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Published:December 20th, 2007 07:00 EST
X-Men is an extraordinary story on tolerance, self-sacrifice, and heroism

X-Men is an extraordinary story on tolerance, self-sacrifice, and heroism

By Garrett Godwin

"Are you sure you're on the right side?" -Wolverine

For years, the world has feared what they don't understand, as beings with extraordinary powers live among them.  They are called "freaks", but they are truly known as mutants, who are being persecuted for being different. 

Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) teaches a school for the gifted -- a safe haven for young mutants to be with those like themselves.  With the help Scott Summers (Cyclops), Dr. Jean Grey, and Storm, Xavier helps them learn to use their powers to help the world, hoping one day that both humans and mutants can live among one another.  However, his old friend turned nemesis Magneto, believes that humans will never accept mutants.  "We are the future, Charles, not them," he states, meaning mutants are the next stage of evolution.  The leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants, he sets out to wage war against humanity.

Young Rogue, who has the ability to absorb the powers of mutants -- with fatal consequences, and Logan, a loner who is razor-sharp but has no clue of his past.  These two are caught between Magneto and Xavier, whose team must band together to protect a world that hates them.  They are the X-Men.

Released in the summer of 2000, X-Men has received critical praise and major box-office success, spawning two highly successful summer sequels in 2003 and 2006. 

Under the guidance of Marvel's Stan Lee and brought to life by Bryan Singer, X-Men combines comic-book storytelling with social commentary.  Mutants on both Xavier's and Magneto's group’s experiences racism, prejudice, and discrimination because of what they can do, struggling to find acceptance in a world that may never understand. 

Professor Charles Xavier is the counterpart of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believing in nonviolence, trying to bring two worlds together and making them one.  However, Magneto is equivalent to Malcolm X, both believing that one must take a more forceful and proactive stance in the fight for civil rights by "any means necessary".

The X-Men are reluctant heroes because they never asked to be different nor asked for these powers.  Blessed and cursed with their powers, they have the opportunity to step in and change the world for the better.  Wolverine is an anti-hero because he's interested in going his own way, but throughout the film as well as his relationship with Rogue, he slowly becomes more heroic in every step of the way, understanding that there are some things worth fighting for.

Pick a side with X-Men, available on DVD.