Sir Ian McKellen has made no secret of that fact that he thinks of all the superhero films out there, it's the X-Men that are "superior" to all other stories. When you're one of the most highly-respected actors working in the industry today, and, at age 75, can say you've been both Magneto and Gandalf, Sherlock Holmes and multiple Shakespearean kings, you've earned the right to speak your mind. Bluntly.
In a new interview with Uproxx in which McKellen was in full no-f*cks-given mode, the venerable actor explained what it was that kept him coming back to the X-Men franchise again and again. In doing so, made his distaste for Superman - and his underwear - known:
Well, [director Bryan Singer] persuaded me. X-Men was about something. Superman isn’t really about anything. It’s a joke. The nerd changes his underpants and becomes a Superman. That’s James Bond: “Shaken, not stirred,” silly, stupid, British twit… and then, Action Man! But X-Men is about the problems of being a mutant. And we’ve all felt we’re mutants on occasion. So, that was the hook for me. And don’t forget, I didn’t have to sign to do any more than one; I’m just doing a movie.
Major Shade Mode: Unlocked.
Still, the actor isn't entirely wrong in what the X-Men stand for. The X-Men are an allegory for gay oppression for our times, and both director Bryan Singer and First Class writer Zack Stentz have confirmed that the movies have intentionally paralleled the struggle. So it's understandable that the story of the X-Men would have the most meaning for the openly gay McKellen, who was first closeted and then came out in a time in which it was far more dangerous to do so publicly.
And even if you're a huge Superman fan, you have to appreciate the legend that is McKellen. In a time in which so many actors and actresses are afraid to say what's really on their mind, McKellen ups the candidness of Hollywood. Tell us how you really feel, Magneto.