Someone once asked Bertrand Russell what he would say to Saint Peter if he was outside Heaven’s gate and the gatekeeper asked him why he didn’t believe in God. Russells response: “I’d tell him that he didn’t give us enough evidence.”
I think about that quote a lot, because it sums up one of my bigger problems with theism: if God wants us to believe in Him – if that’s vitally important to His plan – then he should reveal Himself. You would be crazy if you didn’t believe in things you have seen but you are completely justified in being skeptical about things you’ve never seen. God should be able to grasp that.
I bring all this up not because this X-Men movie is religious or spiritual, but because there’s a scene where Wolverine has to explain to Professor X that even though he looks like the Wolverine of 1973 he’s actually the Wolverine of the future taking possession of the Wolverine of the present to convey a message. And that message is that he should team up with his arch rival to stop an ex-friend from assassinating a man who wants to murder all the mutants. It’s utterly crazy nonsense, but Professor X buys it almost immediately. Despite all the inherent paradoxes and conceptual weirdness that this scenario entails everyone just accepts it immediately.
But you know what? That totally makes sense in the X-Men’s world. They live in a world where they’ve seen people shoot lightning out of their fingers, and they’ve seen people controlling every type of metal with their mind, and teleportation - you name it they’ve seen it. There’s no law of physics that they have not seen bent or broken. So why should they ever be skeptical of anything? They’ve seen enough miracles first hand that there’s almost nothing you could tell them that they could credibly call implausible.
Which made me wish that the movie had a minute to go down some of the side alleys that would open up – about how a world of wide spread mutantism would automatically be a world of wide spread con-mannery. A world where people can turn their ripped bodies into metal at will is a world where Nigerian princes might legitimately want to give you money; the Nigerian prince story is a lot saner prima facie. But no, this movie doesn’t have time for the little details – to explore what any of this means to any of these people. It has too much plot to whip through to pay attention to things like “consequences” or “implications”.
Still, I should give it credit where credit is due. It might not do enough work to be conceptually interesting, but it does do enough work to make sure the plot makes some semblance of sense despite the multiple time periods and large cast. It might lack the charm of some of the other more lighthearted Marvel movies but it still has some laughs – particularly when the Sentinels kill some mutants by microwaving them till they explode like overcooked hotdogs, an overkill which always made me laugh because of it’s extreme gratuitousness. Overall, it wasn’t bad, which is a step up from what I was expecting.