I stumbled across a website that contains archives of old comic books, and I took advantage of the situation to learn more about Nightcrawler of the X-Men. Learning about his origins, I realized there were some interesting parallels between his origins and those of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera (and phantom of this blog for as frequently as he manages to insert himself into posts).
To make a long story short, Kurt spent most of his childhood as a sideshow performer at a circus–a lot like Erik did. They also experienced similar treatments of hatred and fear, and both escaped as soon as they got the chance. Where they differ, however, is how they reacted to their situations. We all know what happened to Erik–he turned his back on the world and became an insane, homicidal psychopath. Kurt, however, chose to forgive and not lose hope in humanity.
That decision really impressed me. I knew he was one of the good guys because of X-Men United, but when I was reading his story, I really felt that I was reading the origin of a villain. But that wasn’t what he chose to be. So I found his story extremely fascinating when compared to Erik’s; although they both suffered similar misfortunes as children, they reacted to that misfortune in drastically different ways.
I also feel a little less sorry for Erik now. My reaction to him was similar to what Christine and the Persian felt for him, loathing mixed with pity. But now that I know that Kurt had an almost identical childhood and yet did not become an insane, homicidal psychopath, I’m like…sorry, Erik. You had a choice, buddy, and this was what you chose to be.
But at least he achieved a redemption of sorts and probably made it as far as Literary Purgatory.
I’ve written on here before about how Nightcrawler is one of my favorite X-Men, but I’ve never been able to find the video clip that made him my favorite. Today that all changed. Today YouTube has finally yielded the video for which I have searched for a long time.
Behold, the scene that made Nightcrawler one of my favorite X-Men and made X-Men United one of my favorite films of the franchise!
…except I couldn’t think of the words I wanted. It’s…it’s almost beyond words, in a way. It was tragic and satisfying and totally deserves to be Best Picture of the Year, except the awards committees are too snobby to even consider it.
Well, if this was the last time we’re ever going to see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, he went out with a bang. Hollywood is full of idiots–well, more idiots than usual–if they think they can ever recast this role. Let Logan rest in peace. He’s earned it. And if they feel they must make more Wolverine movies, at least wait for Daphne Keen to get a little older so Laura can carry on her father’s legacy.
Rest in peace, Wolverine. And thanks for giving us seventeen years of stabbing things.
This weekend saw the release of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine. I haven’t seen it yet, but I keep hearing great reviews for it. And I know I’m going to have mixed feelings about it–it’s another Wolverine movie! But it’s the last one with Hugh Jackman! How can this be a good thing?
Either way, I wanted to post this video as a tribute to the irascible mutant even if it’s not a particularly serious video. This was recorded in 2014 when Hugh Jackman visited a radio station to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past. This video was actually what made me decide to look into the X-Men movies, and I am so glad I did.
The upcoming release of X-Men: Apocalypse has me revisiting everything I love about the X-Men movies (in an earlier post, I even admitted that I prefer the X-Men over the Avengers)–the characters, the emotions, the battles…and, of course, I’m super-excited about the return of Nightcrawler, whose Catholicism has made him one of my favorite characters. As I excitedly geek over the new movie, however, I remember one of the things that struck me the first time I watched an X-Men movie–Professor Xavier had a place in his school for all the mutants, no matter what their abilities were. It didn’t matter if they could master the elements like Storm, shape-shift like Mystique, have awesome stabby claws like Wolverine, or siphon other mutants’ powers like Rogue. Professor X welcomed all of them and taught them how to make their powers work together to accomplish a goal far greater than any of them could achieve on their own.
In a strange sort of way, this kind of openness and unity reminded me of the Catholic Church. I’ve been a Catholic all of my life, and I’ve seen the different talents and personality types that make up both an individual parish and the Church as a whole. There have been scholars and musicians, saints and sinners, artists and engineers, scientists and farmers. Do we all get along? Heck no. Do we fight with each other? Of course. But the good priests, just like Professor X, get us to stop arguing among ourselves and teach us that our different talents serve the Church in different ways, but no talent or purpose is greater than another. We need all of them–we need each other–to work together in order to attain our ultimate goal of spreading the Gospel and spending eternity with God in Heaven.
