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Monday, June 02, 2014 

Yahoo Movies is worried about diversity in Days of Future Past film

Yahoo Movies is arguing that the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie doesn't give much attention to the minorities in the cast:
[...] Here were the X-Men, Marvel’s ambassadors of tolerance and diversity, finally looking the part: There’s Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (Blink) creating time-traveling portals; French-African actor Omar Sy (Bishop) shooting energy blasts from his fingers; Mexican actor Adam Canto (Sunspot) bursting into robot-fighting flames; and Native American Booboo Stewart (Warpath) fighting with superhuman agility. It’s a virtual United Nations of mutant-kind, under the command of out-and-proud Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde).

[...] in the first twenty minutes of the film, all of the non-white mutants are pushed aside. We don’t really see them again until the killer robots arrive at the monastery for the big showdown. And then the audience watches them die, one gory supernatural demise at a time, until Wolverine re-jiggers the timeline and saves them.

X-Men does have a huge cast, and it’s understandable that Bryan Singer devotes the most screen time to stars like Jackman. Unfortunately, the scenes that do highlight the new characters tell us next to nothing about who they are. Take Bishop, played by Omar Sy. The actor is a big-deal French movie star, best known for the 2011 international hit The Intouchables, and his role was promoted accordingly. But I had no idea what he was doing in most of his scenes. He seems to move energy around, particularly when people touch his head? It looks cool. Turns out that, according to Marvel canon, Bishop is a time-traveling antihero from the future. In a time-travel movie, wouldn’t that be worth mentioning? He probably would have been a helpful guy to have in that room with Wolverine.

I liked X-Men: Days of Future Past a lot, and I appreciate the strides it does take toward inclusiveness: putting complex female characters (notably Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence) front and center, and featuring two gay actors (Page and McKellen) in starring roles. Still, even in comparison even with this year’s other Marvel films – Captain America, which turned Anthony Mackie into a superhero, and Guardians of the Galaxy, which stars Zoe Saldana – X-Men is lacking in the diversity department. It’s the worst kind of Hollywood trope to turn all the minority characters into monster bait, and it’s especially jarring in this movie, because it goes against the entire ethos of the X-Men franchise.
There two ways you could look at this: the writer could be a leftist overly concerned with diversity at all costs, who can't put that aside and just enjoy the movie based on the screenplay's entertainment merits. But the story setup could also be considered an example of leftist Hollywood hypocrisy at work, as they claim they're in favor of diversity, but proving they don't really mean it. From my experience over the years, I've realized well how leftists can resort to facades.

If the story doesn't tell who some of the newer characters are, that's either good or bad. What would some people say if they knew Bishop debuted as part of a story involving a character who suffered much more bad writing than he did, Gambit? (Who's said to be chosen as the spotlight for another movie.) Blink probably didn't have a great beginning either; she debuted just 3 years after Bishop did. The screenwriters may not have to focus too deeply on all the cast, but what if they didn't get into details about these two examples because they were embarrassed that the characters they put in have some terrible baggage to cope with? As I've said before, it's not the characters' fault, but those who find out about their limp beginnings could still wonder why the moviemakers wanted to draw their casting ideas from some of the worst storytelling of the 1990s.

Some of the commentors on the article criticized the writer for making a PC issue out of this movie by complaining about insufficient diversity, so there are people out there who realize diversity alone isn't a reason to watch these films. Why can't these MSM buffoons just stop dithering all the time about diversity and just concentrate on the quality of the screenplay?

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Funny, because the only reason those characters are there is to appease writers like Watkins. They're tokens, meant to check off the "diversity" box. And, with the exception of Blink, they die rather quickly and easily, fulfilling their second purpose: showing how tough the Sentinels are supposed to be.

Honestly, most of the future fights are just underwhelming. The diversity crew are speedbumps (with the exception of Blink, who uses her powers to be something of an annoyance). Colossus gets easily overwhelmed; not even a dent? Storm rather stupidly gets impaled from behind after taking out (?) several Sentinels. Magneto - sigh - gets impaled by flying metallic debris and, instead of going out in a blaze of glory, attached the debris to the door and slinks off to die beside Xavier.

Could have been awesome. Instead, felt like filler.

And don't get me started on Kitty Pryde suddenly developing time-travelling powers...

...wasn't this film (loosely) adapted from an 80s X-Men storyline, written by Claremont and Byrne?

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