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X2: X-Men United

Director Bryan Singer's 2003 sequel to the original "X-Men" film.

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X Marks the Spot this Summer.

  • May 3, 2003
  • by
Pros: Some Great FX and Some funny moments

Cons: Plot holes, supporting characters and Patrick Stewart are not given enough to do.

The Bottom Line: A good summer diversion that with a little more attention could have been a classic.

The 2003 summer movie season is upon us with the release of X2 the highly anticipated follow up the 150 Million plus grossing “X-Men”. The film continues the story of a band of genetic mutants known as The X-Men who find themselves battling a fearful and mistrusting society as well as fellow mutants for better understanding of their kind as well as their very survival.

Based on the hit Marvel comic series, the film directed by Bryan Singer, “X2” revolves around an attempt by Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox), to eliminate the mutant threat by invading the training school and home of the X-Men and their leader Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). This direct attack on the mutants adds fuel to the fire as Charles’s old friend yet recent enemy Magneto (Ian McKellen), now has proof to his long standing theory that mutants must fight the humans for survival. Until now, Xavier has always believed that humans and mutants could co-exist in peace and has trained his students in this philosophy as well as the enhancement of their talents. Magneto has always believed that mutants must fight to survive, and that humans are inferior and has surrounded himself with followers who share this belief. Naturally this conflict of interest has lead to skirmishes between the two sides as well as an increased fear of mutants from a human population caught in the crossfire. As if the attack on the academy was not enough to complicate the lives of the X-Men, Magneto has escaped from his high security prison and a mutant assassin has made an attempt on the life of the President making a tense situation even more volatile as fear and paranoia regarding mutants is now at an all time high.

Faced with a battle on several fronts, the X-Men join forces with Magneto’s troops in a reluctant alliance that is necessary for the survival of their kind as well as for the very human race.
What follows is a dazzling mix of special effects and action as the two sides battle Stryker’s legions and each other with the very real threat of genocide hanging in the balance.

There are some fine performances in the film especially those of Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as the shape shifting Mystique and that of Alan Cumming as the Bible quoting teleporter Nightshade. The two characters add energy and humor to their roles that makes them stand out from the majority of the cast save Hugh Jackman’s standout performance as Wolverine.

This is a much more serious X-Men than the last adventure as people are killed along the way upping the violence from the traditional comic book style yet none of it is overly explicit. My biggest gripe with the film was that there were several long gapes in the film where little was happening and that talents such as Hale Berry, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, and Ian McKellen were not given much to do with the screen time they had. There were flashes of great moments such as Roque (Ana Paquin), confronting Magneto for the first time since he tried to kill her in the last film, and a bizarre love triangle involving Wolverine that has to be seen to be believed, yet as a whole, “X2” left me wanting more. I know with so many characters in the story it would be difficult to develop them all, and “X2” does a nice job expanding on the roles of some of the smaller characters from the comic and past film, yet it simply does not add up. I think that with a tighter script and more attention to the details this film would have been truly great. That being said, “X2” is an entertaining summer film that should delight fans of the past film and the comic. If you can get by a few plot holes, then you might find yourself having a good time.

3 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach
International Association of Film Critics



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More X2: X-Men United reviews
review by . December 12, 2010
Stephanie's Favourite Films: X2: X-Men United      I love comic book movies (well, most of them), and I thought i would show my love for them by reviewing my favourite installation of my favourite film series, X2: X-Men United. This is a great comic book film that benefits from many things, including it's great special effects, well-told story, and great ensemble cast. As much as I like the first one, this is definitely a step up, and in following, X-Men 3 was a big …
Quick Tip by . August 05, 2010
Takes a little too long to get where it's going and could use an edit as well as more screen time for some of it's characters but the story isn't bad and what is here is good.
review by . May 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
From the opening sequence, I knew this was going to be even better than the original X-Men. I loved the combination of Nightcrawler's attack on the White House with classical music. With Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, this film has all of the great acting and special effects of the first, plus new characters such as Inferno and Brian Cox as the mad scientist. Highly recommended.
review by . February 02, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"X-2" picks up solidly where the original flick ended. Unlike most reviewers, I didn't think this film was any better than the first. I do believe that it is a good film in its own right. The first sequence, the attack on the White House, is by far the best sequence of the movie. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite X-men growing up. I also enjoyed the fact that they included his deep Catholic faith. The comic actually toyed with this character becoming a priest.   Overall, the action sequences …
review by . May 19, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Halle Berry, Rebecca Romaijn-Stamos and Kelly Hu are all in it     Cons: They don't get to do a whole lot     The Bottom Line: X-men. Still protecting us from evil mutants.     Whenever I think about a comic which got everything right, X-men immediately pops to mind. X-men is one of the better creations to come from the mind of comic legend Stan Lee, and there is no comic I could relate to better. X-men perfectly captures society’s …
review by . May 16, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: If you're into action and awesome effects, this one is for you!     Cons: Sometimes you wish you'd read the comics.     The Bottom Line: X2...let's just say it's too bad special effects weren't available a long time ago.     What can I say? This is a great movie with some of the best special effects I have ever seen - even better than the first one.      The movie starts up where the first left off, progressing …
review by . May 03, 2003
Pros: acting, characters, political, deep, special effects     Cons: Night Crawler, a bit confusing, maybe tried to do too much     The Bottom Line: I want to be the Bottom Line. It can morph into any form and even imitate the voice. The Bottom Line is hot.     I rarely go to see the same movie twice in the cinema. But, X2 was so phenomenal that I would see it again. In fact, I would have stayed in the theater and watched it again immediately. …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #38
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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X2: X-MEN UNITED, the remarkable sequel to X-MEN, picks up shortly after the first film's finale. At the White House, a would-be assassin--the acrobatic, teleporting blue mutant Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming)--menaces the president. Meanwhile, in the Canadian Rockies, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) searches for answers to his mysterious past at the top-secret facility where he received his metallic skeleton and claws. Back at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Storm (Halle Berry) instruct students Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and Pyro (Aaron Stanford), while Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Cyclops (James Marsden) pay a visit to the imprisoned Magneto (Ian McKellen). However, Magneto has a secret weapon in the shape-shifting Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos). Soon allies and enemies alike will unite to defeat the hate-filled military scientist William Stryker (Brian Cox), who wants to rid the world of mutants. When Stryker launches a ruthless two-pronged atta...
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