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X2: X-Men United

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

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X2: X-Men United

  • May 2, 2011
  • by
Like I said in my review of Spiderman 2, comic book movies often have no problems when it comes to their sequels. In fact, the majority of comic-book movie sequels surpass the qualiy of their predecessors, this one included. This film took upon the huge task of surpassing the first film and it did just that, taking everything that made the first film great and capitalizing on it, giving the viewers more of what they like. It also takes on the herculean task (like the first film did) of being thoughtful without being boring and entertaining without being dumb. This was the best comic book movie ever made for a while and it still remains as my favourite Marvel film.

X-Men 2 delivers on all the normal sequel goods. It's bigger, louder, and the consequences of the danger are much more severe. However, it still manages to be better than the first. The story starts off with a teleporting mutant named Kurt Wagner (AKA Nightcrawler, played by Alan Cumming) trying to kill the president, which sets off a string of events that puts the entire future of their species at risk. To be a bit more specific, William Stryker (Brian Cox) leads an attack on the school to get Cerebro, or enough of it to build one. For those of you who are terribly confused and don't know what Cerebro is, it's a machine that lets Professor X track down mutants and if he was forced to concentrate hard enough, he could kill them all. The professor is promptly kidnapped and this plan is put into action, and the good and bad side of mutants have to team together to stop the plan and save all of their lives.

Brian Singer proves again that he is a godsend to the X-Men franchise, and unfortunately, this is the last X-Men film he ever did. The characters are well-developed, and new characters are introduced while still taking time to develop the old ones. The origins of Wolverine are further explored, and some may not like that, but I don't mind. Jean and Cyclops' marriage accompanied with her growing affections for Wolverine is also explored a bit and his grief after the end of the movie (which I won't give away) is very real. Another great scene I can think of, and easily the funniest one (in a dark sort of way), is when Magneto breaks free of his plastic prison. I absolutely adore the new character of Nightcrawler as well, and he is very well-developed. He didn't mean to attack the president, and he's a kindly religious German mutant and a very likeable character.

Another great scene is around the middle of the movie when Bobby (Shawn Ashmore, a minor character in the first film) tells his parents that he's a mutant. It reminded me of a teenager coming out to his parents, except instead of telling his parents that he's gay, he tells them that he's a mutant. His mother's callous remarks (Have you tried...not being a mutant?) and mention of the mutant "problem" just made me sympathize with Bobby all the much more and turned him into a major player as opposed to a minor character I never really cared about. I really like all of these characters and Brian Singer does a great job of developing them further. It's too bad that Brett Ratner threw that away in the third film, but moving on.

The film has a great ensemble cast as always, and the Sirs deliver great leadership with their splendid performances as Professor X and Magneto. Hugh, Halle, James (for the short time he was in the movie) and Famke are great as well. Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmore actually improve on their performances in the first film, and the new addition of Aaron Sanford as Pyro (an auxiliary villain in the third film) is terrific. Plus, there's the Blue mutants, Mystique and Nightcrawler, and they are both played wonderfully.

The film also has a more dangerous human villain. If you thought Senator Kelly was an ass, then you'll really hate this guy. William Stryker is played wonderfully by Brian Cox as a ruthless madman who will kill mutant children to get what he wants and doesn't care about wiping out an entire species of people. He hates Professor Xavier and uses him as a pawn to wipe out mutantkind just because Xavier couldn't "cure" his son and his son, resenting his parents, drove Mrs. Stryker to commit suicide. The difference between the first film and this one is that Magneto technically is not a villain in this one, because he has to put his differing ideals aside and band together with the X-Men to save his entire species.

The artistic elements, namely the special effects and the art direction, of the film were fantastic, and the special effects definitely improved from the first film. The design and duality of the school is still the same and the set design for the dam at Alkali Lake was brilliantly done. Again, the film was decently written, but nothing really spectacular stands out in my mind outside a few quips. There isn't really much else to say about the film as a whole, so I'm going to wrap this up. X-Men 2 is nothing short of extraordinary and is one of the best superhero films ever made. The thinking man's superhero film (before The Dark Knight) and also one of the best endings I've ever seen. So, if you liked the first film, you'll like this one. If you haven't seen the first one, then check it out and rent this one as well. They certainly make for a great marathon.

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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: 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 …
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. …
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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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