men boss people around; show the true despicable nature of the coloreds; and make sure the ladies are all scantily-clad and submissive. Mutant and proud!

(Side note and SPOILER ALERT: Hugh Jackman was pitch perfect in his cameo appearance. Way to make that mortgage payment, Wolverine.)


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