Saturday, May 10, 2003

TAP: X Caliber

The X-Men sequel has more special effects than the original, but less soul.

If one's a nerd, growing up is supposed to be a good thing. One gets to finally leave behind those difficult teenage years: the crying jags, the freakish bodily changes, the days of writing bad poetry and brooding to the sounds of the Cure, Metallica and Sergei Prokofiev's "Violin Sonata No. 1 in f minor." One can also abandon that haunting sense of alienation, that feeling -- half self-loathing and half self-aggrandizement -- that no one can understand the misfit pain of being so different, so weird . . . and (one's unconscious whispers) so special. It can all be forgotten -- unless one is a Marvel Comics X-Man, a mutant whose strange and staggering powers are feared by the rest of society. To be an X-Man is to illustrate that most human of afflictions -- a graceless adolescence -- and that most human of hopes -- to be truly exceptional.

Hopefully the next installment (the end of this movie screams another sequel!) will get it right, combining the mutant staples of disenfranchisement and zest for one's unique powers. Sci-fi and comic-book genres can be a fantastic revenge of the nerds; Neo of The Matrix is at first a computer programmer in real life, for Pete's sake, and Peter Parker of Spider-Man fame is a sweet dork who lives with his aunt and uncle. I hope that as the X-Men franchise grows older, it doesn't lose its sense of the joy -- and the terror -- of growing up.

Liberal magazines do good reviews. I wouldn't turn for a conservative magazine for a review. Maybe it is the conservatives are really strict parents thing.

No comments: