So I spent the past two evenings rewatching the first two X-Men movies, which I haven't actually sat down and watched in years
. Now, of course, I'm seeing everything through the lens of First Class. And doing my best to ignore the continuity errors, because First Class is in many ways more of a reboot than a proper prequel. Still. I can actually see the evolution of Erik into Magneto far more directly than Charles into Professor X -- I think Fassbender's performance lines up with McKellen's better than McAvoy's with Stewart's. (Which isn't meant as a criticism -- from what I've read in interviews, the First Class actors were told to make the characters their own, and deliberately NOT to try to impersonate younger versions of the X1-X3 incarnations. So.)
But my god do I ever adore Ian McKellen's Magneto. He does legitimately AWFUL things, and yet I root for him the whole time. Because he is both snarky and baldly honest at all times, I think -- I have a huge amount of respect for that. Rogue asks if he's going to kill her, and he says yes, he is. Logan calls him on his hypocrisy (sacrificing Rogue instead of, y'know, himself) and he doesn't even attempt to argue otherwise. I'll take Magneto's brutal honesty over Xavier's constant evasions or lies of omission any day.
(I prefer McKellen's Erik and McAvoy's Charles, if I must choose. I just connect to those two individually more than Fassbender or Stewart. But both older and younger pairings have such utterly fantastic chemistry together, it really doesn't matter.)
And Mystique! No lie, I spent much of X-Men 1 yelling at her whenever she was onscreen, because NO HONEY NO, LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES, RAVEN WHY ARE YOU DELIBERATELY POISONING YOUR BROTHER'S CEREBRO JUICE, AND ALSO THAT THING WHERE YOU IMPERSONATE BOBBY TO BITCH OUT ROGUE IS SO FUCKING CATTY, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
But then X2 happens, and I swear to god, Mystique is actually the hero of that movie. Because she's like the only character who actually makes choices and ACTS rather than just re
acting, and also, she is responsible for every single positive step forward the plot takes. LET ME SUM UP. In X2, Mystique:
1. Impersonates Senator Kelly, keeping the Mutant Registration Act off the Senate floor.
2. Attempts to protect the X-Men by insisting to the President of the United States
that the mansion is just a school.
3. Finds out that Stryker is involved in Erik's imprisonment.
4. Hacks into Stryker's files to find the location of Erik's prison and intel on the guards.
5. ...and, oh yeah, that Stryker is building his own Cerebro.
6. Seduces the guard and injects iron into his bloodstream, enabling Erik to break out of jail.
7. Impersonates Logan to infiltrate Alkali Lake and kicks everyone's asses
once she's inside.
8. Hacks into the Alkali Lake mainframe to find Cerebro.
9. Impersonates Stryker in Cerebro to convince Jason to alter his illusion.
10. Pilots the motherfucking helicopter off the dam.
Granted, there's also the bit with the attempted genocide, which she perpetrates, and leaving the X-Men behind to die. And attempting to seduce Logan for no reason except to fuck with his head, which, frankly, the way he keeps hitting on a basically-married woman who has turned him down
at every single impasse and yet he never stops harassing her, I gotta side with Mystique on this one.
In contrast, our nominal hero Wolverine stabs some guys, steals yet another of Scott's vehicles, gets shot a bunch, and then abandons his entire team at Alkali Lake in order to get his own personal vengeance. Yeah, whatever. If it weren't for Mystique, Erik would still be in prison and then Charles would have killed all the mutants on the planet because the X-Men would never have put Stryker together with the assassination attempt, therefore never thinking to have Jean read Kurt's mind to find Alkali Lake in the first place.
So basically, this was a good reminder of why I'm writing Raven as primary protagonist in Queen's Gambit
, especially given Stryker as the primary antagonist. Because Raven gets shit done
while Logan's too busy manpaining.
(Also, the way Charles freezes the entire fucking museum
just to tell off a couple of his students for showing off? Oh, Charles, you arrogant bastard. Your precious code of ethics is on a slippery fucking slope, isn't it?)