Guest Post by the Wonderful Mary Mordrake. She has not seen the movie yet, but gives her thoughts on what X-Men Days Of Future Past might mean…
This is not a superhero movie. It’s not about good versus evil, alien invasions, or preventing the end of the world (well, maybe a little). Charles Xavier might say that it’s about creating hope for the future by rebuilding the past. No, Erik Lehnsherr will argue, it’s about fear. Fear of the unknown, of what the future holds for humans and mutants alike. And they’re both right. At its core, Days of Future Past is about one thing and one thing only: the fear of tomorrow. Maybe I’m siding with Erik a bit here, but if there’s one thing X-Men has taught us, it’s that humanity is far more susceptible to fear than hope.
There are two kinds of people in this film. There are those who live for tomorrow, who try to shape their future by beating it to the punch, and those who only have today, and are trying to make it work as best they can. You probably know them as humans and mutants, respectively. Mutants are the next stage in evolution, the Tomorrow People, and as Kitty Pryde once said, “Tomorrow will never be today. And you know, that’s especially troublesome for some of us—since today is the last of what we’ll get.”* For the X-Men, and for all mutants, the future is always now.
In the 1970s, Bolivar Trask has created robot Sentinels to search and destroy mutantkind. Advanced technology that once seemed so far away is right here, right now, enforcing fear and hatred in the guise of hope for humanity. Decades later, a so-called “cure” is found for the mutant gene, advertised as hope and implemented through military weaponry. Still later, advanced Sentinels roam the streets, claiming what is now an urban wasteland for the remains of humanity, a dying race still hoping to be saved from their own future. But here’s the thing: All of this is happening at the same time. And yes, I mean this literally, what with time travel and all, but I’m also trying to prove Kitty’s point – the X-Men are fighting for today, because humanity is working to ensure that it’s all they’ve got.
Let’s talk about humans for a minute. Let’s talk about how we are far more willing to believe in hope when it’s just the shiny wrapping around instruments of fear. And of course, the best part about fear is that it’s so easy to bring upon someone else. Mutants have unpredictable and possibly deadly powers? We’ve got guns that can take them away. Mutants could be anyone, anywhere, at any time? No problem, we’ve got robot Sentinels that can pick them out of a crowd and shoot them down before you can say “Trask Industries.”
So here’s the deal. You’ve got time travelling, giant robots, X-Men using their powers the way they were meant to, X-Men fighting for the future even as they try to survive today, and the greatest bromance in X-history (in my humble opinion) contributing to both the problem and the apparent solution. You’ve got a massive cast of mutants that is both screen accurate (if you don’t think Omar Sy is the perfect Bishop then I don’t know what to tell you) and unexpectedly ingenious (Peter Dinklage…need I say more?). You’ve got humans destroying someone else’s today for a better tomorrow, and mutants destroying their own tomorrow for a better today. Still with me? Good. Because this is not a superhero movie.
The X-Men aren’t fighting for us, and as much as Xavier might argue otherwise, they never really have. This is a group of people who just want to make it through the day without fighting for their very existence. If they have to screw with the laws of time and space to achieve the future they’ve been denied, then so be it. People do crazy things when the line between hope and fear is blurred, like, say, creating massive killer robots in the name of national security.
What can you expect when you walk into that theatre on Friday? Exactly what you should expect from every great X-Men story, from the Dark Phoenix Saga to the Battle of the Atom: every sci-fi plot device you can think of littering decades of hope in the face of extreme fear and hostility, all amounting to the survival of the fittest, the purest motivation of all (*cough*Apocalypse sequel *cough*). Expect anything and everything, because in a world of Sentinels, superpowers, and alternate timelines, everything is possible and no one is safe.
Mary is a walking encyclopedia of X-Men, avid cosplayer, and obsessive reader. She’s dreamed of living in the X-Mansion since she was eight years old, which is almost as long as she’s wanted to be a Sailor Scout. You can check out her cosplay at http://www.facebook.com/marymordrake and her fanfiction at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Harleydoll/works . Her twitter is @magnetictrifles and her Pinterest is Mary Mordrake.
Scoop here: When I first met Mary, I found out she is an X-Men fan. Within a half hour, I found out she is an absolute X-Men fanatic who has read EVERY SINGLE X-MEN COMIC EVER. She also does a sideline dressing as someone named Harley Quinn.
P.S. * From Ultimate Comics X-Men #2, written by Nick Spencer.
P.P.S. X-Men Days Of Future Past opens Friday, May 23rd, 2014. It is based on X-Men #141-142, published in 1981 by Marvel Comics, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne.