Tuesday, June 06, 2006

X-Men 3

I saw X-Men 3 the other evening and, appart from a fairly clever effect at the beginning which made two of the actors look 20 years younger, I thought it was a load of crap. Just the typical gobby women shouting at men and giving them pithy put-downs. Godess women with their mystical powers that have absolute no connection to the real world. The obligatory man-being-kicked-in-the-balls 'comedy' scene. Young girl calls a grown man a "dick-head". Men set-up to be killed or injured by first having them call the female 'bitch', as though this is then supposed to make the audience *want* them to be killed (this happens twice in the movie).

The other thing with X-Men (and, incidentally, the Harry Potter series) is that the family is presented as an evil, intollerant place, and the group community of the school is seen as the youngster's family. Its pure communism/feminism.

For a far more realistic and intelligent exploration of what Human mutants would be like and how society might react to them, try reading the novel 'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham.


the author said...


I saw that and some of the stuff I have read here, and on Mirror of the Soul, appears to have made an impression on my thinking, for I thought a few similar things.

In particular, it was dismaying to see Wolverine - the extreme expression of masculinity - being nagged on by Storm, for not being a 'team player' (despite being the best X-Man and using his skills to defeat an enemy).

In particular, the opening bit where he TRASHES the robot, and Storm nags him for 'teaching the kids to think for themselves' instead of 'working as a unit'. It made me think of the education system, thus the double amusement when she took over the school.

There's definately an exploration of female sexuality going on - when Professor X demands Jean to 'cage her energy' it's like Freud's sitting next to you in the cinema saying 'he's the father figure, caging her female essence, and... now she's going to be liberated. Yep'. It's a shame they turned the 'Dark Phoenix saga' into a drab piece of pop-psychology.

On the other hand...

The end message of the film, with Jean Gray trashing everyone and HAVING to be restrained by Wolfie after so drastically 'liberating' her 'impulses' is hardly feminist.

The 'man being kicked in the balls comedy scene' was done by Wolverine, and hardly in the same league as the very cynical, anti - male scene in 'Hitch' where Mr. Seducer is smacked in the knackers by a 'sassy career chick'. It was a pretty neat reversal - the guy who can grow back his body parts still hurts at a kick in the balls!

I laughed.

'I'm the Juggernaut, bitch' is a reference to an internet joke where the Juggernaut of the animated series is dubbed over with a Rastafarian accent.

I thought the security guard guy came over well, the 'bitch' line was a play on the 'innocent girl' disguise that Mystique had put on.

Again, you could easily take that as a warning agains the deceptive and dangerous side that lurks in a woman - a very ANTI-feminist message. Jean Grey loses control of her sexuality and wreaks havoc, Mystique turns into a little girl to manipulate the guard.

X-Men is not feminism or socialism. In the comics, the family IS intolerant... but so is the government, and the wider world.

It's about people being persecuted for their unique gifts, and how they band together for mutual support, in order to FIGHT FOR their own oppressors. It's a wonderful idea, tied up with personal freedom, self - acceptance, and the ways people deal with their talents.

X-Men is one of the more serious, vital and relevant comics, as well as the most exciting.

I agree there's a lot of stuff in the media we need to watch out for, and take to the carpet. But when you view things through a lens of 'feminist propoganda', it will tend to turn into that. X - Men had it's MOMENTS... but it wasn't that bad.

If there's one thing that bugged me, it's that with Wolverine gone all Nice Guy, bringing flowers & chocolates to the psycho bitch who only sees him as a friend, & Patrick Stewart killed after trying to reason with the same crazy woman, the MAN of the piece turned out to be... Magneto. The villain of the piece!

Roll on the Magneto spin-off film.

I guess the Wolverine spin-off will involve him sitting by the phone, wondering if the girl is going to call... and waiting...

Darren Blacksmith said...

Hi Jason,

I don't know the comics of X-men or the history of it, so I merely give my opinion as a general viewer of the film. I can understand that certain bits of dialogue and actions may have different meanings to them, but those meanings will probably be lost on the more casual viewer, like myself, who will take them at face value rather than making the connections to the comic's history. In a similar way there was a scene at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films where a female character kills the Witch King (I think thats what he was called), and just before she kills him he says something like "No man can kill me." then she quips "I'm no man." and kills him. The way the scene plays out in the cinema is as a *girl power* moment, although it was not meant that way in the book. So, my point is that even if some scenes have a particular logic to them to insiders, they can still come across as girl power moments on screen to the general audience.

Lastly, I can't understand why you would laugh at the guy being kicked in the balls. Aside from it being a form of sexually humiliating violence that would hardly EVER be shown if it was a woman receiving the kick, its such a predictable cliche.

the author said...

Hello Darren,

Yeah, I realise why you saw the meanings that you did, I'd think the same if I weren't an X-Men fan. Just wanted to add my 2 pence.

I despise the 'hilarious kick in the balls' scene, and the way it has become an acceptable staple of Hollywood cinema. The last time I saw a woman getting kicked in the cunt in a HW film was... never, & it would be doubly unacceptable if a joke came attached to it.

Not only that it is a massive cliche. Anything involving 'threat to the penis' is now a cliche.

The reason it works in X-Men 3 is

A)it's done from one man to another so it lacks that weary feminist agenda.

ie. in 'Hitch', a sassy career chick kicks a guy in the balls for disrespecting her friend ('all that for a lousy lay!' says the guy) and the audience is meant to shout 'you go, sister!'. Same girl gets sloppy and messes up Will Smith's apartment, and behaves badly at other times in the film, but never is on the end of any sexual violence. Cause it's only funny with men.

In X-Men 3 I don't see the same agenda.

B) It reveals something about Wolverine. He is incredibly brutal and direct (the guy has knives coming out of his fists!), so it is a natural character trait to just kick someone in the balls to curb an incredible power.

It got a big laugh because we are stunned at the guys ability to grow his limbs back, but Wolverine beats him immediately by being as blunt and savage as possible. It's called a 'reversal' of audience expectation.

C) It's funny cause it is a kind of pain that we as human men can identify with *immediately*. It shows that despite their amazing powers, Mutants still hurt if they get kicked in the balls! There are some things that even the super powerful are vulnerable to.

D) It's a cinema cliche used in a highly original way. 'Grow those back'. I thought Wolverine was gonna have a massive fight with the guy, cut him in two, seperate his torso, whatever. That's what usually happens in the X-Men films. But it gets resolved like *that*. Confounded the audience expectation.

So I think the 'kick in the balls' conveyed many ideas in a swift bit of violence, and in a funny way. It's probably the only kick in the balls I've seen in cinema that I can endorse.