Clearly he's drinking a gay martini. 20th Century FoxToday, Movieline writer Louis Virtel directed our attention to a piece in Think Progress that discussed the gay-rights metaphors in "X-Men: First Class." Of particular interest to Virtel was the piece's comments section, where "First Class" co-writer Zack Stentz confirmed that those parallels weren't coincidental after other commenters refused to believe it:
I helped write the movie, and can tell you the gay rights/ post-holocaust Jewish identity / civil rights allegory stuff was all put in there on purpose.
We confess we haven't seen the movie yet -- We will this weekend! Honest! -- but we have to admit we're kinda confused why anyone at this point doesn't understand that the "X-Men" film franchise has been a long-running metaphor for repressed minority groups, particularly the LGBT movement. Is this a big deal anymore? Does anyone not know this? If anything, you can fault the franchise for being too on-the-nose in this regard.
The most obvious example is during "X2" when Iceman goes to see his parents to reveal he's a mutant. (Amusingly, in Stentz's Think Progress comments he references this "coming out" scene, admitting that it "isn't even particularly subtle," which is very true.) But even after gay filmmaker Bryan Singer left the series and Brett Ratner took over for the third installment, "The Last Stand," gay rights were still very much a part of the movie's mix. Paul Schrodt explains in his great post on The Atlantic website:
But if anything, 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand" amped up the symbolism with a plot about a pharmaceutical company that develops a "cure" for the mutant gene. While drugs and biology play a role in other superhero movies, notably the "Blade" series, none has so convincingly pointed to the AIDS epidemic and the way the gay community came together in solidarity to fight it. "There's nothing to cure," an indignant Storm (Halle Berry) says at one point. "Nothing's wrong with any of us."
OK, everybody? There's a gay subtext in these films. And there's a "don't ask, don't tell" joke in the new one. Just so you know.
We don't care at all about that, but we do want to say that we're glad we haven't read any stories about the soft opening for "First Class" having anything to do with homophobia or bigotry. (And if those stories do exist on the Web, please don't send them to us.) Blame the so-so opening weekend on a number of other factors, but leave that one out of it. Now, if you want to have a discussion about the lack of subtlety in the way those metaphors are used in these films, then we're happy to talk.