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Saturday, 11 June 2011

X-Men & the price of super-powers

Saw the latest X-Men movie last night - it was entertaining enough, but raised an issue for me. When I read the original Marvel comics as a kid - and the X-Men was one of my favorites - they were gripping because they had these fantastic powers but it really cost them personally. They were tragic heroes. Think also of the original spider man, Fantastic Four, etc. Most of the films trivialize this (especially Iron Man, though I like Robert Downey Jr's sense of humor), or at least don't get inside the characters' angst as much as the comics used to. The latest X-Men tries to do this with two of the characters - Mystique and Beast, and that for me saved the film, but mostly the X-Men movies focus on their powers and external conflict, either mutants vs. humans, or mutants vs. mutants. What is needed, though, is more internal conflict, realized in some of the Batman movies. This makes them more interesting characters, and more sympathetic, too, because otherwise they have something we wouldn't mind having, and envy is a powerful emotion.

A related comment from a friend Chris who also saw the film, was that some of the superpowers seemed banal or just plain not credible - e.g. a girl with a wasp's wings, or a boy being able to blow out air to the point he could fly. It seemed not much thought had gone into these particular superpowers.

Makes me wonder what superpowers I would actually want. The series Heroes had some interesting ones, as did the cut-short series The 44000. Probably right now I'd settle for super-marketing powers, so I could sell more of my books :-) (well, okay, after being able to bring world peace, cure aids, etc.).

Still, I'll keep watching the Marvel Comics spin-off movies, though so far I've resisted Thor...

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