I’ve always been a fan of X-Men.
My first introductions to any of the characters were actually in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). I remember watching it at home and enjoying it. A few days later, I watched the original X-Men trilogy, including X-Men, X2 and X3: The Last Stand all in one day.
Since then I have seen every X-Men movie in theatres. This weekend, I will be seeing the latest film, X-Men: Days of Future Past that opened today. I have learned more about the characters in their comic book form and movie adaptations.
I obviously can’t speak to how good the movie is because I haven’t seen it yet. The X-Men movie franchise has been around for 14 years. A lot of people can relate to various X-Men characters and that is why they are loved so much. We can often see bits of ourselves in those characters.
Whether it’s Wolverine, Charles Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, Storm, Beast, Cyclops or Nightcrawler, there are so many characters with defining abilities and personalities that have become favourites.
As cool as these characters’ abilities are, and some of them are pretty wicked, what makes the X-Men so compelling are the interesting characters that we can relate to. As mutants, they are largely considered outcasts by the public and are in the minority.
Their abilities make them special, but it is not seen that way by a lot of people. Now, obviously no one in real life can teleport or manipulate metal or shape shift or regenerate. Those are things of fiction.
But we have all felt at one time or another lost or isolated by society for being different. This is felt on different levels depending on our position. We can relate this to gender, religion, economic class or anything else.
Michael Fassbender, who portrays young Magneto, said it quite pointedly in an article with the Irish Voice.
“I think that’s what makes it such a huge hit all over the world. That idea of being ostracized for being different, for feeling like a misfit or living on the fringes of society,” he said in the article. “Whether it’s down to skin color, religion, sexual orientation, it’s obviously something people can relate to.”
And it’s true. Everyone goes through a rough time. Life can be rough and it isn’t always easy. The best people we can turn to are family and friends or a community of like-minded people.
But another place we can look is to certain types of art. It can be music. It can be books. It can be television shows or movies. It can be comic books. It can be anything. It is possible to find solace or comfort in fictional characters and sometimes that’s what we need.
Just like the X-Men, what makes us different is often the best part of us, even if not everyone sees it. We need to fight for equality and we need to be proud of who we are.
The X-Men characters aren’t perfect. They have their issues and go through hard times. They make the wrong choices sometimes. We are the same way. But we can always choose how we want to deal with it.
We should stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks or what’s considered the norm. There is no normal. We are each of us our own kind of normal.
And besides, being absorbed into the world of X-Men is just so much fun.
Lisa Goudy can be reached at 306-691-1289 or follow her on Twitter @lisagoudy