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'X-Men': We have burning questions

152745__anna_l

152745__anna_lSo it looks like everyone in the known universe elected to take the mutant cure this weekend. By now you must realize: Side effects include several burning questions. Most are too spoiler-y to be mentioned here. So allow me to play The Provocateur (my lame mutant alter ego) and kick off two larger thematic debates:

1. What was the thinking (maybe that’s too strong a word) behind sampling this web short in a feature film? Yes, I know crowd-sourcing  is all the rage in today’s imagination-leeched Hollywood. I know Lost is now as much an online fan conversation as a TV show, and I realize that half of Snakes on a Plane was written by freelance net ironists.

Honestly, though: As the trustee of a beloved franchise, do you reference a popular Web parody of said franchise just for the sake of referencing it? Do people applaud for the sheer familiarity? (Often, the answer is a big scary yes). Is it funny or off-key, like Batman suddenly breaking into a chorus of “Robin Laid an Egg”? Does it sell beloved characters down the river for a cheap laugh? Larger question: Is it disturbing or refreshingly democratic to have mega-budgeted Hollywood, er, juggernauts relying on no-budget Web trifles for inspiration?

2) The issue of “the cure”: What divisive social issue does it allegorize for you? Of course, there’s the well-worn “queer theory” approach to X-Men, but reviews of The Last Stand have added abortion and even cochlear implants to the political/polemical mix. (Oh, and in case you’ve been missing the whole Malcolm X/Martin Luther King dynamic between Magneto and Prof. Charles Xavier, Mystique keeps it fresh by refusing to be called by her “slave name.”)  So… when Rogue (Anna Paquin, pictured) agonizes over whether to take the “cure,” what do you see? A young woman trying to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy? Or an innocently parasitic mutant who’d like to be able to kiss her boyfriend without draining his life force?

3) I know I said two, but… dude, still no Gambit?

Originally posted May 30 2006 — 8:42 PM EDT

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