This week marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most tragic moments in American history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.
Also this week, Fox and Marvel began a viral marketing campaign for their upcoming cinematic release: X-Men: Days of Future Past. The film is an adaptation of one of the most widely-renowned X-Men tales of all time, originally penned by noted X-Men scribe Chris Claremont. In the original story, X-Man Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) travels back in time to warn her compatriots of the dire future awaiting them, one in which mutants have been hunted to the brink of extinction and massive, robotic hunter-killers known as Sentinels prowl the skies around the world.
In his return to the X-Men cinematic franchise he helped birth over ten years ago, director Bryan Singer has chosen to borrow liberally from Claremont’s storyline but lines it up chronologically with the successful franchise “reboot” of X-Men: First Class.
The viral marketing site, The Bent Bullet, shows in documentary fashion how Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is charged with the murder of the President and conspiracy following the events in Dallas.
In choosing to connect the film with one of the seminal events of the 20th century, Singer has taken a bold risk. The events surrounding that fateful day in November mark the beginning of a dark era of American politics. The death of Camelot is still thought by many to be the beginning of the end of American optimism. By layering the mutant narrative into this slice of real-world history, Singer is continuing the theme of mutants as stand-ins for oppressed minorities.
More than 1,000 books — and very likely a thousand essays — have been written about the November 22, 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. Nearly all have investigated the lives of people like Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. Most have criticized the findings of the Warren Commission, the task force appointed by President Johnson to investigate the Kennedy assassination.
These critics insist the Warren Commission’s final report was a rushed, inadequately researched frame-up. Nearly all proudly provide their own conspiracy theories about the events on that dreadful day in Dallas. And most insist that the man here — the man convicted of killing the president fifty years ago — is innocent.
Erik Lehnsherr. The man who calls himself Magneto.
X-Men: Days of Future Past comes to theaters May 23, 2014