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The Psychology of X-2: X-Men United

“Mr. President, what you were about to tell the world is true--this is a moment. A moment to repeat the mistakes of the past or work together for a better future. We're here to stay, Mr. President. The next move is yours." - Charles Xavier


Mind-controlled Nightcrawler attacks the White House, leaving a message "Mutant Freedom Now" on a dagger meant for the president. Later Storm and Jean find him in a cathedral and discover that he’s actually the docile, religious Kurt Wagner. Besides being blue with three-toed hands and tail, Kurt marks his body with angelic symbols, one for every sin he says.

Storm and Nightcrawler have discussions about the relationship between humans and mutants, and through these discussions, Nightcrawler reveals his forgiving, compassionate spirit. Nightcrawler says to her, "You know, outside of the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn't hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes."

Obviously tired of dealing with prejudice humans on a daily basis, Storm responds, "Well, I gave up on pity a long time ago.” Nightcrawler gives the bizarre response, "Someone so beautiful should not be so angry." First of all, she's not even angry right now, Kurt, let Black women express emotions.

Later, after discovering her metamorphic ability, Nightcrawler asks Mystique, "Why not stay in disguise all the time? You know, look like everyone else." He makes a good point, and understandably, Nightcrawler has probably wished he could blend into a crowd. If you don’t have to deal with prejudice and discrimination, why do it? Mystique responds, "Because we shouldn’t have to." Hiding, or denying their identity, shouldn’t even be the logical choice for them, in Mystique’s mind.

Similarly, people who identify as bisexual, who are attracted to both men and women, are often asked, “If you like both, why not just pretend to be straight? Why come out and deal with the hate?” For bisexual (or homosexual or what have you) people who do decide to not identify openly, it’s understandable considering the amount of discrimination they face. However, people who dish out the prejudice and discrimination are in the wrong, not the one who choose to openly embrace all parts of their identity.


In this sequel, Logan continues to search for the missing pieces of his memory. He doesn’t find the answers he wants, so he returns to the school. Logan asks the professor to read his mind again. Charles tells Logan, "The mind is not a box that can be simply unlocked and opened. It's a beehive with a million different compartments...Sometimes the mind needs to discover things for itself." Actually, Charles knows Wolverine's past but doesn't want to tell him. Instead, he believes Logan needs to discover the secrets of his past on his own.

Charles is, in a way, using a form of therapy on Wolverine. While this does not apply necessarily to amnesia clients, many talking therapies, particularly psychoanalytic, believe in client insight, when the client comes to some realization on their own about their problem or circumstance. On the first day of therapy a therapist could spell out to a client how exactly to “fix” their problem, but not only is this egotistical, it would have less effect than the client coming to the same conclusions on their own.

Logan, however, wants quick answers; he would probably be open to hypnosis therapy, in which the therapist places the client into a slower state of consciousness in order to “unlock” hidden memories.

In update to the discussion on Logan’s PTSD and amnesia, in this movie Logan still experiences flashbacks in dreams. However, these flashbacks seem to become more informational. During one flashback, Stryker says that Logan will not remember anything. Based on this information, I would assume the PTSD did not cause the amnesia, but rather the amnesia is due to an inflicted brain trauma during the experiment.

Colonel William Stryker

The villain Colonel William Stryker fiercely opposes the mutant population and plots to kill all the mutants. Interestingly, Stryker's own son Jason is a mutant and used to attend Xavier’s school. However, Stryker did not want Jason to learn to develop his powers but rather to be “cured” of his “condition.” He retells that when Jason returned home from school, he resented his parents and used his telepathic powers to drive his parents literally crazy with horrific mental images.

Besides having a son who is a mutant, Stryker also surrounds himself with mutants at his base. Charles observes, "For someone who hates mutants, you certainly keep some strange company." Obviously, Stryker recognizes the benefits of mutants, but he sees them more as animals or experiments to be control. He doesn’t have any relationship with the mutants he employs; he mind-controls all of them. If he did have relationships with the mutants, he perhaps would have come to see them as people, rather than commodities.

Stryker even physically and mentally exploits his own son for his spinal fluid in order to mind-control the other mutants. No longer does Stryker call his son Jason, but refers to him as mutant 143, an experiment. Stryker even says, "My son is dead." Yet when he uses Jason to get into Charles' head to kill off all mutants, he whispers to him. "Make me proud." He hates mutants, including his own son, but he’s not above using emotional manipulation as a parent.

Iceman and Pyro

Many of the students at Xavier’s school are “closeted” from their other friends

and families. For example, Bobby's parents think he's at prep school. When he returns home, he finally decided to tell his parents that he is a mutant. The following conversation is reminiscent of an LGBT youth coming out to their parents. His mother makes statements and asks questions such as, “So, uh, when did you first know you were, uh…,” “This is all my fault,” (gay men’s sexuality is often “blamed” on the mother) and the classic, "have you tried not being a mutant?"

When the police attack Bobby's house, they shoot Wolverine, despite his efforts to talk to the police. In response, John fights back, "You know those dangerous mutants you hear about on the news? I'm the worst one." If mutants are a metaphor for LGBT people, John could be referring to himself as transgender, often seen as the “worst” or most discriminated against branch of the LGBT community. Many parents may admit to being able to cope if their son was gay, but not if their son was a girl.

John has a different coming out conversation than Bobby. Magneto asks him, "What's your name?" When John answers with his birth name, Magneto asks knowingly, “What's your real name?" Then John, or Pyro, can give the name he chose for himself, a name that reflect his true identity, the same as a transgender person can chose a new name to reflect their true gender .

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