X2: X-Men United (2003) Poster

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After Watching This, Roll On X-Men 3
Big Movie Fan5 May 2003
Absolutely happy! That is the only word I can use to describe my feelings after spending my hard-earned money to see X-Men 2. It was worth every penny.

Firstly, the makers of superhero films such as this have an unenviable task. They have to please hardcore comic fans and casual movie fans which is no easy task. And The X-Men-with their forty years of history and continuity-are perhaps the hardest heroes to put on the big screen. Well, I've spoken to many hardcore X-fans and casual movie fans and they all enjoyed it too.

I won't go into great detail about the plot. Let's just say that The X-Men and their enemy Magneto have to join forces to combat an even bigger threat. I enjoyed this movie so much because for the first time in years, I didn't read ANYTHING about the plot or any reviews prior to viewing it. That is why I'm not going to go into great detail about the plot. Just enjoy it.

All the favourites are back including my personal favourite Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (I hope Wolverine gets his own movie franchise one day). The makers of this movie have done a great job in making sure various characters get the right amount of screen time. We'd all love our favourites to get more screentime but with so many X-Men (and women), the producers have to do the best they can; and they do indeed.

There are a few really great special effects in this movie but unlike some special effects laden movies, the plot is more important in this movie. Furthermore, the movie is much deeper and really makes you think. Marvel comics (and movies) have always been deep and many of the issues have reflected real life. This movie is about persecution and intolerance of mutants and reflects many issues from the past and the present such as Hitler's treatment of the Jews and the different ideologies of Martin Luthor King and Malcom X. In fact, many longtime X-fans have compared the X-Men's Professor X to Martin Luthor King and the evil Magneto to Malcom X. Seeing a movie like this cannot only provide a couple of hours of entertainment but make you view society in a totally different way.

This is the best superhero film since the 70's (when we saw gems such as Superman The Movie) and the 80's (when we saw Tim Burton's Batman). It was a fantastic film but it begs one question-how are they ever going to top this?
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why all the underrating?
suicidea8 January 2004
A lot has been said about this movie, as is the case with many recent Hollywood comics adaptations. While I truly respect everyone's opinion, I really don't see the point in some criticisms brought up against this movie.

(Definitely NO spoilers ahead.)

First of all, we must realize that X-men comics have been around for decades. They existed before many of you were born. Still, the producers had to assume that the average audience had little or no idea about the mutant phenomenon, but Bryan singer did a very good job (as always) in the first film, and introduced the audience. Besides, adapting such a story with so many characters to the screen is no easy job, and is also risky, considering it's Hollywood and it must return all those millions. So the mutant phenomenon was well explained, the characters and their abilities introduced, and the plot (which actually had a story, unlike many action flicks) was carried out smoothly. All in the running time of one film. good job.

The second film, however, had to concentrate (naturally) on more characters and a more thorough story. This is why I object (in the title) to people criticising this film for "lack of character development" etc. Many of the characters WERE developed in the first film. If you never read x-men comics, and did not even see the first movie, and see this one right away and still expect the director/writer to spell things out for you, well, you'll be disappointed. "Where did Colossus take the kids during the attack?" someone asked. To hide them somewhere, THAT'S where he took them. I don't think people would like to see the director spell out everything, such as Colossus' inner voice saying, "Well, let me take these kids somewhere beneath this multimillion dollar facility, to hide them from the bad guys."

And the newly-introduced characters were introduced well enough. You see their abilities, you see whose side they're on, you even learn more about their personalities as the movie progresses. What else do you need to learn? Which team he supports?

The highlight of the film was definitely Mystique's transformation scenes, very well done.

The movie had many shortcomings, of course, the pace slowed down more than once, some main characters, especially Cyclops, were almost lost, but the plusses were way more than minuses. Especially Nightcrawler, who almost stole the lead from Wolverine. I must also add that Wolverine is much more violent in this film than the first, much more like the original comic character.

