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My Trip to the Multiplex; and the Pro-War Politics of the Liberal Gay “X-Men”

My Trip to the Multiplex; and the Pro-War Politics of the Liberal Gay "X-Men"

Sitting in a crowded theater on Saturday night, as an interminable and deafeningly loud series of commercials blasted before the previews, I realized just how long it’s been since I watched a big movie in a megaplex — and why people are turning to Netflix: Damn, it’s annoying, with those ads, the equally loud, obnoxious crowds inside and outside the theater, and kids cackling throughout the screening.

As for the movie X-Men: The Last Stand, I am a guilty fan of the series. While I should have been seeing the Film Noir double-bill at the Film Forum, the existential French comedy at the IFC Center or the suicide bomber documentary at the Cinema Village, instead, I opted for stars in funny outfits and colorful makeup. And I’m embarrassed to say that I felt totally satisfied by it. As Dennis Lim suggested in his review, even grand-hack Brett Ratner couldn’t muck up the inherent allure of the series: which I’ve always chalked up to superheroes fraught with guilt, shame and heaps of internal conflict. (A friend called them Jewish superheroes — and with the Holocaust references and Bryan Singer’s background — see Apt Pupil — I don’t think she’s exaggerating.)

But what strikes me as disturbing — and even more so, because so few reviews mentioned it — is how pro-war the third installment of the franchise is. Yes, the film obviously leans to the left in its embrace of gay rights metaphors or if you prefer, pro-immigrant melting pot philosophy (let’s throw out white hegemony and celebrate our various differences and mutations, whether you’re a sexually ambiguous Dominican who sends shockwaves through the air or a Chinese-American with porcupine skin).

But in the last act, a different message takes over: When Magneto shames the X-Men as sell-outs for coming to the defense of the military, I was on his side. And in an endorsement of neocon-style pre-emption, Wolverine’s mantra is, “The best defense is a good offense,” later to be repeated by Storm in the climactic battle, where the intellectual Beast decries “diplomacy” in favor of busting heads. Dare I say I don’t think I’ve seen in the last few years a Hollywood climax so intent on justifying the Bush Regime’s wartime policies.

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Mark Rabinowitz

Oh god Anthony, take a pill! I’m going to start calling you Oscar, grouch.

The mantra by Wolverine? It’s a football axiom, not a military one. That said, he was fighting a 20 foot tall robot when he said it, so that’s fine with me. It’s also part of his character.

You forget to mention why the X-Men were defending the military in the first place…because Magneto was going to KILL the soldiers. It’s interesting to note that the man with the concentration camp numbers tattooed on his arm was so willing to claim the superiority of the mutants, no?

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