Summary of X-Men: First Class:
Magneto: My childhood was in a concentration camp. My dad died off-screen, either in a gas chamber, or maybe he was one of those guys who had to carry people out of gas chambers after they were dead and throw them into mass graves and then the Nazis threw him on top of the pile and shot him. My mom was shot in front of me because I couldn't move a coin and then Nazi Kevin Bacon tortured me for the rest of the war.
Professor X: I am a child of privilege. Nothing ever goes wrong in my life except that my mom does not make me hot cocoa. My parents are so cool they let me take random orphans in and raise them as their own if I say it's cool. Remember that I am the good guy.
Magneto: I am going to spent my early adulthood hunting down unrepentant Nazis and killing them because they can never be brought to justice in any other fashion. Like the Mossad, only I don't have a government training me, backing me, and paying me.
Professor X: I use my mutant powers to hit on women. My only concern is getting tenure and since I can control other people I'm not that worried about it. Don't forget I am the good guy.
Nazi Kevin Bacon: I am in this movie to make playing Six Degrees incredibly easy. Also, I am a mutant with the power to blow up the world, which I intend to do.
US Government: Let's find all mutants, put them in a special location, and periodically make fun of them, occasionally hinting at something more sinister.
Professor X: I am OK with this.
Magneto: I am not stupid enough to be OK with this, but I will hang around because Kevin Bacon is REALLY hard to find, and also I am fucking Professor X. Seriously, we cannot make it more obvious in this movie without an explicit love scene rivaling Brokeback Mountain.
Other Mutants: We are mostly here for show. Some of us you don't even remember from the comics.
Wolverine: I am too cool to be in this movie.
Professor X: Magneto, don't kill Nazi Kevin Bacon. It's wrong.
Magneto: In principle, yes, killing is wrong, but this is more like the death penalty for the most deserving guy on earth. He's not Hitler, but he's trying to be and he's more likely to succeed.
Professor X: I disagree with you and I am the good guy for doing so. Also you would be a bad person if you killed him.
Magneto: I am already a bad person! I killed like a dozen guys before we ever met! This is just the last guy on my list, and he deserves it, and it will prevent a nuclear holocaust, and having been through one Holocaust I think I have the moral authority to say there shouldn't be another.
Professor X: I have faith in humanity.
Humanity: Fuck you, mutant. Have some missiles!
Magneto: I am going to save you now, but I have given up on humanity, as humanity has tried to kill me twice. Just fuck it. OK. Fuck it. Fuck the world.
Professor X: They were just following orders.
Magneto: It is taking every bone in my body not to freak out at you using that line on me of all people. You are a horrible person. Seriously. What the fuck. Maybe we should kill those guys who want to exterminate our entire race.
Professor X: That's a bad attitude. You are a bad guy.
Magneto: I just killed a Nazi and solved the Cuban Missile Crisis. I'm the good guy! Get your hand off the side of your face and SHUT THE FUCK UP.
Professor X: I will wheel away in a morally superior fashion, because I am the good guy, and my mutants are the good guys. Your mutants, the ones who believe in not hiding their identities and waiting on their asses for humanity to accept us, are the bad guys. I'm glad we've established that.
Audience: Is it me or is Magneto the good guy?
All kidding aside, this movie brought back all the moral ambiguity that makes X-Men so great. Parts of it were stupid and the Holocaust scenes were not handled in a great fashion, but it was a great movie. Coincidentally, one of the previews before the movie was for a movie with Helen Mirran about Mossad agents who kill Nazis in the 1960's and then have to deal with the moral complexities when they are old.
I'm kinda glad they didn't play up that Magneto was Jewish (or ever mention it), but man was this movie about Israel. That's what Mossad agents did, kill Nazis. There was no incompetent and unreliable International Crimes Court to bring them to. The Nazis weren't repentant. They were going to live out their lives on beaches in Argentina after slaughtering millions of people, and the State of Israel said, "Fuck that" and did something about it. yes, the State of Israel has some issues from the fact that it was born of blood (of the Holocaust, the terrorist war with British Palestine, and the War of Independence with basically everyone around them), but life is like that sometimes. Bad people have to die.
I am against the death penalty in America. I am for the Jewish death penalty, but I do not know of any cases where it would apply to anyone currently sentenced to die in the US. The Jewish law death penalty, as laid out very clearly in Rabbinic text, applies as follows:
(1) The person who committed the capital crime must have been warned in front of two (male) witnesses, themselves of good moral standing and intelligence, that he was going to commit a capital crime and that he shouldn't do it. And he should be warned 3 times.
(2) The two witnesses (or two alternate witnesses who also fit the profile, so not his accomplices or people uninformed in the law) would also have to witness the crime being committed and then testify as such.
If such a situation does not occur, the person who committed the crime - even if it's proven - is not sentenced to death, but an alternative like exile or imprisonment. But, if all the terms are met, the person really has to die. They had their chance. Some people, Jewish law makes clear, do not need to be on the earth anymore, and the keepers of the law have the moral authority to execute them. (In Mishnaic times they were stoned, strangled, set on fire, or had their heads cut off, depending on the crime)
The law gets trickier when you get into situations with preventative killing, which modern rabbis say is sometimes necessary to prevent death. This was much easier to determine when people used swords and not nuclear weapons. And theoretically a court of law should be involved, but life is filled with situations where there are no courts of law.
A good example is Gaddaffi. It's clear that this guy needs to die or be imprisoned for the rest of his life. Imprisoned would be OK, because he doesn't have superpowers to bust out like Nazi Kevin Bacon, but he'd obviously rather be martyred, and take everyone around him with him. But he's a Head of State, so we can't shoot him in the head. NATO is getting closer and closer to doing that, which is why Gaddaffi is spending his nights hiding in hospitals and other places NATO won't bomb. Anti-death penalty people would say, "You should capture him and send him to the ICC so he can be tried in a court and if found guilty, punished according to the law," but exactly how many Libyans and foreign mercenaries do we have to kill to get him there? Because it seems like a lot. Thousands already and we're not even at the end game yet. Someone in Libya probably died as result of the Gaddaffi regime while I wrote this post. But they're not Heads of State, so they don't matter as much. Rabbinic law didn't deal with Roman legionaries who surrounded themselves with human shields and sniped civilians. If it did, I think the Rabbis would say, "Fuck that guy." Just like Magneto.