X-Men

X-MEN ALLEGORICALLY ATTACKS PERSECUTION
As a comic book, X-Men has the distinction of being very political. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film X-Men begins in the Warsaw ghetto of 1944, with an incident in which Magneto as a child (played by Brett Morris) overpowers Nazi police but otherwise is unable to stop the Holocaust. The tagline of the movie, “Join the evolution,” informs those who have not read the comic book that some humans have mutated to have extraordinary powers, for example having the strength of wild animals. Fast forward to the United States “in the very near future,” when Senator Kelly (played by Bruce Davison) insists that the new minority of human mutants (perhaps called homo superiorus) must be tracked down, and he proposes measures that would be a replay of the McCarthy era. Meanwhile, Professor Charles Francis Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart), the world’s most powerful telepath, leads mutants wanting to serve mankind; he establishes a School for Gifted Youngsters to train mutant children how to use their powers to promote peace. Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (played by Ian McKellen), wants to rule over ordinary humans; he forms the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to ensure that the Holocaust will not recur. The two mutant clans try different ways of coping with the McCarthyism of the day. Magneto’s clan unleashes violence, contrary to the precepts of the professor’s clan, which in turn stops the violence with his team of X-Men. By the end of the film, the Senator realizes that there are good mutants and rescinds his policy of persecution. Although the fascinating fight sequences in the film by unusual characters (one with eyes that are laser beams, another who changes weather, yet another exhibiting telekinesis, and the like) will dazzle or even distract most filmviewers, the story clearly shows the stupidity of intolerance and violence against persecuted minorities. Accordingly, the Political Film Society has nominated X-Men for two awards—best film on human rights and best film on nonviolence and peace. MH