keire-ke replied to your post: keire-ke replied to your post: keire-k…
I know what you mean, fanon!Charles is very often a damsel in distress who needs a man to support him. And I really thought that FC and DOFP do a really poor job when it comes to character conflict.
True re: character conflict. Both movies like to frame it in term of all-or-nothing, my-way-or-none that’s head-banging worthy. There’s limit to summer blockbuster and fiction in general, but I think Cap 2 for example handles the pragmatist (Fury, Natasha) vs the idealist (Cap) relatively smoothly. Not everything is perfect, but Fury the morally ambiguous director of a global NSA can drag his people through hell for a goal without throwing a hissyfit about they disagreeing with him.
It really, really was. And a lot of the interpersonal conflict in XM was shoehorned there because Destiny Said So (particularly in XMFC, the false equivalence sledgehammer came down so hard!), as opposed to CA2, which was pretty goddamned stunning in how well it handled itself in the ethics debate department. Seriously. I obviously need to rewatch both CAs, but CA2 hit all my buttons right on and added confused!Bucky.
I loved CA2, but I think the narrative difficulties there are really different from the ones in the X-Men movies.
Totally true that the pragmatism vs. idealism conflict was dramatized very well in CA2, but I think it’s significant to point out that Nick Fury and Captain America are on the same side with the same basic goals, they just disagree on how to get there. Also notable: those goals are fundamentally conservative, in the original meaning of the term “conservative”— and reactionary, also in its original meaning. If no one ever broke the law, SHIELD would sit back and twiddle their thumbs, because their role is to react to criminal acts and conserve the status quo.
Nick Fury and Natasha may take a more ambiguous route to deal with bad guys and restore law and order, while Cap may want to be above-board and transparent and straightforward in pursuit of justice, but for all of them, the end goal is bad guys dealt with, order restored. Whichever path is taken to get there, at the end of it, the world looks the same either way.
I’ve tried to track down the quote where one of the Marvel writers mentioned this during the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover. He said there’s a natural conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men, because the Avengers are about enforcing the rules of society as they exist, but the X-Men want to change society.
It’s true that in its DNA, so to speak, X-Men is a story about change. That’s one of the reasons it speaks to people on a thematic level, I think, even though the comics themselves actually address the implicit issues of prejudice and social progress maybe twice a decade.
Charles and Erik have the same basic goal: change the world to make it safe for mutants. But since both goals involve change, it’s possible for them to differ widely in their vision of what that end goal would look like. Charles believes integration will make the world safer for mutants. Erik’s vision is less consistent, but generally he believes separatism will keep mutants safer. Sometimes that means world domination and a new social order with mutants in charge. Sometimes it just means forcing humans to back down from threats to legislate or act against mutants.
But the point is, even though Charles and Erik have the same desire to see mutants safe, and they both want to change the world, they disagree over the change itself. Whichever path is taken to get there, at the end of it, the world looks very different depending on the path that was chosen. This conflict is qualitatively different from the conflict between Nick and Cap.
And let’s not forget, CA2 manages a more sophisticated take on politics than previous MCU movies, but it does still resort to bringing in latter-day Nazis to be the bad guys; the heroes are still given a cardboard cutout evil to defeat. One of the things that makes X-Men so frustrating is also one of the things that keeps it interesting: between Charles and Erik, neither is completely right or completely wrong. And no matter how much the plots of the movies contrive to squish Erik down to fit into the cardboard cutout evil spot, Erik just won’t fit there comfortably.