written May 28th, 2014
I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past the other day. It’s refreshing to watch a comic book movie with a clever enough narrative that, at any moment, could collapse because of it’s ambition. But it held itself together, even managed to pull some heartstrings without being sentimental. Unlike other superhero films, you won’t see a leveled city here, only a leveled White House (sort of). And it made it’s audience hold their breath with THAT climax.
I’m a sucker for cohesive story telling, and a good narrative always puts my hope back to the human race. It shows that we are aware of our depravity. It’s a reflection of ourselves. Art imitates life. I’ve heard it a dozen times in literary school. It’s a lie that tells the truth. And films, in particular, is an art form that gives you a macro and micro perspective about the truth of human condition, all under 3 hours. We are a specie that is made up of stories.
What does that have to do with the X-Men: DOFP? Plenty. It’s theme is anchored on Hope and Destiny.
That sequence where the younger Charles Xavier met the future Professor X, momentarily merging space and time in the mind of Logan. James McAvoy’s performance was convincing. He was able to exude the desperation and hopelessness of a junkie. Granted, the look helped. But his eyes – it’s focus, the knot of his brows, the wild hair, and the troubled face conveyed the struggle within. When he said, “I feel like one of the students. Helpless,” we believed him. He’s afraid. And fear paralyzes you sir. It paralyzed his powers, his ability to read other peoples’ minds. And he’s not just numbing the physical pain:
Erik: You sacrificed your powers so you could walk?
Charles: I sacrificed my powers so I could sleep.
Empathy, not telepathy, is Charles’ strongest power. He has the access to others’ thoughts, able to know, to feel their pain. It’s his gift as well as his curse.
I cried watching that scene. You know how His Majesty has a way of speaking to me through films? This is one of them. I know how Charles feels on some level. I took a great amount of time to understand my personality, including my strengths, and weaknesses. It took effort to be self aware. But if I didn’t, I would’ve gone insane. And one of the things I’ve learned is I am extremely sensitive to my emotions and to the emotions of others. Sometimes, I can even feel what the other is feeling. My mind is loud and my feelings are intense. It overwhelms me. I can’t change it, that’s how I was wired. What I can do is manage it. Learn to work with it.
Fear is one of my constant enemies. I fear that I’m not good enough, or strong enough, or qualified enough. I’m plagued by it every single day. And His Majesty reminded me that living in fear is living in paralysis, in despair. Your gifts are not for you, it will benefit you, but it’s impact, it’s influence is bigger than you. It’s connected to the destinies of the people around you. And so I have to be strong. To fight my fears. Not for my sake, but for the sake of others. And for the sake of His Kingdom. Lies of the enemy may say I am not (fill in whatever) enough. But His Majesty sought that I am worthy enough to die for. And so in Him, I have more than enough.
Professor X: It’s the greatest gift we have, to bear their pain without breaking, and it’s born from the most human power: Hope.
Note to self: do not give in to fear, but hold unswervingly to the hope you profess, for He who promised is faithful. I am not of this world though I am in this world. I am a mutant, I have access to powers not of the natural, but is supernatural. I can bear because I have Jesus. He is HOPE. He is my HOPE. He is able therefore I will not break.
Professor X: Charles?
Charles Xavier: Charles.
[Professor X opens his eyes and looks straight at his younger self]
Charles Xavier: So this is what becomes of us? Erik was right. Humanity does this to us.
Professor X: Not if we show them a better path.
Charles Xavier: You still believe?
Professor X: Just because someone stumbles, loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes we all need a little help.
Charles Xavier: Oh, I’m not the man I was. I open my mind and it almost overwhelms me.
Professor X: You’re afraid, and Cerebro knows it.
Charles Xavier: All those voices, so much pain.
Professor X: It’s not their pain you’re afraid of, it’s yours, Charles. And as frightening as it may be, that pain will make you stronger. If you allow yourself to feel it, embrace it, it will make you more powerful than you ever imagined. It’s the greatest gift we have, to bear their pain without breaking, and it’s born from the most human power: Hope.
[a vision of his young mutant students at X-Mansion is shown]
Professor X: Please. Charles, we need you to hope again.
[at that moment Charles leaves Logan’s memories]
Logan: Find what you were looking for?
[just then the power comes back on and Hank walks over to them]
Hank McCoy: Power’s back on.
Charles Xavier: Yes. Yes, it is.
Apologies if I sound like I’m convincing myself. I actually am. I hope you find my rant rather encouraging.