As for the people who complain about the abundance of characters. Well, bad news for you. X-men is not a story of a couple of guys and their girlfriends. There are much more characters, hopefully to be seen in the next sequel(s). Jubilee, Pyro and Colossus were all hinted in this one. Though I'm eager to see Gambit also, I can't wait to see how they will do the Beast. Of course, I can see the "no character development" people asking each other, "Who is Beast?"

In short, this movie does what it's supposed to do: Gives us entertainment, and shows us our favorite characters on screen.
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8/10
Another X-ellent movie!
MinorityReporter12 December 2005
Some people would tell you that X2 is more conventional and mainstream than the first movie and to that I can only say: What a load of rubbish! Not only does X2 continue in the style set by the first film but it also improves on it greatly. This is achieved by adding more characters, making a deeper story and making the ever expanding universe even more chaotic so as better to capture the essence of the comic book. Two thumbs way up! The story picks up after the events of the first film in a way that pleases the viewers of the first film and is satisfactory to new viewers. The story is still well written and the pacing has improved a lot from the first film. There are no real slow points during the movie and the director takes special care to cram many of the scenes with breath taking visual effects so the audience will never lose interest. The dialog is once again both very sharp and witty and intelligent and allows for adequate character development. The character development is something some people have seen fit to criticize as they claim there isn't enough of it and except for only two characters I whole heartedly disagree. The character development of the main characters happened pretty much in the first film and therefore it is only necessary to add a bit more depth to the characters instead of repeating the character development from the first film. I did feel, however, that the film seemed somewhat rushed at times and that is a shame as it definitely had potential to be a 2½ hour film.

The acting is still sublime and I, of course, have to emphasize Hugh Jackman who is still absolutely brilliant as Wolverine. Both in bringing out the animal sides during the fight sequences but also in keeping the character human like in the comics. Ian McKellen returns as well and further fleshes out his character of Magneto and makes the character every bit as devious and charismatic as in the previous film. Patrick Stewart returns as well and does what he did in the first film and he is still the only one who could play Xavier. Among the new actors are Brian Cox and Alan Cumming. Cox does what he does best and plays the new villain with the exaggerated style he usually does. Cumming on the other hand shows remarkable depth as Nightcrawler and is in spite of his appearance one of the most human characters in the film. I will miss him in the third film. Lets hope Beast is any bit as good as in the comics. Some have had their characters lessened in the sequel. Most notably James Marsden while Famke Jansen's character is developed further. Halle Berry's character Storm is still kept in the background but I'm sure she will get more screen time in the third film. Aside from the ones I have now mentioned the acting is quite good all round.

Action wise the film took a major step up from the first film and many of the action scenes are quite simply awesome. We get to see more of Wolverine's feral rage which is always worth a look. All fights scenes with Wolverine are awesome and some of the most entertaining I've seen. Also we get a brief glimpse of Collosus kicking some ass and he does look cool I must say. In fact many of the individual mutants' powers are fleshed out in X2 and like in the original X-Men film they look absolutely beautiful. My only concern regarding the effects and action scenes is how on earth they are going to top them in the coming third X-Men film.

In regards to music and sound the film improved upon the first film with a much more catchy soundtrack and more audible effects. For example the sounds of Wolverine's claws shooting out and retracting have been amplified making him even more menacing than he was in the first film. Very well done.

All in all X2 is an excellent continuation of the original film and we are nearing something that is more like a saga than a series of films. I'm really beginning to see Bryan Singer as a master director after these two brilliant films and I am a little sad he opted to do Superman Returns rather than finish what he started with the X-Men films.

8/10
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10/10
The Best Comic Book Film EVER!!
Logansneo7 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
With all the hype surrounding this summers blockbuster sequels, not the least of which is The Matrix Reloaded, as well as having to fight the ghost of Comic-book-movie-bombs-from-summers-past, it goes without saying that a lot of hopes and dreams were riding high on the shoulders of everyone involved in Fox's second big screen outing for everyone's favorite team o superheroes. Brian Singer himself must've been sweating adamantium bullets, not only being held under the gun by the studio to lead their next big moneymaker, but most importantly and fortunately for us because of his deep and honest desire to make the most accurate and cohesive comic book-to-film adaptation in the history of cinema. Well Brian I am thrilled to say that that is precisely what has been achieved with your amazing film X2: X-Men United!

