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No. 81: X-Men

Jewish revenge, mainstreamed

by
Len Small
December 05, 2011
(Twentieth Century Fox)

(Twentieth Century Fox)

2000, dir. Bryan Singer. In this comic-book blockbuster’s opening scene, a boy and his family are split apart at a concentration camp in 1940s Poland—a moment that triggers the boy’s latent mutant super-powers. He grows up to become the powerful villain Magneto, marvelously played by Ian McKellen. Director Bryan Singer uses Magneto’s origin to frame a McCarthy-esque senator’s attempts to round up mutants, turning a Red Scare plot into a universal meditation on otherness. But who are the good guys? While the X-Men debate assimilation, Magneto wants to beat back those who would persecute his kind. This film mainstreamed the concept of Jewish revenge.

Len Small is Tablet Magazine’s art director.

Len Small is Tablet Magazine’s art director.