Lessons from X-Men

Have you seen the X-Men movie? The first live-action one. I remember watching it and thinking, wow, it's a classic hero's journey. I immediately went and examined the script. I was lucky in that I found a copy of the original screenplay which is why I was able to analyze the changes that were made in the story line to make it follow the hero's journey.

Originally the story was a pretty good action-adventure story with some interesting characters that meet and work together for the greater good. But someone decided to make some crucial changes which altered Logan/Wolverine's journey into one which is much more admirable and emotionally gut wrenching. A hero's journey that is executed well will tug on those emotional strings whether it's to make you laugh, cry, cheer, boo, etc. You will walk out of the theater with some sort of emotional reaction.

The one element that was changed for the final version was Rogue and Logan's relationship. Rogue is who pull's Logan into this world, because even though he's the reluctant hero he must defend the innocent. The entire movie is basically wrapped around that premise and his promise to Rogue to protect her. She's a teenage girl and he's an older/wiser/stronger man. They could have gone with romantic love with this relationship and I admit I was expecting it at first. But they didn't. They went with the element from the hero's journey of courtly love or pure love. This choice made their dynamic much stronger and the story more powerful.

As a romance writer I tend to think in terms of romantic love, but I need reminders of the strength of other types of love that can make a story stronger whether it's friend love, buddy love, or pure love.

X-Men hits many other hero's journey points and I recommend you check it out with the hero's journey checklist in front of you to see how it all interweaves together, but in particular look how they set up Rogue and Logan's relationship (the driving force for the entire movie).

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