Movie Name: X2: X-Men United
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre(s): Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure
Release Date(s): May 2, 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Magneto’s been imprisoned, but a new “evil” mutant’s assassination attempt on the President of the United States forces the X-Men to team up with Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his Brotherhood of Mutants to find out the reason for the attack before anti-mutant hysteria sweeps the country.
Directed by Bryan Singer, X2: X-Men United is a follow-up to the blockbuster superhero film X-Men from 2000. The film mostly received better reviews than its predecessor. With increased violence, X2 originally received an R-Rating but was cut down for a PG-13 rating.
One of the best comic book movies, X2 keeps it fast pace, corrects some of the clunkiness of the original X-Men movie, and provides a solid story with strong effects. Usually, with such a big cast, the story could be lost, but X2 keeps on track and really brings out the characterizations.
Wolverine’s “origin” comes into play and this is reflected and expanded upon in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Colonel William Stryker (Brian Cox) and Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) are good and eat up their scenes, and I wish they had been incorporated into X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was way too bogged down.
The cast seems to come together in this movie and Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) is a nice addition to the already expanded cast. The scenes at Xavier’s allows for cameos like Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Siryn (Shauna Kain), and the second incarnation of Kitty Pryde (Katie Stuart). Expanding the role of Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and the recast Pyro (Aaron Stanford) helped give Rogue (Anna Paquin) something to do and kind of set up a “New Mutants” feel from the comics. The scenes between Magneto’s mutants and the X-Men provides nice plot points, and some of the scenes in the woods (though a little slow) provide nice interaction and character building.
Visually, the movie also made some improvement. Putting characters in goofy costumes always is a challenge, and superhero movies often have to make the audience go with it. X2 is a great example of this with very uncomfortable costumes…but they still improved over the first outing.
X2 is a comic book movie, but it feels less episodic than the first X-Men movie. Loaded with cameos by tons of mutants, X2 is a must for fans of comic or even the cartoon series. The movie also establishes the course of the sequel with hints that Dark Phoenix was coming (though the sequel didn’t live up to the standards set by this film). X2: X-Men United was followed by X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006.