Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

X-Men: First Class – a Fun Movie for Historians

with 2 comments

by Weiner


I saw X-Men: First Class last night. Really good movie. It was especially fun for historians, and not only because it fictionally ties in to real events like the Holocaust, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Cold War. It also deals with the modern academic trifecta of race, class, and gender in relatively interesting ways, of course using the notion of mutants to complicate these matters (oh, no I used the term complicate! the next thing you know I’ll be trying to problematize something!).

I’m not sure I have anything to add that hasn’t already been said better by Matt Yglesias or by Susan Polo or by Neo-Prodigy at The Chronicle. So check those posts out, but BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

What I will say is that January Jones must be the world’s worst actress. Unless she was supposed to play a mutant super-villain in the same way she does Betty Draper. Still, it was an awesome movie, and you should see it.


Written by David Weinfeld

June 8, 2011 at 19:21

Posted in class, film, gender, pop culture, race

2 Responses

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  1. So, as a historian of Russia, I generally find the depictions of the Soviet Union problematic and annoyingly reductionist, but that scene in The War Room with the large maps of primary and secondary nuclear targets where the communist Soviet Union was labeled “Russia” was distinctly ahistorical. To use a topical analogy, it would be like labeling a World War II map of Nazi Germany, the “FRG.” Whatever their similarities and continuities, the Soviet Union and Russia are two very different political entities. The degree to which the two are recognized as different governs US-Russia relations of the post-Cold War world. I gladly refer you to Stephen F. Cohen’s recent article in The Nation for a far more detailed and eloquent summary:

    Also, going so far as to have Kevin Bacon and others speak Russian, but not labelling “The Aral Sea” boat in Cyrillic characters, to me, seemed like careless omission.


    June 13, 2011 at 10:59

    • I am not a historian of Russia, but I too am at a loss as to why everything was labeled “Russia” and “Russian” and “Russians” as opposed to “U.S.S.R.,” “Soviet” and “Soviets.”

      Of course this is a film whose primary purpose is to entertain rather than document, but this was either a really silly mistake or a reckless decision. If however, there is some “reason” for this I’d be interested to know it. If that “reason” is because the target audience is more familiar with “Russia” than the “U.S.S.R.,” then shame on you.


      February 5, 2013 at 00:38

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