X-Men: Days of Future Past

In the last century, movies have become universal standards in every aspect of our culture. One of the most interesting examples of this, though, is style.

Costuming and styling in film is a criminally underappreciated art. Almost every single big, culturally important film takes place in a world different from our own. I don’t necessarily mean space or the past or anything, but a world where things are just different enough to allow the main characters to be the way they are, and for the story to do the things it does. And costuming is an essential part of that – while our characters are doing important story things, their dress allows you to tell the story of who they are and where they come from without pausing for a minute or even interrupting the action at all.

I say this because the costuming of X-Men: Days of Future Past is not some of the best there is in recent memory, but it’s also very close to my heart. You see, the young Prof. Charles Xavier (probably my single favorite comic-book superhero), who is probably the most main of the movie’s four or five main characters, spends the clear majority of this movie looking eerily similar to me.



Wolfenstein: The New Order

Ah, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. In a vacuum, it would look pretty normal as 20th century political movements went. To a nation ravaged by war, it would make sense to adopt a fiercely xenophobic and expansionist attitude, to reclaim the land that once had been theirs in the mists of history (That’s where “Third Reich” comes from – the first was Rome, and the second was the less powerful and vestigial Holy Roman Empire largely consolidated in Crusade-era Germany). And given the similar outlook Mussolini and Franco had had at the time, it’s easy to see why the two would join forces with the Germans, and why the initial passive ideal of lebensraum (living space) would largely be forgotten as the ideological pressure built up around the “Rome-Berlin Axis”.

But if there’s anything that shouldn’t be considered in a vacuum it’s history, even history that’s so been so exaggerated and mythologized by Euro-American culture. The frothing sea of Nazism that spilled over the sides of Germany into Belgium and Poland like the head of a stein of beer was an entirely different sort of beast to that relatively normal political movement. With America ravaged by depression and Europe by a cat’s cradle of treaties and agreements left over from the end of the last war, the Nazis were something to unite everyone in hatred, and were probably among the last things that could ever be treated that way in an increasingly fragmented and free-speaking world.