arts, movies, music, pop culture · faith

hope dangles on a string, or my review of X-men DOFP

SPOILER ALERT… just FYI…

It’s not their pain you’re afraid of — it’s yours. And frightening as it can be their pain will make you stronger if you allow yourself to feel it. Embrace it. It will make you more powerful than you ever imagined. It’s the greatest gift we have that we can bear pain without breaking, and it’s born from the most human power: Hope. Please Charles, we need you to hope again.

-Professor X, to himself

Oh how we all wish we had the opportunity to go talk to our younger selves at a crucial moment in our lives, nay, in the crucial moment for the fate of the entire world. As if I was in that moment where history was completely rewritten for all time for all living beings ever. Yep, that was me.

X-men: Days of Future Past delivers exactly what you’re expecting it to. That is if you expect X-men to be adventurous, with some violence and end of the world drama. But what I truly have come to love about these movies is that it sinks it’s teeth into the meaning of life, humanity, war, love, friendship, and all that jazz. They try to tackle the very heart of what it means to be alive and how to live together in peace.

And if that doesn’t work, just blow everything up. The movie itself had slightly less action and adventure than some of the movies I’ve seen lately. It was heavier on the dialogue and the angst, not teen mind you, but angst nonetheless. Charles does a lot of talking and crying this time around, a broken man with a crushed spirit. Which leads us to the quote above.

To make it ever so slightly heavy, it occurred to me in the middle of that scene that in some ways, I wonder if this was the kind of thought process that Jesus himself went through before the cross. Maybe in the Garden of Gethsemane he thought something about bearing the pain of the world and all he could do was remember the hope it will bring. I thought about self-sacrifice and pushing oneself to the edge of insanity and/or extinction, what it would take to be willing to give all just so others can live.

Of course we already knew Xavier is that guy. He’s always willing to sacrifice himself for the good of many. He’s the Spock of the crew, noble and steady as they come. But it was nice to see him when he wasn’t so noble or so steady. It was nice to see how he fell apart and needed some help, albeit ultimately from himself, to get back on track.

Or maybe that’s really the point – that only you yourself can bring you back from the edge, that others can help direct you, but when the world is crashing around you and the bad guy is gonna win and the shapeshifting blue chick is ready to pull the trigger, only you can make the decision on how things are going to go. Only you can take yourself back off the ledge and make the right choice, the one that doesn’t lead to destruction and chaos, but to peace and mutual understanding. It’s always about choices in life. That’s something the X-men franchise and writers have done really well. They chose to make movies about choices. Beautiful irony.

Anyway, to be honest, I really don’t see where they are going with the next movie, and of course there will be a next movie. My guess is this story line has done worn itself out. Besides, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters will soon turn into Xavier’s Assisted Living Residence for Active Retirees. It’s time to open the stargate and let in some new characters. Even Wolverine who isn’t supposed to age is, well, aging, and don’t get me wrong he looks great, but movie magic only goes so far. But it’s been a good run. And it’s always better to leave the adoring fans adoring instead of slowly growing tired of you. Better off to burn out than to fade away, right? The sneak preview, if you can call about 15 seconds of a clip, after the credits of DOFP showed something that looked interesting enough for me to go hmmmm and we’ll see what happens next. Who am I kidding? Of course I’ll go see it. I have no choice but to hope it’s great.

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