Saturday, May 14, 2011

Magneto Versus The Self-Image Issues

Magneto is one of the most recognizable, and perhaps the most interesting of all the supervillains in the Marvel universe. Not only is he incredibly powerful and bad-ass, but he also has a well-developed backstory and at times even appears heroic. With such a reputation, you wouldn’t think it would be all that challenging to put his character to good use. Which is why I was shocked to see how he was portrayed in this clip from the old Fantastic Four TV show:

Earlier, you’ve heard me rant about the ridiculous things that happen in old episodes of Superfriends, but this isn’t even ridiculous. It’s just sad. They take freakin’ Magneto and turn him into a stoned, insecure old man. Everything he says and does is a complete and utter embarrassment to all that is Magneto, and that’s not saying anything about that fruity gondola he’s driving around in. I know that this cartoon is over 40 years old, but I think it’s important for people to know exactly why this is so wrong. Looking at that last sentence I realize I should reconsider my priorities in life.

So we start off with Magneto pulling into a gas station to ask for directions since apparently the world’s greatest supervillain doesn’t know the location of his intended target. But that’s not even the most ridiculous thing right now. In fact I didn’t even question this implausible scenario at first because I was so distracted by the sight of his retarded car. It looks like a party snow taxi that exclusively services gay men. Rather than striking fear into the hearts of me it just causes them to stare incredulously because they can’t even believe it’s real. And that’s a pretty generous reaction given that most would probably just point and laugh.

At this point he begins to ramble on incoherently about how awesome his car is and how boss it makes him spouting such nonsense as “fuel is for lesser men,” because truly the mark of a great man is his lack of a need for gas. By those standards, hipsters who bike everywhere are the best of us. In case it wasn’t already clear that he has a Napoleon complex, he shouts “nobody may dare contradict me!” in the most insane overreaction in the history of cartoon villainy, apparently with the vain hope that saying it loudly will make it come true. He then proceeds to knock over nearby metallic objects in a mildly startling display of power before toddling off in the California Raisin’s party bus. Before it cuts to the next scene, Magneto starts referring to himself in the third person as he predicts that the Fantastic Four will tremble before “the menace of Magneto,” in what can only be seen as a desperate attempt to reassure himself that he is still threatening, and not some crotchety old man on an ill-conceived joyride.

In the next scene, Magneto is nearing the F4 HQ and the narrator has the balls to refer to his minivan on sled tracks as “the amazing vehicle” without a hint of irony. Magneto has temporarily forgotten that his vehicle can fly and is stuck in traffic. People start giving him strange looks which reminds him that he doesn’t have to take any of this shit. He’s big, strong boy who can make his own decisions like a motherfucking adult no matter what daddy says! MAGNETO IS A LAW UNTO HIMSELF! On a side note, considering that super-powered beings are running around, tearing shit up willy-nilly, regular people in this universe are stunningly ignorant of their existence. That is some government cover-up.

The scene finishes with Magneto finally arriving at the Baxter Building and parking in a *gasp* no parking zone! That’s the villainous act of the century! Truly he is the greatest criminal mastermind in existence! What will he do next? Petty vandalism? Oh shit! The very sight of that no parking sign offends him! Yeah, you throw that dirty sign to the ground Magneto. It totally had it coming what with it being present and all. But seriously, Magneto has the ability to tear the Earth in half if he wants to, and this is the best he can muster? It’s an absolute disgrace. I don’t know how the Fantastic Four dealt with him and I don’t even care. They probably just called the senior’s home and told them one of their patients escaped and wandered into a Value Village before knocking at their door in a state of confusion. Whatever the case, I’m sure it was embarrassing for everyone involved.

Bonus points to whoever can come up with an even worse adaptation of a great character.

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