“Mutants. Since the discovery of their existence they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, often hatred. Across the planet, debate rages. Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity fighting for their share of the world? Either way it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute” – Professor Charles Xavier
X2: X-Men United is the sequel to the 2000 commercial success, X-Men (click here to see my review for that). This takes place soon after the first ended with Xavier and the rest of his school falling back into a normal routine, just as a new threat emerges for Mutantkind when a Mutant assassin attacks the president, sending the nation into a panic that has serious ramifications that threaten to eliminate all Mutants.
As you’ll note in my previous review, my primary issue with this film’s predecessor was the poor writing at parts which gave the film a ‘cheesy’ feel. I’m happy to say that those involved with this film’s production must have picked up on that, since they have fixed it in X2. The dialogue is actually quite witty at times, making it feel like a more mature film than the first. This is probably the reason I HATED this movie when it was released; being in 3rd grade, I didn’t understand most of it. This is a movie geared more for a somewhat older audience than the first, which I found to be a very welcome change.
Another point I made with X-Men was that it never really felt like the ensemble film it was supposed to be, but focused on the main selling point of the film: Wolverine. While I’d be lying if I said that he didn’t feel like the star of this movie, other characters definitely get their chances. What I really liked about this movie was the different arcs that each character was given, making him or her feel more relevant. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) was looking into his past, Jean (Famke Janssen) was losing control of her powers, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Rogue (Anna Paquin) were dating, and the list goes on. These arcs made me care about these characters, even when they weren’t on screen because they had their own stuff going on, unlike in the first movie where everyone except Wolverine and Rogue were focused on the same thing. In addition to having their own arcs, most main characters even get at least one fight sequence in which he or she shows off his or her power, with some characters getting multiple moments This was another welcome improvement which made me appreciate the X-Men as a team rather than a crew that followed Wolverine around while watching him fight baddies.
A few new characters are introduced in this film, two of whom blew me away and are definitely worth mentioning. The first is Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), a Mutant with the ability to teleport. Cumming was great in the role and portrayed Nightcrawler as funny, powerful, and even a bit haunted. His segments with Storm (Halle Berry) were great and could even be considered highlights of the film. I only wish he could have stuck around for the next installment (more on that later). The other character worth mentioning is William Stryker (Brian Cox), who plays a more sadistic and chilling villain than Magneto (Ian McKellan). The man is methodical and his plan, while less preposterous than Magneto’s in the first film, is capable of causing lasting repercussions for everyone.
The fights in this movie are fantastic and one especially caught my eye. This is the fight between Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) and Wolverine. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it is easily my favorite fight in this trilogy, even though I wish I could have seen more of Deathstrike in action. The other fights are about what you’d expect after seeing the first film, which is great. The visuals in this film, like its predecessor, are a bit dated now, but since this was made in 2003, this is to be expected.
The only gripe I have with this movie is that, again, I hate the way Cyclops (James Marsden) is portrayed. I find him to be irritating i and he just seems to be there because he has to be.
THE VERDICT: The CLASSIC Award
Going into this movie, I didn’t think there was any way it could get higher than DVD Worthy from me, but it impressed me so much. I literally found so few flaws in this that I can’t deny that it might just be one of my favorite comic book movies ever. The writers improved what they could and gave us a more fulfilling movie than the last, which is saying a lot. I respect that, and I can promise you I will be watching X2 again soon.
What did you think of X2: X-Men United? About my review? Comment below or send me an email to let me know. As always thank you for reading and make sure to check out some of my other reviews and to come back soon for my review of X-Men: The Last Stand (AKA X-Men 3).