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cheek by jowl

The Similarities Between X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds

X-Men: First Class, the reboot of the blockbuster mutant franchise, arrives in theaters today. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy take on the roles of Magneto and Professor Xavier when they were young, discovering other mutants, establishing their philosophical differences, and wearing swank sixties threads. Fassbender, in particular, isn't just putting a new spin on a role others have played (others being Ian McKellen, in the earlier X-Men films), he's putting a new spin on a role he's played: Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr has an awful lot in common with the extremely debonair film critic Lieutenant Archie Hicox, Fassbender's scene-stealing part in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, down to their globe-trotting, facility with languages, affinity for bar standoffs, and general Fassbender-y swagger. The similarities between these two roles aren't the only things that X-Men: First Class and Inglorious Basterds have in common. They also share similar premises (ostracized minorities hunting down Nazis), similar characters (the scenery-chewing German, the woman hiding in plain sight, etc.), and even a similar energy for exploring the ways to inflict violence on a forehead with swastikas. So, herewith, fourteen things that can be found in both X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds, and we're not even including a pretty fun time at the movie theater. (We went as light on the spoilers as possible, but inevitably, spoiler alert.)

  Inglourious Basterds X-Men: First Class
Basic Premise Members of a discriminated-against minority form a fearsome team to take on Nazis. Members of a discriminated-against minority form a fearsome team to take on former Nazi.
Team Members' Nicknames The Bear Jew, the Jew Hunter Magneto, Professor X, Mystique, Havok, Banshee, etc.
Historical Liberties Film imagines a past in which Hitler and Goebbels are assassinated at a movie theater. Film imagines a past in which the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved by a band of mutants.
Prologue Jewish girl watches her family die at the hands of the Nazis. Jewish boy watches his mother die at the hands of the Nazis.
Traumatized Jewish Child Grows Up to Be ... Very attractive person (Mélanie Laurent) hell-bent on revenge and aided by a goy (Lieutenant Aldo Raine) Very attractive person (Michael Fassbender) hell-bent on revenge and aided by a goy (Charles Xavier)
Female Character Who Hides True Identity in Plain Sight Shoshana Dreyfus, hides Jewishness Raven Darkholme, a.k.a. Mystique, hides blueness
Character Who Has Trouble Controlling Violent Tendencies Sergeant Donny Donowitz Havok
Scenery-Chewing German Speaker Christoph Waltz's Colonel Hans Landa Kevin Bacon's Sebastian Shaw
Dangerous Blonde Seductress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) Emma Frost (the totally affect-less January Jones)
Character Who Is a Threatening, Suave Polyglot Played by Michael Fassbender Lieutenant Archie Hicox, who speaks two languages (English, German) Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto, who speaks four languages (English, German, French, Spanish)
Threatening, Suave Polyglot Played by Fassbender Finds Himself ... In a tense bar fight in a foreign county involving beer, Germans, and death. In a tense bar fight in a foreign county involving beer, Germans, and death.
Oft-Repeated Refrain "That's a bingo." "Mutant. And proud."
Actor With Surprisingly Small Role Mike Myers Oliver Platt
Are There Acts of Revenge That Involve Foreheads, Swastikas, and Blood? Yes. Yes.