Saturday, May 9, 2009

Went to See X-Men Origins: Wolverine Today!

Missed the World premier in our neighboring city of Tempe, but we just didn't want to wait any longer to see this 4th installment in the X-men series of movies. I'm always a bit wary of prequels since it seems like alot of them just can't measure up to the original story lines. This one however, I loved! Hugh Jackman was perfect in his role as usual (and nah, sorry, it's not because of the bulging biceps or six pack abs - the man can act!) and the supporting cast did a great job of giving us some insight into the origins and evolution of the X-men. I thought, at least from a movie-goer standpoint, that it was a well done, action packed, fast moving, and thankfully not predictable (IMHO). For those of you who are not familiar with the storyline, it is basically about a group of mutants - otherwise normal human beings who are endowed with special abilities. Those special abilities are of course, what makes them "different" and leads them to have to deal with all types of situations.

Of course, if you're used to reading my blogs, you know I usually have an underlying theme to my "non-educational" topics... I won't disappoint you on this one! I've seen all of the X-men movies and the other various Superhero movies, as well as such TV shows as Beauty and the Beast, The Incredible Hulk, the Sci-fi Channel's Sanctuary and Eureka and the X-files. And yes, they're fun and for the most part entertaining (if you like that sort of thing, and I do), but I personally think there's a deeper storyline underlying this particular genre of storytelling - and that is acceptance.

In all of these types of shows, the plots tend to revolve around such issues as fear of people who are different, ostracism from society because people are not up to "normal standards", ridicule, and even sadly, scientific experimentation. The sadder part to me, is that all of these storylines, while perhaps set in fictional backdrops and fantastic places, are a true reflection of what historically has happened and still happens to people who are deemed "different."

Unfortunately, I sense it can be due to ignorance (lack of knowledge by definition) and naivete and defensiveness on both sides of the coin. I remember two similar instances in my life that turned out very differently simply because of the way everyone involved handled the situation. In both cases, I was in a shopping mall, enjoying some refreshments and people watching. And in both situations, I watched as a young child, accompanied by his parents, made a somewhat loud (but simply curious) comment about someone in a wheelchair who was obviously "different" by everyday standards.

In one situation, the parents hushed the child, looked disapprovingly at the person in question, and pulled the child off to continue on their way. The child kept looking back, pulling on his mother's arm to stop, but to no avail. The person in the wheelchair was very obviously uncomfortable and ended up leaving the food court looking pretty despondent. His companion tried to comfort him, but he got a bit defensive and said he didn't need her "lip-service". I really hate to see people in that type of situation, so I managed to work my way towards the couple from the opposite direction and made a point to smile at them and say "hi, how's it going?" I asked if they knew where a certain store was and in general just made some small talk. It turned out that the young man had sustained an injury in Desert Storm, which accounted for his obvious disabilities and appearance. I thanked him for his service and went about my shopping...but I couldn't help but think about the opportunity the young child and his parents had missed in "running away" from this young couple.

A few years later, I was in a similar situation, sitting a table away from an older very friendly looking grandfatherly gentleman who was a double amputee in a wheelchair. A little boy of about 5 (boys tend to be so curious!) had just come into the food court with his parents and was sizing up this man with no legs. He turned to his mother and asked her loudly if he could go say hi to the man in the chair with the wheels. She smiled at him and nodded and he walked shyly over to the gentleman in the wheelchair and said "Hi mister, I'm sorry you have to be in that wheelchair. What happened to your legs?"

The little boy's parents had walked up behind him by now and the father extended his hand to the older man and apologized for his son's inquisitiveness, but the gentleman waved him away and smiled at the young boy and explained that he had lost his legs in an accident. He asked the boy if he would like to sit on his lap, and the boy nodded and scrambled up onto his lap. A series of questions that you would expect from a 5 year old ensued, with the old man answering them simply and appropriately for a 5 year old to understand.

The conversation ended with the boy giving the old man a hug and the parents thanking the man for his patience. As the family walked away, I saw the man smiling and I leaned over to comment on what a sweet little boy the child had been and how nice it was of the man to answer his questions and be so open to the situation. He told me how many times children and adults would just stare at him, not daring to approach him and that he never understood why!

I echo that feeling of not understanding why so many people have trouble accepting or trying to understand other people's differences. I believe that each of us come into life for a reason, some of us to learn, some of us to teach...but we must be open to the wonder of everything that makes each of us unique and different and therefore "special." Like this wonderful t-shirt expresses - "Acceptance is the Key" - and it will unlock so many doors to so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. We have so much to learn from others, and you never know what effect you may be having on their life in whatever way you touch it. I hope we all remember to strive to make those moments of interaction positive and productive and inspiring.

Be sure to visit these wonderful Etsy shops who allowed me the privilege of using their items to illustrate my blog article today!

XMen Pins or Magnets - Set of 9 - LittleMommaErin
X-Men Storm charm pendant necklace - CreativeRampage
Heroes Series 2 - Storm - whimsyandbrimstone

1 comment:

Anthony Peterson said...

This post really warmed my heart! So glad you had a nice experience to counter the original one. Oh and I just read about your background on the sidebar ~ that is so nice of you to want to help your dad. Best of fortune to you!

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