- I wrote this for a Critizism class and am now inflicting it on you!
X-Men The Movie
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Ed Solomon, Christopher McQuarrie, Bryan Singer, Tom DeSanto, David
Hayter, and Joss Whedon
X-Men The Movie; Just a Lost Memo?
There is a saying on the internet that is often quoted by fans of the
X-men movie, released in 2000. It was first said by Donna Beven, a fairly
prolific writer of fan fiction and goes something like this: "If Logan &
Rogue were supposed to be sibling-like, then Hugh and Anna didn't get the
friggin' memo..." A rather accurate way to put it when one looks at the fact
that most major scenes revolve around the Logan/Rogue dynamic. But the
question of whether or not this perceived relationship was intended by the
writer and the director of the film adaptation of the long running comic
book multi-series is one that will no doubt be argued over at least until
the public is graced with X-Men the Move 2. It is my hope to cast some light
on the subject.
Let us begin with some important character notes. First, Logan is the
literary archetype 'Loner' figure, played by Hugh Jackman. He is a man with
no past and no more future than what we find him doing in the first place,
simply existing, ageless due to his mutant ablity. He is most certainly not
a team player. Then we have Marie, a girl who calls herself Rogue, who is
the walking personification of innocence, played by Anna Paquin. She's
seventeen and had an entire world of possibilities and plans ahead of her
before her mutation manifested. They are as far opposites as air and lead.
Of course we all know what happens to opposites when they exist in a movie
together, they attract like magnetic poles. There are several points that
illustrate this. Then there are six pivotal scenes in the film where two
solitary, isolated, figures reach out for each other, simply because there
is no one else who understands them.
First, the scene is the young girl who will shortly become Rogue in her
room with her best friend. This is the point in the movie she is simply
Marie, right at her abrupt and traumatic introduction to the world of the
mutant by way of her first kiss. It is also the scene that sends young Marie
on the run, casting her in the role of fugitive and isolating her from the
life she knew. This cuts her off from her past. We next see Marie climbing
out of a semi-truck's cab far to the north from her native Mississippi in
Laughlin City, Canada, again cut off from her past, this time by distance.
She is completely covered with only her face exposed, this isolates her from
physical contact as she seeks to protect others from what she can't control,
her mutant power to drain their life and memories from them.
Second, enter the man called Wolverine. One hardnosed, hard drinking, cage
fighting, certified bad-ass. The first sight the audience and young Marie
gets of the man he is turning away from a fallen opponent to lean against
the side of the cage and grab a quick drink. It should also be mentioned
that the Wolverine is shirtless, sweaty, and the actor portraying him has a
body that any red-blooded heterosexual female would drool over. After being
treated to the sight of Wolverine fighting the scene shifts to some time
later in the seedy establishment where Marie is sitting at the bar.
Wolverine sits down and sharply orders a beer. Both look up at the
television when the new reporter uses the word 'mutant'. They exchange a
glance before Wolverine is verbally accosted by the last man he fought, who
whispers to him that he knows what Wolverine is. This is where the audience
is shown a small part of what Wolverine can do, his exacting control over
his two sets of metal claws as a matter of fact. Marie now knows that the
Wolverine is like her, and dangerous whether he wants to be or not.
After quickly leaving the bar the man still only known (to those not
steeped in the lore and back story of the comic books) as Wolverine pulls to
the side of the road and finds that Marie has hitched a ride on his bike
trailer. Instead of leaving her on the side of the road in the middle of
nowhere he lets her in the truck. They exchange small talk, including their
real names and the fact that every time Wolverine (Logan) lets his claws out
it hurts and when Rogue (Marie) touches people something 'bad' happens to
them. This exchange of secrets forges another link between them. Shortly
thereafter, ironically enough during a chat about seatbelts, the truck
crashes into a toppled tree and Logan is thrown from the vehicle. While
Logan is getting up, and a bone deep gash is quickly closing on his
forehead, his first response isn't to curse at his wrecked truck but to ask
the 'kid' if she's alright. This signals concern, something that seems
atypical for the cage-fighter.
Later, Rogue hears a noise while at Professor Xavier's School for Gifted
Youth and seeks out Logan's bedroom. The sound proves to be Logan in the
grips of a nightmare, and reacting on instincts that are still more than
partially trapped in the nightmare, he accidentally harms Rogue seriously.
Rogue in turn touches Logan with her bare hand. In essence, Logan is -in-
Rogue both physically and mentally as she drains his life force and mutant
healing factor to save her own life. While Logan is almost constantly
muttering the word "no" it sounds more like a denial of what he has done to
Rogue rather than whatever she may do to him with her touch, and he stops
saying "no" the moment she touches him.
When Rogue runs away from the school Logan goes after her, in spite of the
fact that another very powerful mutant is apparently after him for some
unknown reason. Logan not only finds her, but holds her and promises to take
care of her. He also admits that they are the same on a fundamental level.
Then they are attacked by the mutant known as Magneto (even if you don't
read the comic books -that- one is pretty self explanatory). As it turns out
Magneto isn't after Logan, he wants Rogue. Logan is helpless to protect her
as he promised, but still defies Magneto. This shows that he holds her
well-being above his own.
Now we arrive at our sixth point. Logan goes after Rogue with the X-Men.
Logan is wearing a uniform. Logan volunteers to be hurled bodily through the
air, trusting only to the rather shaky control that Storm and Jean Grey have
over their mutant powers. He faces, again, a mutant who can manipulate the
metal in his body then willfully touches Rogue when he finds her
unconscious, near death, this time knowing full well what her powers can do
to him if they stay in contact too long. This is an extremely powerful
statement for someone who hasn't cared about anyone but himself in the
fifteen years he can remember.
So, what does all of this prove exactly? One, Logan has a soft spot for
young women with the nerve to stand in the middle of a snow bank and insist
that they just saved his life. Two, Rogue trusts Logan implicitly. She knows
that he would never intentionally harm her. Three, Logan would die for
Rogue. Four, Logan made a promise to Rogue and he kept it, to protect her.
Five, Rogue has been more intimate with Logan than anyone else in his life
possibly could, taking him into herself both literally and figuratively,
twice. After all, this is a movie and if Hollywood has taught us anything it
is that the strongest loves bloom under the most adverse conditions.
Call it a trick of editing, call it the over active imaginations of love
starved nerd-girls, call it having watched Casablanca one too many times if
you wish. Of course, I am willing to admit that this could still be seen as
a sibling-like, or even parental, relationship. But in the end the
interpretation is left up to the audience, among whom there will always be
those wistful and timeless romantics who long for what others call
impossible or unlikely relationships. Then again, we are entitled to our
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