Piety versus Magneto


March 27, 2014 by lucieromarin

The trailer for ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ looks all kinds of silly (though I’m sure I’ll see the film one way or another, because Marvel makes much better films than it does comics, which is very strange) and proves two things:

1)     Deep down, you’re either sci-fi or fantasy. You’re spacecraft, or you’re spells; no one’s really both.

2)     The entire X-Men series would be vastly improved by a bit of real philosophy – or even a bit of insight into human nature, which I demonstrate aggressively as follows:

2a) The whole thing is predicated upon the idea that People Fear Difference and that therefore we would be Mean to Mutants. (That means you, unless you prove you’re not racist and homophobic, which is proved by reading a comic book/watching a movie, and saying that that’s just how black people/gay people must have felt before people like us came along to assure them of their worth.)  Besides being breathtakingly patronising, it is completely off the point, because mutants have powers, which means that people in real life (as it were) would respond to them, not as they respond to difference, but as they respond to power.

2b) The writers seem to think that no one has ever encountered any kind of power in their lives before and are confronting its issues for the first time. But everyone already knows (er – don’t they?) that whether you do good or evil depends on your values, rather than your abilities, which is why some strong people hit weak people and others don’t. (I thought this was portrayed pretty nicely in the recent Superman movie.) More than one culture fears difference – but who fears power? Man is not only frightened – he’s also covetous, and I’m certain that the most likely response to X-Men-style mutations would not be containment, but exploitation. It wouldn’t be, “Go away!” but “Give me some!” You, too, could fly if you take this tablet! You, too, could be impervious to fire/really pretty/a shapeshifter! And so on. Mutant children wouldn’t be hidden; they’d be paraded about in ghastly reality television shows and have their lives ruined by celebrity.

2c) Guns. Why is it that no ‘ordinary’ men in any sci-fi story whatsoever, realise that guns are useless? Look at Doctor Who – those poor soldiers of UNIT have been firing at the daleks for fifty years, and they still haven’t worked out that it’s not going to do them any good. (And, I must admit that, even though ‘The Avengers’ was the best superhero film ever made, I did, upon my third viewing of it, wonder what Black Widow was shooting with her two tiny guns that could not possibly have penetrated the hides of creatures flying out of the sky). I suppose the point of it (if it isn’t just bad writing) is to show how limited our resources are and to make you ask, hmmm…what would I do, confronted with this particular enemy?

2d) Okay, maybe I’ve read too many saints’ lives, but whenever I see policemen trying to shoot a man with the power to fling their cars into the sky with a sweep of his hand, all I can think of is…St Clare and the Barbarians.

Remember the story? The barbarians invaded (I can’t remember if they were Huns or just roaming non-tribal bad people), and she knew they were en route to her monastery, which meant that she and a small group of women were entirely defenceless against men who were a) strong, b) armed, c) not believers in chastity or women’s rights, and d) coming to get them. She went to her chapel, took down the pyx, and walked into the garden. She stood there as the horde arrived, saw their ladders the other side of the wall, saw the first heads appear above the wall, and…held up the pyx. She said nothing. The men said nothing. They stared at the pyx…and then… they climbed down their ladders and went away.

Did they think it was a weapon? Did God, in some way, reveal His presence in the Host to them, so that they saw His power with their own eyes, rather than with the eyes of faith? Did He just make them change their minds? Had one of them been raised by a magic grandmother who always taught him to Flee the Veiled Woman with the Gold Object Who I See in My Dreams? I don’t know…

…but what I do know, is that it means that it’s impossible to watch X-Men without seeing either this…

Magneto: Bah ha hah hah! I’ll destroy you all!

Police cars fly everywhere.

Magneto: And you, narrow-minded religious girl, you must…huh? Ow! [sounds of exertion] Fly! Fly! [waves arms] Why don’t you move?

Lucy holds up her Brown Scapular.

Defeat of enemy followed by mass conversion of New York City to the Catholic Faith.

Or this…

Magneto: Bah ha hah hah! I’ll destroy you all!

Police cars fly everywhere.

Magneto: And you, spoiled white girl, you must…huh? Ow! [sounds of exertion] Fly! Fly! [waves arms] Why don’t you move?

Lucy: I put a spell on you.

Magneto: A spell? There’s no such thing as magic!

Lucy: Pshaw. You say that because you’re Sci-fi. Fantasy knows that magic beats everything.

Magneto struggles.

Lucy: Dude. Even Superman is vulnerable to magic.

Magneto: Who?

Would a non-Catholic convert to Catholicism upon seeing the Brown Scapular defeat Magneto? Or would it just prove that we practised magic and were even more dangerous than was previously supposed? I suppose it depends on the individual. I’m pretty sure Batman would go the second way.

4 thoughts on “Piety versus Magneto

  1. Charlie's sister says:

    “because Marvel makes much better films than it does comics”

    There are whole sections of the Internet where a copy and paste of that clause would constitute Grade A trolling.

    • lucieromarin says:

      Er – yes…let’s keep that thought amongst ourselves for time being. (Also, they could probably argue that what I call a ‘better’ film is just the comics being watered down for the sake of reaching a wider or different demographic. And, of course, I speak as a DC girl…)

  2. Charlie's sister says:


    “Deep down, you’re either sci-fi or fantasy. You’re spacecraft, or you’re spells; no one’s really both.”

    I disagreed with this at first because I really do love both, but then I imagined sci-fi and fantasy drowning, and realized that when it came to the crunch, I’d save fantasy.

    • lucieromarin says:

      ‘…then I imagined sci-fi and fantasy drowning…’

      Grin. I wish I’d thought to put it like that! Actually, it took me a while to realise the same thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: