“X-Men: First Class” — Philippine Edition

I just saw X-Men : First Class… and it was amazing!

Well, for people who know me very well, this is a predictable reaction for me. If you really knew me, you would know that I am prone to be biased to certain films based on the cast. And in this case, because of three people:

Kevin Bacon — I love him in Apollo13, Hollow Man, and Footloose!

January Jones — uh, Betty Draper… Mad Men… Need I say more?

JAMES McAVOY — I’m in love with this man! Love at first sight in one of my favorite movies, Becoming Jane, as Mr. Tom LeFroy.

   

Without bias, I still would say: The movie is great. Really. I am sure X-Men fans are not disappointed.

But before I get too distracted, I would like to share a “light bulb moment” I gathered from watching the film.

Just as the end credits were rolling, I could not contain myself and started sharing this realization with Ate Magsy and Ate Ces. I believe my exact words were:

“Alam nyo bang may Charles at Erik din sa Pilipinas?”

Oh yes. Our country has it’s own Professor X and Magneto. Guess who?
(Brace yourself. This might get too old school –literally)
It’s our very own heroes: Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio!
Guess which one is which.

I could not help but see Charles as Jose Rizal and Erik as Andres Bonifacio.

Just a little background… (let me regress a bit)
I remember when I was in college, I had two professors who had different beliefs on who should be the rightful National Hero for our country. (And believe me, when you’re studying in UP you should force yourself to make a stand on something because meeting with diverse people with diverse ideas can either make you fall for anything easily or can just give you a BIG headache.)

My Kas1 (Philippine History) professor believes that Rizal is an “American-named Hero”. She made us read a whole chapter regarding why this was so. It stated that Rizal really never wanted us to be free from the Spaniards.
“Rizal wanted Philippines to be a province of Spain.”
“Rizal wanted the Spanish language to be taught to all Filipinos.”
“Rizal wanted Philippines to be accepted by Spain as an equal.”

She was always putting Andres Bonifacio on a pedestal. She believes that Bonifacio should have been the National hero because he was the one who took “actions”.
“Bonifacio was the one who did not want to believe that a conqueror could ever make his slaves his equal.”
“Bonifacio decided the only way to be freed was to fight.”

The book she made us read also said that if it were not for Americans praising and cheering for Rizal, the Filipinos would have seen that Bonifacio’s fights were more helpful in regaining our freedom over Rizal’s philosophies. Most especially, my professor believes that Americans were just afraid of making Bonifacio an example because we might rebel against them during their occupation.

My PI100 (Rizal Studies) professor, on the other hand, believes in Rizal so much that it made me suspect she was one of his past girlfriends. And what was so ironic is that, she was the publisher of the book we were made to read in Kas1. She told us that when she was younger, she was an activist. She also believed in the same things my Kas1 professor believes in. When she got older, she said she had finally understood the impacts of Rizal’s work. So she taught us his works in the most meticulous manner that our class became more like a Philosophy class instead of a history class.

So how did an engineering student like me take all these contradicting information?
Sad to say, with apathy. I graduated the university without a stand on the matter.
I believe both had good points. I just did not decide on who had the better one.

Here I am, five years later, with a decision.
All thanks to the movie.

      

I saw Rizal in Professor X.
The way he believed that humans can co-exist with mutants peacefully is like Rizal believing that Philippines can be a province of Spain.
Professor X fights for the day that mutants will be accepted by the humans as equals the same way Rizal fought for us to be treated as an equal by Spain.

    

Then there is the Bonifacio in Magneto.
I am not saying that Bonifacio was a villain.
But we can compare the violent nature of their reactions to their oppressors. Both were poor and experienced the full extent of the sufferings of being tyrannized.

Unlike Charles and Rizal, Erik and Bonifacio did not have the luxury to have a clear head or an open mind to believe that balance can be achieved by co-existing. Maybe they had suffered too much to have had hope that compassion will be given to them in return. But even with these circumstances, one should never give in to anger.  However hard it may seem, the high road is always to be the “better/bigger man”.

So this makes me a back up Rizal as our National Hero. Just like Professor X, he took the high road. In fact, when he was made aware of the plan of the Katipunan to launch a revolution, he objected to this project headed by Bonifacio saying that it would be suicide. Rizal stressed that the Katipunan leaders should do everything possible to prevent premature flow of native blood.

This made me think of a conversation between Professor X and Magneto:

Charles: Killing (Shawn) will not bring you peace.
Erik: Peace was never an option.

I believe peace is always an option. It’s just very hard to choose peace because chaos is inevitable.

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3 Comments on ““X-Men: First Class” — Philippine Edition”

  1. Dress.Dish.Destination. says:

    nice review! pero I am pro-Bonifacio as Nat’l Hero. 🙂


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