: For me, the most powerful image or concept in X-Men 3: The Last Stand
was something the movie could not possibly be expected to flesh out. So I don't blame the movie for avoiding it. It probably would have been a worse movie if it had delved into the thing I found most fascinating. Because what got to me was: the line of mutants outside Worthington Labs.
A line of mutants, seeking a "cure" for their mutation, faced by a screaming mob
saying basically, "There's nothing wrong with you, you idiot evil self-hating morons!"
Which... might be expected to provoke some cognitive dissonance.
Let me get this out of the way right quick: A bunch of critics have suggested that the "cure for mutation" is a metaphor for "ex-gay" ministries. And I seriously disagree. Yes--the "cure" plot has very strong cultural markers for "ex-gay" ideology (man, I cringed at that first scene with Angel, I tell you what). But really, "mutation" as such doesn't work very well as a metaphor for anything
. Particular, specific mutations can serve beautifully as metaphors for particular situations; but what, symbolically, do Scott Summers, Rogue/Marie, Charles Xavier, Jamie Madrox (yay!!!
), Storm, and John/Pyro actually have in common? If you say "difference," then you're just avoiding all the interesting questions about what difference "difference" should make.
(This, by the way, is one of the many many things I love about FA MacNeil's X-Men fanfiction
: Both Joel's and [less flamboyantly] Paul's mutations are brilliant metaphors for specific features of their characters. Go! read!
But there is a real parallel between the line outside Worthington Labs and the (botched, but don't get me started) Dark Phoenix plotline. In both cases, mutants voluntarily submit to vulnerability. For some reason
, they choose weakness over what the series' rhetoric constantly describes as "power."
Oh my gosh, I want to know about those reasons so badly
I can't write fanfiction. If I could, I think I would already have started writing about the line:
* a gay man who came of age in the 1960s, terrified that he's yet again
missing out on liberation;
* someone who's never wanted to "fit in," furious and ashamed that the protesting mutants think that's what she wants;
* someone who wants to give up his "powers" as an egalitarian political act and/or spiritual witness;
* someone whose mutation appears somehow linked to a deep-rooted emotional problem or mental illness, who hopes that if the mutation goes away the emotional or psychological problem will dissipate too;
* someone whose powers seem only useful for destruction, who can't see how those powers might be turned toward creation instead.
Yeargh. So many stories--so many ordinary, everyday variants on the issues of power and responsibility that (IMO) ultimately push the Dark Phoenix plot. I really do think linking the "cure"/DP plots was a brilliant decision; I just wish the DP plot had been better executed.
[eta: I just can't stop coming up with these!!! A telepath who believes using her powers is just wrong
; a telepath whose powers have made him hate and fear everyone around him; a misanthropic empath; a criminal who doesn't trust himself to use his powers responsibly (or who is giving them up as a penance); a crime victim who doesn't want to turn into the people who hurt him.
[Imagine the conversations between some of these people--the halting, aggressive/ashamed conversations, the attempts to find community in the line. The anguished justifications and self-protective silences. Oh man.
[And I'd also love to see a depowered mutant living at the Mansion (which seems very much in accordance with Xavier's dream), dealing with the consequences of that decision, maybe as part of the X-Men. (I seem to recall that a non-mutant cop was part of the bedraggled team that went up against Magneto in New X-Men
, so there's even comics precedent....)]