Xmen 2

by Obsidian

Over the past decade or so, movie properties based on comic books have become one of the hottest things going. Some of us have been reading comics long enough to remember when we could only hope that some of these great characters would ever be brought to life on the big screen. In the summer of 2000, filmgoers all over the world were finally introduced to one of my personal favorite groups, The X-Men.

The first film was successful enough to warrant a sequel; X2 picks up shortly after the original film left off. We’re never quite told exactly how much time has passed, my guess would be six months to possibly a year – but it doesn’t really matter. The time only serves to make some adjustments to relationships from the first film, and allows for the addition of some new characters as well. For the most part the original cast of heroes and villains are all present, barring Sabretooth and Toad. They’re not missed, nor even addressed, which works out just fine because they would only serve to get in the way of the story at hand. This time out, the menace is not Magneto or his plan to conquer mankind, but rather mankind itself. US military General William Stryker, played excellently by Brian Cox, has kidnapped Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), with the ultimate goal being the destruction of all mutantkind. Acting against the President’s orders, he also invades Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngters, scattering the young mutants and to give away much more of the story would ruin it, but there are some great cameos and some very nice twists.

The scriptwriters did a good job with such a large cast, and most of the characters new and old all get a moment to shine. We finally get to see Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) unleashed, and the you-knew-it-was-coming battle with Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) is beautifully done. I was a little shocked that Kelly Hu’s character has absolutely NO lines in the film, but she carries such an air of poise and assuredness onscreen that she carries it off perfectly. I was also upset that Cyclops (James Marsden) got even less screen time than in the first film, but surprisingly what little time he is given is used to great effect. Jean Grey (Famke Jannsen), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), Pyro (Aaron Stanford), Magneto (Sir Ian McKellan), Storm (Halle Berry) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) — I don’t think I left anyone out — all help further the action while garnering some individual character development in the process.

For old-time comic readers there are some fun cameos, and they will likely recognize some of the story elements being used. The writers are obviously gearing up for a third film, and there are small hints as to what the story will be about. People without knowledge of the early X-Men comic stories may find these foreshadowing elements a little strange, but trust me…it will all be worth it. That is of course, providing that the script for the next film actually uses them to good effect.

So what’s the final verdict? X2 is a pretty damn entertaining action movie, even better than the first one. It’s got cool characters with swanky powers, great special effects, a good story and solid acting throughout from a venerable cast. There is definitely a human element here; it is refreshing to see more than just the action, but what happens to the characters during the downtime and aftermath as well. A few things might surprise fans of the first movie, but people coming in cold to the X-Men movie universe should be able to enjoy the film too. The subject matter is dark and gritty, and it is far more violent than the first film, which was a nice change in my opinion. Go see it if you haven’t already.

  • Xmen 2
  • by Obsidian
  • Published on June 1st, 2003
Xmen 2
Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry..
4/5 Stars

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