X-Men ’97 Was A Profound Defeat For Marvel’s Mutant Heroes – Because Magneto Was Right – SlashFilm


Marvel Studios has a history of sympathetic villains. Ever since phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve seen more and more sympathetic villains with tragic backstories, or at least understandable and relatable goals with misguided approaches. This, of course, culminated with the one-two punch of Killmonger and Thanos. The former sought to correct a horrendous historic wrong and use Wakanda’s might to strike back at oppressors, while the latter sought to do what he thought had to be done to put the universe back in balance. In the time since, Marvel — like Disney at large — has overdone it with the sympathetic villains, making it hard to root for the heroes instead. 

No villain exemplifies this better than Magneto. Ever since his appearance in the first “X-Men” movie back in 2000, this Holocaust survivor has been easy to root for. It doesn’t help that his grand evil plan was to turn people into mutants so they could understand the people they hated, while also giving them cool powers and bringing them to the next step in evolution. Still, compared to the X-Men, who selflessly fought to protect mankind and mutants from those who would harm them, or even mutate them against their will, Magneto was in the wrong comparatively. Simply put, even if Magneto is in the right, he is worse than Xavier.

Well, that changed in “X-Men ’97,” because the finale not only reiterates that humans are a horrible species, but shows Charles Xavier’s path of tolerance is paved with the bodies of dead mutants. What’s more, it shows Xavier himself is capable of acts of completely inhumane acts of brutal violence when his back is against the wall, the same inhumane and brutal violence he constantly lectures Magnus for.

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