It has become rarer and rarer to find a film that has the ability to grab your senses and lock your attention so firmly, not ever letting up until the credits role, such as this film does. One might only be able to count a handful of films where a sequel takes all of the good elements form it's predecessor, completely eliminates the things that didn't work or fit in the original, then goes on to not only exceed the expectations and hype surrounding it, but completely redefines and elevates it's genre. From this day forward let it be known that all other Comic Book films will hereby be judged and held up the new level of excellence set by Brian Singer's brilliant X-Men 2. And if ya' can't already tell, I kinda' like this flick! ; )

I am sure many of you would love to know exactly what makes this film worth spending your money on? Well, to try and sum it up the characters, their struggles, their dreams, their relationships, they all MATTER because infused throughout this entire production and at isn't core lies HEART! And at the same time the film can be both touching as well as possess a gritty and visceral quality, giving each in attendance license to participate in the action as an outlet for their frustrations and monotony of their everyday lives. Just as I felt as if I was part of the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings, so here again I feel like I am part of the X-Men team.

But what really drives my excitement is Brian Singer's seemingly boundless ability to correctly interpret the true spirit of the X-Men comics. Individually, as a team, hero and villain alike, he has somehow tapped into the heart of these books and like the title says, united them in a film that defied my highest expectations and ignites my imagination. This is however not to say that he hasn't altered things from the comics. But unlike other directors from the past who have butchered comic book adaptations, Singer's interpretation of the characters lets you understand that any changes that were made were for the best. Prime examples of this can be found in how deftly he handles Jean Grey and the silent discovery of her Phoenix powers. Understanding that it would be totally impossible for him to try and take the Phoenix Saga and directly translate that to film, Singer has rightly decided to do what lesser directors would have cowered at; to re-interpret this change, still showing Jean Grey inherit this power, but to use it to build on her character, and realize HER potential more than most writers of the comics have done in recent memory. At the same time treating the character with respect as well as both we the audience and the dedicated fans of the comics with that same respect and maturity. Another example of his skills in character interpretation is the way in which he has taken the religious zealot that was William Stryker in the comics and turned him into a much more menacing zealot shill clinging to the original characters' self righteous justifications. But by giving him the military background and simultaneously making Mastermind his son, as well as merging the scientists who created Wolverine and Deathstryke, Singer serves up an extremely multilayered and more well rounded Stryker with a very clear agenda. Brian singer accomplishes all of this at the same time he is sewing up crucial sub-plots and characters that are ingeniously and potently utilized.

To illustrate the difference between how Brian Singer and the writers/producers for X2 utilize the material and do so intelligently making us pay more attention to the details, and alternately how so many of us have gotten used to dumbed down films that lead us deliberately, treating most of us like children, to their obvious conclusions, I bring up a subject of much debate. Now some have pointed out that in the ending of X-Men 2 where Jean Grey goes out of the plane to sacrifice herself was unnecessary obviously did not follow what was occurring to Jean throughout the film. What I saw was her character going through the anguish and realization that something inside of her was reaching far beyond her capabilities to control and after seeing what she was capable of in her battle with Cyclops that at the mom ent she saw that everyone in the team was in danger on the plane, she used this as self justification to sacrifice her life for everyone and at the same time stop the force inside of her which she feared was a growing danger not only out of her control but could eventually threaten or hurt all those who she loved.

What other director can you name has so responsibly adapted something like this to film? I can think of only one off hand, Peter Jackson and his diligence to The Lord of the Ring books. I dare say the Brian Singer has accomplished more than even Mr. Jackson, because Singer has taken a Comic Book, something the majority of people and press disregard as children's books or even geek literature, and has transformed it into a very HUMAN, very poignant, very real experience, and can only hope that he will continue on what he has accomplished.



