So we watched X-Men First Class last night, and it was a fun ride: cheesy, explosion-y, and full of pretty. (Hnnnnngh James McAvoy hnnnnngh.) It also had an incredibly massive scope of plot that moved at rocket speed, tons of Praxic Age/Cold War eyefood, and– in an incredibly daring move for a summer blockbuster– a gay couple whose relationship was the pivot of the entire movie.
Wait, you might say. Wait, who are you talking about? Who in that movie (which killed off or villained off everyone of even faint tinges of color) was gay?
Those of you who are NOT saying this are twisting out wry smiles, because you were clever enough to pick up on the incredibly subtle homoerotic subtext in the purely platonic relationship of the two main characters.
Oh, did I say subtle? No. Not subtle at all.
Look at it this way: in a movie where two nations launch a billion missiles at a battling supersonic stealth hover plane driven by a monster vs. a nuclear luxury submarine driven by a radioactive Nazi, the tragic romance between Xavier and Erik (that’s Professor X and Magneto for you cartoon-watchers) completely steals the show.
The first time they meet is the sexiest near-drowning rescue in the history of the silver screen. They gaze longingly into each others’ eyes, sit up late playing chess by the fireside, share a bed in the private room of a strip club, and have sweaty tearjerking brain-sex.
Plus, there are so many opportunities for both of them to get their hetero perv on: hot blonde tied to bed, hot stripper taking off her shirt, hot… blue… thing determined to get in somebody’s pants– and these result in a) tortured, angsty redemption-by-true-love between Our Heroes; b) old-married-couple chatter while totally ignoring the half-naked girl at the foot of the bed; and c) the single most unconvincing hetero kiss since Star Wars Episode II, respectively.
And let’s not even talk about the weight of history behind that couple. I mean, look at Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan in previous X-Men movies, with their crackling tension and their paradoxical air of strange tenderness combined with the spite of jilted lovers. Both pairs of actors portray it brilliantly: they may have their causes, their followers, their right-hand women, their ambitions for mankind, but they are the axes of each others’ worlds, the bright centers of their combined consciousness, and without their love the entire franchise is a teenage drama with occasional (completely badass) cameos by Wolverine.
In short: clearly, they are gay.
Also: Wolverine is the Tony Stark of his universe. Just as you can’t find an Avengers prequel (let’s face it, that’s what they are) that doesn’t throw in a one-liner about Stark (in case the movie really sucks and they need to imbue it with a touch of Iron Man’s success), you will never find an X-Men movie in which Wolverine doesn’t sneer at the camera and unapologetically tell everyone in the audience to fuck off.