Much has been said about the supposed “hidden messages” in the X-Men movies. But after watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, I am convinced that I’ve stumbled across THE hidden message…
Some have claimed that the movies and comics are a representation of the acceptance or rejection of homosexuality in Western civilization (“Mutant and proud.”). Others have said that they are an indictment of how extremely conservative majorities treat anyone that is different (there are numerous references and parallels to the Holocaust). Some say that it is about science and the realities of evolution. And then there are those (like my brother) who think that they’re just great action movies—stop thinking about it so much!
While those are perfectly valid and thoughtful interpretations of X-Men, I’ve always been captivated by how the movies point to God. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the last movie made a very direct reference to the savior story. It was one of the most powerful hidden messages I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Yeah, I said the G-word and the S-word. 🙂 But relax, I’m not going to get all preachy on you. The “hidden” message of a savior-figure is actually quite common. It goes a something little like this:
People do everything on their own to make it through life. They don’t do so well and it creates a lot of pain and suffering. In the midst of all this suffering, someone chooses to heal all of the hurt and pain by sacrificing their own wants, personal comfort, or even their own life. When they do this, it gives others hope and a second chance at life.
Those who sacrifice themselves become “saviors”—small reflections of one of the greatest stories ever told. Chances are, you’ve seen reflections of this story thousands of times: Romeo and Juliet gave up their lives for love, prompting their families to reconcile with each other. Prometheus, the Titan in Greek mythology, sacrificed his life on Olympus to give fire to mankind. In the final Harry Potter book, Harry surrenders himself to certain death to save his friends. And in the most recent Star Trek movie, Captain Kirk sacrificed his life to save the crew of the Enterprise.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the reflection of a savior-figure is shown through Charles Xavier. Xavier, the future leader of the X-Men, is a powerful telepath with the ability to read and control minds. In the film, the younger version of Xavier is racked with guilt and has lost all hope. Through the use of drugs, he’s able to walk and simultaneously numb his telepathic abilities. He doesn’t want to use his powers because it will open his mind to the pain and suffering of others.
At one point in the film, the troubled, younger Xavier is able to communicate with his older, wiser self. In that scene, the future Xavier essentially tells his younger self to sacrifice himself and absorb the pain of humanity, saying: “It’s the greatest gift of all, to bear their pain without breaking.”
The future Xavier then adds this powerful line, “And it’s born from the most human power – hope. We need you to hope again.”
After that, the younger Xavier voluntarily sacrifices his ability to walk and moves forward with faith and hope in humanity—and it proves to be their salvation. In doing this, Charles Xavier becomes a reflection of the savior story.
Perhaps part of the reason why we love and share the savior story so much is because it’s also a reflection of our birth: our mothers put their own lives at risk to give us life. But I think another reason why the savior story is so powerful is because it tells us how we should live: we must lay down our own selfish wants, exercise hope and faith in humanity, and rescue those who are suffering.
And that, I believe, is THE hidden message in X-Men.
…also, I thought the action scenes were pretty cool…. 😉