* * * * * (5 stars)
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7/10
"Sometimes the mind needs to discover things for itself."
nived8418 April 2006
2000's smash hit X-Men certainly deserved a sequel (or two, or three), especially with all the cash it made and how the first one ended. Now the X-Men are back together once again, and this time they've got some new friends, including Nightcrawler and Pyro, and as well as some new enemies like William Stryker and Lady Deathstrike (his personal mutant "assistant"/slave). This time the X-Men find themselves locked in an unlikely alliance with Magneto and Mystique (their nemeses from the first film) against an evil military scientist named William Stryker, whose main goal is to eradicate the world of mutants once and for all.

X2: X-Men United is in many ways an improvement over the first film. It's more psychological, it's longer, there's more action, more mutants, more of Wolverine slicing it up and like the first film it's never boring or drags, right from the get-go X2 is fierce and exciting. In fact, X2 is almost the perfect comic book film… almost. The one little, weak link in X2, for me at least, was Nightcrawler. Now, I like the character of Nightcrawler, but I honestly didn't care that much for Alan Cumming, he came off as a bit weak, and kind of "dorky". The character of Nightcrawler really just seems like a huge convenience to the plot; like the scene where he rescues Rogue in the X-Jet, which was oh so very convenient. But the one thing I liked about Nightcrawler, besides that awesome opening sequence in the White House, was his religious side, which I thought was interesting and made me sympathize with the character a little more.

Pretty much everything in X2 works perfectly fine, which I attribute all that success to the amazing cast (Jackman, McKellen, Stewart, Marsden, Janssen, Berry, Paquin, Cox, Romijn), and the fact that the film was written and directed by the same people who clearly knew what they were doing back in 2000, and here they show us once again they still know what they're doing, and they aren't afraid to up the ante and take it up a notch. If you liked the first X-Men there's really no reason at all why wouldn't enjoy or like X2 as much, or maybe even more than the first film. It still has those surprising moments of humor, and plenty of action, maybe even more so than the original. And like the original, X2 sets itself up for a third film; let's just hope it turns out (at the very least) as good as the first two films, if not better.
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7/10
A few problems in an otherwise excellent film
Chandler8116 December 2004
They've done a hell of a lot right. That's my response to Singer's X-Men films; they're slick, funny, emotive and a real blast to watch. Without overdrawn character introductions and explanations, X2 launches right into seventh gear and doesn't let up.

Admirably, the film allows the majority of its characters a genuinely engaging storyline amongst the bigger picture, and although the story is not without its fault (using Cerebro as a major plot point two films in a row is like building the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi; been there, seen it before) it is certainly worthy of high praise. It's amazing that in just two films we already have a real appreciation for the relationships between such a considerable group of characters, and it is for the continued development of these relationships - and not the cool story line and action sequences - that makes me look forward to another X-film.

I would love to say that it's the casting that makes the films so brilliant - and it's true, the casting is great - but a couple of these characters have been woefully miscast. Iceman stood out for me, bringing an uncomfortable Backstreet Boy vibe to the role, and although his role in X2 is small, James Marsden just doesn't seem to have it in him to hold a commanding and authoritative position among the X-sters as Cyclops. In the first X-film he managed to at least stand beside the Wolverine with some great gags, but he's been left in the gutter for X2, and in the single scene toward the end of the film where Marsden is allowed to genuinely act, his emotional response feels awkward and forced. I am sure he is capable of more than this, and hopefully when X-Men 3 comes around he'll have more to work with. I've never been happy with Halle Berry as Storm, and she looks bored out of her skull in this film. I hope not to see her return.

Thankfully, most of Singer's new cast are admirable. The recast Pyro is great and Nightcrawler is fantastic. In fact, Alan is the only actor in the film who comes close to matching the quality of Jackman's Wolverine and McKellen's Magneto. These wonderful actors all appear to genuinely revel in portraying their characters. Janssen steps her performance up a notch too and it helps the film no end. I really hope to see her in the next film.

