The ROLO Factor Marvel's 1st Silver-Screen Interracial Romance? ********************************************************** An Essay By Dark Lightning AKA Lightning Strikez! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men in the early 1960s, when the African-American civil rights movement was prominent in the news. Interestingly enough, both Stan and Jack are Jewish-Americans; consciously or unconsciously, perhaps they were really aiming at anti-Semitism. Decades later, it was Chris Claremont who established that Magneto, as a child, had been imprisoned at the Auschwitz Nazi Concentration Camps. The point? From the very beginning, Marvel Comics, and more specifically the X-Men, have continued to explore the differences between peoples and cultures, and to break down those barriers. In fact, it is a well-known fact that the antagonism spewed towards mutants in the X-Men comics is actually a metaphor for racism. So perhaps it is apropros that X-Men 3 will push the envelope further with the ROLO Factor. For those of you who are not acquainted with the terminology, ROLO stands for the romantic relationship between Ororo Munroe (Storm) and Logan (Wolverine). Some have already labeled this aspect of X3's plot as another "controversial Thom Rothman antic" but if people actually did their homework,they'd find that the two characters have been involved for years in the comic book cannon. Even now, in both the Ultimate and Uncanny X-Men series the two characters are once again fooling around. However, I sense that FOX putting these two together in this film is about more than just being controversial. And it's probably bigger than the source material too. I think they are doing it for cinematic purposes. If fleshed out well, this relationship could really bring something special to X3 for several reasons. Let's discuss some of them: 1.) Closure For Logan: Let's face it, at some point the feral Wolverine would have to move on with his life in the wake of Jean Grey's death. The most logical choice would be the team's beautiful second-in-command. But since X3 will revolve around Dark Phoenix, the ROLO factor coooould also pose some interesting struggles within Logan once the fire goddess arises from Alkali Lake. Much will hinge on if Jean will simply return as herself with increased abilities, or as a maniac driven by lunacy and a thirst for power. 2.) Better Utilization Of Halle Berry: For both Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry the ROLO factor could bring another dimension to their characters. In my opinion, Halle will benefit the most. After standing in as the SFX coordinator for the last two films , it will be good to finally see Storm being a WOMAN with an emotional attachment to someone. And despite the vitriol some fanboys spit at the actress, many will agree that her heaviest gravitas lie in her dramatic portrayals. As demonstrated in Monster's Ball, Queen, The Dorothy Dandridge Story and her recent Their Eyes Were Watching God, Halle seems to excel best when in her own comfort zone--drama. While her turn in action films i.e. 007 and Catwoman have been met with mixed results, if Brett Ratner and his writers can give her some real meat on the character development end, she should shine here. 3.) A New Dimension For Hugh Jackman: The ROLO Factor will also give Hugh a nice departure from the slice-em-dice-em deal he's been stuck with so far in this saga. Hugh does well with romantic comedy as shown in his hit films Kate & Leopold and Someone Like You. But so far, his action films like Van Helsing and the X-Men series haven't really given him a chance to fully integrate the romantic element. We actually got a brief glimpse of the sexual side of Logan in X2 (with Jean and Mystique), but it will be interesting to see this side of the character really fleshed out this time around. 4.)Chemistry: The ROLO factor might bring a great opportunity for the actors involved--but not only on an individualized level. As a pair, Halle and Hugh seem to have an electric chemistry on screen, as shown in Swordfish. Chemistry between the actors is key, especially in this genre where films generally focus on SFX and action. Chemistry lacks to a large extent between Famke and James Marsden, and while it sizzles between Rebecca Romijn and Hugh--it's also very restricted. We can't have a repeat performance here with Storm and Logan. Halle and Hugh are arguably this film's biggest stars so if it's done right it's sure to raise the bar on comic book movies' love stories. 5.)Comicdom's 1st Silver-Screen Interracial Love Story: As noted above, we've enjoyed watching the love stories develop between Peter and Mary Jane, Reed and Susan, Bobby and Rogue and Scott and Jean--but we've never seen a high profile interracial love story in any comic book film (unless you count whatever Vivica A. Fox had going on with Mr. Freeze in 1997's deplorable Batman & Robin. *rolls eyes and lifts fist in wretched motions* Having Marvel's first black heroine involved with its ultimate Bad-Ass will be a treat, and the plot will also keep in line with X-Men's legacy: Breaking down cultural, sexual and racial barriers. ********************************************************** To my fellow Hypesters: What do you think of the ROLO factor? Will it hurt or help X3? Will Logan's passion for Jean resurface? Will Storm's relationship with Logan be purely a sexual one, or will it have some depth as it does in the comics?