Pop Culture Throwdown: Ian McKellen, Geek God (Round 3)

Hi there!  It’s been awhile, huh?  Let’s revive the Pop Culture Throwdown (again) with an old favorite.  We’ll be back next week with an all new series!

It's Only Bullets Pop Culture Throwdown

We don’t have a complementary Mancrush series here, but if we did, I’m pretty sure Sir Ian McKellen would make an appearance, especially because my taste in men tends to trend towards the more mature fellows.  (Except for Zac Efron.  I love Zac Efron.)

(And we’re totally the same age, so that makes it okay.)


I’m pretty sure we’ve already covered what a huge dork geek I am, but in case you missed it, let’s jump right into the deep end with our Ian McKellen geek-off.

Ian McKellen

We can debate levels of geekiness all day long (Star Trek > Star Wars, and no, this is not up for discussion, sorry), but today we’re going to pit Ian McKellen’s contributions to raging geek boners everywhere against each other.  Teenage boys and men who haven’t grown up yet, rejoice: today’s PCT finds fantasy facing off against comic books – a wizard versus a mutant, to be exact.

Unless you’ve successfully avoided any film-related news for the past 11 years, you must have heard of the X-Men and Lord of the Rings trilogies.  The X-Men trilogy brought in over $1 billion from 2000’s X-Men through 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy (or LOTR, as we like to call it) boasts an even more impressive haul of almost $3 billion worldwide in just 3 years (The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, The Two Towers in 2002, and The Return of the King in 2003).

Patrick Stewart is only in one of those movie franchises.

Both movies feature Ian McKellen in a prominent role – first as Magneto, the metal-controlling mutant and then as Gandalf, the pot-smoking wizard.

But which Ian McKellen do you like better?


I’m not sure if we’re supposed to like Magneto.  After all, he doesn’t like us non-mutants very much.  Unlike so many of the other players in the superhero universe, he’s not so much concerned about using his powers for good as he is about using his powers for whatever the fuck he wants to use them for.

Magneto is the leader of the Decepticons.  Oh wait, sorry, wrong franchise.  Magneto is the leader of the bad guys, the Brotherhood of Mutants.  They run/fly/teleport themselves around wreaking havoc and generally getting in the way of the X-Men. 

Magneto uses his powers to crush, harm, and generally destroy things in order to get his way.

And he’s creative, too!  Remember in X2: X-Men United, when Magneto pulled the iron out of the guard’s blood and then used it to make little bullets, kill the guard, and subsequently escape his metal-free prison?  Pretty crafty, if you ask me.

Magneto is also stylin’.  He’s got dapper good looks, loads of charm, a voice like honey, and a nice mane of sexy silver hair, and he can rock a cape like nobody’s business.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that he has a really, really cool helmet.  He’s kind of a badass, and even though I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to like him, I do.

Gandalf (the Grey / the White)

Gandalf the Grey is everyone’s favorite wizard (SORRY, Saruman, you lose!).  Sure, he’s kind of bedraggled looking and probably hasn’t showered, washed his robes, or had a proper haircut in like a thousand years or so, but he likes to drop by and smoke up with his friends, so how can you turn him down?  AND he brings fireworks!

Gandalf is also kind of a badass.  Remember when they’re passing through the Mines of Moria?  Remember when that a-hole Pippin wakes the Balrog?  Remember how Gandalf faces off against said Balrog, at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm?  (Remember when you spent fifteen minutes crying about it in the movie theatre?  Oh wait, that was just me?  Okay.)

When Gandalf (SPOILER ALERT FOR THE FIVE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT) returns as Gandalf the White, he’s washed and combed his hair – and, it appears, discovered a flatiron – as well as washed his clothes, and gotten quite the upgrade in the wizard stick department. 

He’s also more powerful and quite a bit more badass.  The Two Towers and The Return of the King see him leading the troops, engaging in battle, and bringing everyone together.  He even gets Agent Smith to send some of his elven friends over to Helm’s Deep to help out with the big showdown that’s brewing over there.  This guy can do it all.

So who will it be?  Magneto or Gandalf?  Bad guy or good guy?  Clean cut or hobo?  Helmet or stick?  Cast your vote below!

This entry was posted in Film, PCT, Pop Culture, Throwdowns. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Pop Culture Throwdown: Ian McKellen, Geek God (Round 3)

  1. James Conway says:

    Gandalf, can’t be beat..except by himself of course. My hat goes off to him for being the first man in history to make a white wizard look awesome, badass, and cool all wrapped into one.

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