Ultimately, there are just a few slip-ups here in an otherwise classy and supremely entertaining film. With such an established canon of characters everyone is going to have their own opinion on how particular character should be portrayed, and for the most part X-2 does the job. Hopefully the bugs will be ironed out and we'll see a sequel of equal or greater quality in a few years. I'm certainly excited at the prospect.
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9/10
Better than the first.
Devotchka18 September 2003
This movie was great--much better than the original film, which was pretty standard as far as summer blockbusters go. X-2 skipped all the awkward and unnecessary attempts at a backstory (and I'm speaking as someone who knew next to nothing about the XMen when I saw the film) and went straight for an intelligent route. The characters were fascinating and the special effects were truly pretty good--and that's saying something, since I'm usually bored out of my mind by that kind of thing.Some of the acting was absolutely wonderful. Rebecca Romijn Stamos, Ian McKellen, Alan Cummings, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Anna Paquin more than made up for the mediocre attempts of Halle Berry and Famke Janssen.
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10/10
The budget is bigger, the cast is larger, the story is deeper, the film is better...
MovieAddict20164 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The film begins. We are shown a tour guide leading students and adults through the White House in Washington, DC. It seems normal enough. A security guard notices someone straying off the path and asks if he is lost. The man raises his head, and a tail flicks out from behind him. Before the security guard can do anything he is down on the ground, alerting all security in the area of a mutant attack.

The blue creature, known later as Nightcrawler, teleports past dozens of guards and kicks and whips them with his tail and fists. Finally the action dies down with the creature being shot (not killed), and we are left to catch our breaths. Reader, I'll tell you, it took me a few moments to catch mine.

It sure looks as if "X2" is on the right track for a sequel, and if anything, it seems better. The budget is obviously bigger as we see the truly amazing special effects in the beginning of the film, and though the action never quite again reaches its high-point as in the beginning, it sets the film up for other non-stop action sequences, just like the James Bond movies are known for doing.

But that's not all "X-Men 2," or "X2" as the posters abbreviate, is all about. It has an important human element that adds to the pure, non-stop, full-blooded action-spectaculars throughout the film. The cast is bigger, the budget is bigger, the story is bigger, and the action is plentiful. Teenagers will enjoy the action side, and adults will probably enjoy the human side to the story. It seamlessly combines both these two elements/techniques even more than the original film did. I didn't expect to enjoy this film more than the first, but I must say I did.

It reunites the old cast for a continuation of the struggle for mutants and humans to live together in the same world.

The film begins with an assassination attempt on the president's life, carried out by a teleporting mutant. This act upsets the entire world, and the president is about to begin the mutant-human war predicted by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in the first film. In an effort to get to the bottom of the attack on the president's life, and prevent world-wide war, Xavier sends out Storm (Halle Berry) and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) to search for the teleporting mutant and discover the truth behind the assassination attempt.

Meanwhile, Logan "Wolverine" (Hugh Jackman) has returned to Xavier's mansion after searching for any signs of his past. He has found none. He is greeted by Rogue (Anna Paquin) and her new boyfriend Bobby "Iceman," who was briefly seen in the first film and is given a deeper character backdrop in this film.

But soon things start to turn for the worst as an attack on Xavier's mansion is led by Stryker (Brian Cox), the man behind the assassination attempt, who wants all mutants to be killed off. He kidnaps Charles Xavier, and reveals that he wishes for Charles to kill all mutants.

How? By focusing Xavier's psychic powers/telepathy on a particular group of people, Xavier can actually kill them. So Stryker plans to use his disowned mutant son (who also has psychic powers) to control Xavier's mind (sort of) and focus on all the mutants in the world, automatically killing them.

With this plot in motion, Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) has little time to free Eric "Magneto," which results in a truly amazing escape sequence which I will not spoil for you.

Now, in an ironic moment, old enemies must fight together to bring down Stryker before his plan follows through. But the band of X-Men are far from solving their problems, as a new mutant, Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) may stand in their way of defeating Stryker. And Wolverine may also find the key to his past in this mess.

"X-Men 2," unlike other sequels, improves upon itself. Tragic sequels go to the dogs when the filmmakers are either too proud to try and surpass the original, or are too arrogant to even attempt it. "X-Men" was an excellent comic-book adaptation, in more ways than one, and "X-Men 2" is only better. It contains more action than "Spider-Man" and its human factor is even more active than it was in the original, which is ironic, since the original was praised for having both action and human attributes.

