From this time were persecuted for being

 From the symbolic references comparing  Charles Xavier (Professor X) to Martin LutherKing Jr and  Erik Lensherr (Magneto) to Malcom X, X-Men the movie is aboutmore than good versus evil. It is a film that brings the true theme, civilrights and equality for all men, to light as it was first written in theoriginal comic series. It symbolizes the struggle between what is perceived asthe normal human race and a marginalised people hated for nothing more thanbeing different.

In the opening scene the writerswaste no time drawing you into a world of bigotry and hatred. The Jews of thistime were persecuted for being different and had no control over how they wereborn into this world. We are reminded just how intolerant people were in yearspast and it places in our mind the idea that mutants fall into the samecategory as a misunderstood and hated sub group.

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In an instant the feeling ofhatred for a people is conveyed as people are herded like cattle through a gateto what is assuredly their certain death. At the same time Erik is singled out as not just a Jew but a mutant aswell. This is done intentionally to give the viewer an overall feeling of howit must feel to be as different as Erik. By using the Holocaust, which carriesa stigma known by most everyone, the viewer gets a symbolic slap in the facecomparing Jews to mutants.

This sets up the tone for the entire film and givesthe viewer a sense of just how far persecution of a people, for being nothingbut themselves, can go by drawing from something from history that we canrelate to.In the second scene in the moviewe are introduced to Rouge. Up until this point in her life she is a typicalteenage girl with what seems to be an average middle class life. She is aboutto experience her first real kiss and discovers quickly she will surely neverforget. The writers point out later in the film that mutant powers often aren’tdiscovered until adolescence and during times of heightened emotional stress.This is not unlike the changes undergone by gay, lesbian, and transgenderedpeople during their lives. Rouge feels shame for what she is even though shewas born the way she was and had no control over the cards dealt to her. Themovie uses this scene to draw comparisons to how the LGBT community must feelas they grow into their own skin and discover that, even though they appear onthe outside to be as others are, they are in fact very different on the inside.

In an instant her normal life is turned upside down just for being who she wasborn to be.          Wenow find ourselves, in my humble opinion, at the most important symbolicreference in the film. Enter Professor Charles Xavier aka Professor X and ErikLensherr aka Magneto. Since the comics creation, the dynamic between these twocharacters has been a far from subtle representation of civil rights activistsMartin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X and their different approaches to rightingthe wrongs of social and racial injustice. This comparison to the greatestminds and leaders of social equality since Abraham Lincoln is so apparentthroughout the film it borderlines a literal parallel between fact and fictionin as many ways as a metaphoric analogy. We first meet Charles Xavier after he sits inon what appears to be a congressional hearing discussing the pros and cons oflaws designed to “segregate” mutants. This is an obvious reference to thesegregation laws overturned in the mid to late 1960’s and sets the tone for thepolarity between Charles and Erik. Professor X is dreamer and a thinker.

He hasspent his life trying to find common ground to stand on with the human race.His message is clearly a likeness of King’s. As shown throughout the entirefilm Xavier’s approach is compared to that of King’s in that they are bothpassive in nature and preach a message of “hope” for good relations between allGod’s creations.Erik Lensherr is a directcontrast to the passive approach of Charles Xavier. In this way he mimics thelife and principles of the more militant Malcolm X.

Erik’s mindset is broughtupon by his past experiences as a Jew in Nazi Germany. He professes to Charlesthat he has seen these arguments from the men in power before and it is impliedthat he will take the fight to them rather than wait. Charles states he islooking for hope. Erik is going to give it to him. This dialogue defines thecivil rights movement as seen through the eyes of two men with the same agendayet completely different views of the path that will see their people free. Thesimilarities are brought even more to light in the final sequence of the filmwith an infamous quote from Malcolm X as used by Magneto.

“The war is stillcoming Charles and I intend to fight it, By Any Means Necessary.”It would be really easy to watchX-Men, especially as a young viewer, and miss the entire message laid outbefore your eyes. With all the typical blockbuster film special effects, eyecandy for both genders, or non genders for that matter, and the simple conceptof good versus evil that’s the premise for any superhero movie.

Even though thewriters and director did a fantastic job in making the point obvious, it can bequickly whitewashed into just another action film of its genre. Symbolism infilm can range from silly anecdotal tales to serious subject matter such asseen here. The point of this film can be summed up by an excerpt from our ownhistory books and is in every way a true symbol of the rights of everyinhabitor of this earth. I quote of course Thomas Jefferson and our Declarationof Independence,  “We hold these truthsto be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed bytheir Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Even for mutants!


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