X-Men: Days of Future Past
I really enjoyed this film.
But I’ve kept up with the X-Men “franchise”
over the years, kinda, and have some familiarity with the characters, and I
fear that for the un-initiated, it’s going to be as potentially confusing
as…..a time travel movie.
Oh, and I did I mention that this
is also a time travel movie?
What I liked about it, from a
religious perspective, is that they were completely unafraid to talk about
great theological stuff like determinism, predestination, backsliding, and
discerning your sense of calling.
Of course, they aren’t talking about
spirituality at all. Or
All of the X-Men have particular
individual gifts, which they’ve all decided can be used to combat evil, and
enhance the greater good.
In fact, they’ve so developed their
extraordinary gifts that they’ve essentially become mutants; something
greater than merely human (see “The Nephilim” of Genesis 6:4---though the
recent movie “Noah” did something quite different with them).
So Storm (
) can conjure up rain, thunder, and lightning faster than you
can say “Elijah the Prophet.”
Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) can disguise
herself so well that nobody even recognizes her (see David acting the madman
to escape the Philistines).
Hank (Nicholas Hoult) can, in a Samson-like rage,
turn himself into an invincible Beast on the battlefield.
Quicksilver is so fast that, Isaiah-like, he can
make time stand still. Well,
you get the idea. The
Brainiac of the group is Professor Xavier, but, Saul-like, he struggles with
depression as a young man (played by James McAvoy) , and also suffers the
self-doubt of the one who is head and shoulders above everyone else (in this
case intellectually), and to whom everybody looks for leadership.
So, the older Professor Xavier (played by Patrick
Stewart) has to send someone back in time to convince his younger self to buck
up and accept his serious responsibilities.
Or else the world as they all know it might come
crashing down around them.
Yes, there’s also a humanistic
aspect here of being very afraid of robotics.
The “sentinel” warrior-droids designed to
protect us can become so sophisticated that the servants wind up becoming the
not only do they have no weaknesses, they have no conscience, either.
And can’t be persuaded to change course,
because they’re not programmed to make difficult choices.
Ah, yes, repentance, in the literal sense,
is here displayed as part of the essence of what
makes us human: to
admit that our current course just might be in error, and we need to turn
things around and go in the other direction.
So, is our future fixed, or can we
act in such a way now to re-shape it?
Can we call upon our better selves to overcome
our self-indulgent selves?
Can we inspire/persuade/exhort others to get on
board with us, and for those who choose not to, are we sensitive and mature
enough to allow them an honorable out, with their dignity intact?
And will we choose to use what gifts we do have
for the greater good, or instead bury our talent in the ground, afraid to risk
putting it to work for fear that we don’t know for certain what the outcome
Yeah, it’s comic book stuff.
But it has amazing depth, really.
Oh, and a lot of flash-bang graphic imaging.
Not to mention a spot-on Richard Nixon
impersonation. And who says saving the world from our short-sighted selves
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,