Postmodernism for the Visual Learner

An unexpected call from a local colleague precipitated me catching the latest installment of the X-Men franchise last night about 10pm. While I hadn’t intended to go and see the movie (I don’t intend to go and see *any* movies – they’re too freakin’ expensive!), it was one I had followed with some interest due to the publicity of the leaking of the film in advance of the release date. And since I like a good brutal sci-fi film as much as the next masochist, my arm didn’t have to be twisted very far out of place to opt in.  

Philosophically, the movie was pretty point blank.
No authority can be trusted. Ever. In fact, nobody in general can be trusted. Not your parents, not your siblings, not the woman you love – nobody. Everybody has a hidden agenda. Everyone could be working against you. You can only rely on yourself. And yet you yourself are inadequate for this task. You *must* rely on others, and therefore your life is a cycle of tenuous trust, betrayal, revenge, and failure. Death is your only release.
To say that this movie is dark is accurate, but then, so ultimately is the post-modern conundrum of having to rely on others that you can never trust. As Sabertooth literally begs Wolverine in one scene, the only hope, the only glimmer of release, is death itself. “Finish it” Sabertooth pants. You’ll have to see the movie to decide whether or not his wish is granted.
I find it interesting that the only way some of the characters in this film can be killed is through decapitation. The removal of the head, the brain, the rational control center. For any of the *real* (meaning useful, resourceful, talented, strong, etc) mutants, this elimination of the seat of reason is the only way to kill them. Weaker mutants can be eliminated through other means, including a bullet wound to the gut, the classical location of the emotions. But for those who embrace the bleakness of postmodernism and survive in it, you gotta eliminate their ability to think.
The movie is a lot of visual eye candy. Jackman looks good throughout, with the ideal male physique displayed liberally. The back story is compelling in it’s bleakness. Having not seen the other two films in the franchise – or followed the comic book – I’m sure that there is a lot of subtle meaning infused into events that went completely unnoticed by me. Yet the plot is easy enough to follow without this detailed understanding of how the character has been built and portrayed up until this movie. It seems like a strong continuation of a franchise that is likely to keep playing out over the next 20 years or more – if viewers can be convinced that the lives of the weaker mutants can be equally interesting to the lives of the most glorious mutants.

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