This is probably just another instance of Catholic Nerd Girl making connections that are only in her head. But, well, I can’t help the conclusions I’ve drawn. Professor X invited all mutants to join his team and didn’t make them feel as if they were any better or any worse than their fellow mutants; instead he showed them how all of their powers could work together for the greater good. In a similar way, the Church invites all to join her fold, regardless of what they can or cannot do, and encourages them to use whatever gift they have to work towards the common goal of spreading the Gospel and attaining Heaven. I don’t know about you, but I find something comforting in the knowledge that the Church can probably find a use even for the bizarre ramblings of a Catholic Nerd Girl like me. And if she can find a purpose for someone as strange as me, she can find a purpose for anyone–and everyone.
Every parish is an eclectic group. The fact that we manage to get along at all is a testimony to the power of God.
In my previous post, I talked about how I was finally getting around to watching the X-Men movies, and at that point I had only seen two of them. Now I’ve seen four (the original trilogy plus X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and I have reached a decision. It will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, and I am prepared to dive behind my couch to avoid the flying vegetables that might be pelted in my direction.
*Inhales deeply* I like the X-Men movies better than the Avengers franchise! *Dives behind couch*
Yes, I know the Avengers movies are bigger and more popular, and I’m not saying I don’t like them–I do. Iron Man was good; Captain America was really good; Thor was…middling but still enjoyable (thanks in large part to Tom Hiddleston’s relentless screen hogging–seriously, how are we supposed to root against the villain when he’s more compelling than the hero?), and The Avengers in general was a fun, fast-paced ride. But these movies do tend to be oddly serious at times, a seriousness that doesn’t always fit the premise. Come on, it’s a comic book–maybe I’m old school, but I want some fun and light-heartedness in comic book-based movies! (Sometimes the darker tones work well a la Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but that’s another post entirely.)
The X-Men movies do deal with serious themes, but there also seems to be a more fun, almost tongue-in-cheek aspect to them as well. After all, you can only be so serious when dealing with mutants in odd costumes. But what really gets me is the compelling storylines behind the characters themselves. For instance, Erik/Magneto was an unexpectedly understandable and relatable character–he already lived through one holocaust and feared he would see another, but he thought the only answer was to kill the ordinary humans before they could kill the mutants. And then we have Logan/Wolverine taking responsibility for Marie/Rogue’s safety to the point of risking his own life to save her, Kurt/Nightcrawler’s insistence that faith and love are more powerful than hatred–this is all really compelling, detailed character development.
I’ve been impressed with the X-Men movies. I didn’t think I would like them, but I have. I’m interested to see how the others play out and if there will be any others in the future. And maybe one of those future movies will explain why Wolverine’s hair is so weird.
It’s always a brilliant sensation when you encounter someone who shares your likes and beliefs, be they the mutual love of a book or TV series (here’s looking at you, fellow Whovians!)…or a religion.
Being Catholic myself, I always find it uber-exciting to discover another Catholic well-known to the mainstream media–here’s someone in the glaring public eye with whom you can actually relate on some level! And it may not even be someone you suspected of sharing any similarity with you at all. For example, I’m finally getting around to watching the X-Men movies (don’t judge that it took me so long, okay?), and I was going along enjoying the movie when all of a sudden, WHAM! I discovered Nightcrawler is Catholic.
Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in “X2: X-Men United”
This is Nightcrawler, whose real name is Kurt Wagner. Kurt is a blue, freaky-looking teleporter. He is also a devout Catholic, so to me, the freaky-looking blue aspect doesn’t matter at all, and the teleporting is a sweet perk. It was just so exciting to have a character to have some sort of trait that enabled me to identify with him, and not just any trait, either, but one that is so deeply rooted in me.
Not only is he Catholic, but he also has a strong understanding of his faith. I wish I could find the scene where he was talking about how he pitied those who hated the mutants instead of hating them in return, but YouTube has decided to fail me and not have any clips of that scene. Still, that just cemented his unique self into my head, and he is now on my List of Fictional Characters with Whom I Would like to Converse.