The Wheel and Axle

X: A Super-Hero Love Story, Part 1

by on Jun.06, 2011, under Film & TV, Geeky, Queer

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“Prof. X and Magneto: A Love Story” is a more apt title for “X-Men: First Class.” In this prequel (or re-boot, the jury seems to still be out on that one) to the “X-Men” movie series, we see how it all began with Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, future frenemies and apparently former star-crossed would-have-been-lovers, except for the conflicting ideologies.

We start with a callback to the opening sequence of the first “X-Men” movie. It’s World War II, with little Erik at the mercy of Nazis and they at the mercy of his Carrie-like rage; Lord knows what he would have done if he were Oliver Twist asking for more grub. Nazi collaborator Dr. Klaus Schmidt brings Erik in, psychoanalyzes him, then shoots his mother to induce the traumatized boy into using his powers. Why Erik killed the guards but didn’t try for the doctor remains a mystery, but I suppose we won’t have a story. Dr. Schmidt takes the little boy under his wing; the pedophilic undertone is hopefully unintentional.

On the other side of the world, young Charles meets young Raven, a homeless girl who has broken into the Xavier mansion to steal food and who would later on be known as Mystique. Sensing they’re both mutants, what with his telepathy and she with her shape-shifting, Charles decides to take Raven in. How his parents allowed him to take in a burglar, we’re not told.

Flash-forward to 1962, during the Cold War and the film’s “present-day” setting. Charles is now a graduate student working on his thesis on mutation. Raven, now his foster sister, is working as a waitress; she so obviously has a thing for him, but of course he does not seem interested, the reasons for which we shall soon realize. Erik is tracking down Sebastian Shaw, the true identity of that nasty Dr. Schmidt, to kill him for revenge; after all, having been abused by his pedophilic mentor must have been traumatic, and so we empathize with him and are introduced to the idea of the anti-hero.

Shaw, meanwhile, is delightfully trying to induce WWIII; I suppose having failed in WWII will do that to a person. We find out that Shaw is also a mutant; he has the power to absorb and redirect energy. He wants mutants to be the dominant life form on earth and for normal humans to go extinct. He apparently has no patience to wait out that pesky natural selection, so he decides war will provide faster cycle times by inducing survival of the fittest in some nuclear holocaust; he seems to be working under the assumption that most mutants won’t also die in such a conflagration, but whatever. To this end, he works on manipulating Russian and US officials through his Hellfire Club, a gentleman’s club by day and a shady organization by night. We of course have never seen this in movies before.

Part of the Hellfire Club is the always-scantily-clad Emma Frost who, just by virtue of being Emma Frost the White Queen and by being portrayed by an actress named January Jones, is about as gay as you can get. She is a powerful telepath like Charles, but she has the additional power to have a full-body hard-on, which Charles apparently cannot do.

Another member is Azazel, a red-skinned teleporter with a pointy tail and is good with knives. In the comics, Azazel is the future father of Nightcrawler via the blue-skinned Mystique. What a bummer family tree. I wonder for a moment why Nightcrawler is not violet-skinned, but I suppose it’s dominance genetics as opposed to blending genetics. I think too much.

The last Hellfire Club member we are shown is Riptide, a gorgeous Spanish creature who can produce powerful cyclones with his bare hands. Yes, it sounds like a masturbation metaphor to me, too. It is unfortunate that he is fully-clothed for the entire movie.

Through a series of events catalyzed by the involvement of CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, Charles and Erik meet at sea in an initial confrontation with Shaw. Charles leaps off a ship and rescues Erik from a watery death, all while manhandling him. Well, looking at Michael Fassbender, wouldn’t you? And thus begins a romantic love story destined to put Romeo and Juliet to shame.

Charles, Erik, Raven/Mystique, and Moira go to Division X and meet with geeky but charmingly cute Dr. Hank McCoy, whom Charles promptly outs. As a mutant, that is. With really big feet. And you know what they say about men with big feet, right? Even Mystique says so herself. Could this film cater to the gay market even more?

With Hank’s invention, Cerebro, the gang locates and gathers mutants from all over to help them against Shaw. But not before Erik tells Charles he is adorable, whereupon we realize the real reason why Prof. X will soon be in a wheelchair. Then again, what do you expect when these two grow up to be Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart?

So anyway, they gather mutants.

There is Angel Salvadore, a stripper with insect wings and who can spit explosive saliva; one thing you can say about Grant Morrison, creator of the comic book character – he sure has creativity. She later on says she will simply take on the codename Angel, but as I cannot take that codename seriously for her, what with her housefly wings, I shall call her Saliva Stripper. Also, she must be patronized by a very specific clientele; with that destructive saliva, I’m sure there are some things off the table when it comes to her services, if you know what I mean.

It must be noted that when Charles and Erik recruit her in a private room in the strip club, they are in bed together. Saliva Stripper starts to tell them what she can do, but Charles and Erik tell her they’d rather show what the two of them can do together in front of her. The look on her face is priceless; it’s like a Corbin Fisher Bi Tag Team special. Of course, this is supposed to be a family movie (stripper be damned), so our exhibitionists just demo their powers for her. Together. In bed. Needless to say, Saliva Stripper later defects to Shaw’s Hellfire Club.

Then there is Sean Cassidy, a.k.a. Banshee, who has the power to emit supersonic screams that can shatter glass and can glide on sonic waves. Charles must have been aware of which team Sean really played for; even without telepathy, what would you make of a rather effeminate young boy who decides to codename himself after a wailing Irish female ghost?

Next is Alex Summers, codename Havok. He is portrayed by Lucas Till, who must have been chosen by the casting director for his strong-looking arms and his lovely chest, which will be exposed during the climax of the movie; he sure has come a long way from that Taylor swift music video. Anyway, Havok can shoot powerful blasts from said lovely chest while gyrating like a go-go boy, which prompts half the audience to faint in ecstasy.

Lastly, there is Armando Muñoz, who takes the codename Darwin due to his powers of reactive evolution and his lack of creativity. He is portrayed by that guy who was Laurent in the awful Twilight movies, but unlike those movies, this character dies early on, which we must all be grateful for given how lame the character is.

And how does Darwin die? During a raid-slash-massacre of Division X, Havok shoots some hot… plasma at Shaw, who catches it with his bare open hands and then forces Darwin to swallow Havok’s emission. Darwin’s face hotly flushes like embers as Havok’s junk slides down his throat, and then he essentially melts as Havok’s load fills him up. It’s like a disturbing gay pseudo-snuff film.

Continued In:

X: A Super-Hero Love Story, Part 2

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