The cast is first-class, but the real scene-stealer, just like in the original, is Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The Aussie actor disguises his accent with a rough American one, just like British chap Bob Hoskins did in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?". If the filmmakers want a new James Bond after Pierce Brosnan, they need look no farther, because though he may not look the part in this film, Jackman can look very suave and proper (see "Kate and Leopold"), and is my top choice for the next Bond.

Comic book films are usually hit-or-miss. They're never in between. "X-Men" was an unexpected hit, but more than that, a good unexpected hit. It wasn't all hype. It was smart, action-packed and hat a great character side to it. Like I said before, "X-Men 2" improves upon all this and is the rare sequel that is better than its predecessor.

I expect "X-Men 2" to break some box office records, and unlike other films, I can honestly say that it deserves it.

4.5/5 stars -

John Ulmer
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Most "X"-Cellent!!
george.schmidt5 May 2003
X2: X-MEN UNITED (2003) ***1/2 Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, Anna Paquin, Kelly Hu, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, Cotter Smith. Superlative sequel and a boost of hyperactive energy in the franchise's arm in the second chapter of the Marvel Comics' cult classic this time with good mutants teaming with bad to stop a bent human military advisor (hissable Cox) out to wipe out both types at any cost. Far-out special effects, new characters (particularly winning is Cumming as the blue-skinned Night Crawler) and non-stop action packaged with kinetic infectious giddiness. Jackman continues to amaze as the tormented Wolverine, Berry is given more to do as the tempestuous Storm, Janssen's Jane Grey is perhaps the most nuanced in her suddenly advance telekinetic skills and McKellen is well…magnetic as Magneto. Fun tongue-in-cheek screenplay by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris (w/ David Hayter, Zak Penn and director Bryan Singer getting story credits) keeps up with the multi-layered storyline encompassing class welfare, social strata and in general to accept one for who they are and not what they are. Well done!
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10/10
One of the best sequels to date!
LebowskiT10003 May 2003
The X-Men has always been my favorite comic book, without a doubt. Spider-man is probably in second place, but The X-Men take the cake. Ever since I heard a sequel was going into the works and Bryan Singer was still on board as director, I had faith that he would do the sequel justice...of course I couldn't help but have that looming fear that something would go wrong. In the end, the film was released and of course, I wasted no time in getting to the theater to see it on opening day.

After seeing the film, I can definitely say it's been a long time since I've come out of a movie theater as happy as I did for this film. The story was absolutely brilliant and was told in the perfect manner to keep you interested. ...And of course, there are plenty of new characters and action to keep the audience in awe as well.

Nightcrawler was a truly brilliant character to bring into the sequel of the film. Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) has always been one of favorite X-Men characters, perhaps even more than Wolverine...but that's up for debate. Teleportation has GOT to be one of the coolest and most interesting ideas for a mutant ability! I was incredibly stoked to see him brought to life on the big screen, Bryan Singer and Alan Cumming did a FANTASTIC job! Next to Wolverine, Colossus has also got to be one of my favorite characters. I can't even begin to express how happy I was to see him in the film...although not NEARLY enough was done with him when there was so much potential for his abilities in the film. Oh well, there's always X-Men 3 right? The other two new characters, Pyro (John Allerdyce) and Lady Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama) were very well done as well, although not much of their character histories were explained...which is ok, there is only so much time in a film. The rest of the characters already had a firm basis from the previous film and were all executed extremely well in this sequel, my hat is off to Mr. Bryan Singer, "Keep up the good work!"

The entire cast was absolutely perfect for the film. Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, Anna Paquin, Kelly Hu, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, and Daniel Cudmore all did incredible jobs with their roles and should be proud of their work, truly fantastic.

The story in this sequel is great. I love the idea of the good and the bad having an equal threat and being forced to work together in order to save them all. The chemistry and the relationship between Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) and Professor Charles Xavier is so bizarre and interesting...and very thought provoking. There are so many interesting and well done relationships between characters in the film: Logan (Wolverine) - Scott Summers (Cyclops), Rogue - Bobby Drake (Iceman), Jean Grey - Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey - Logan (Wolverine) to name a few. I love just watching them all interact with each other.

What it all boils down to is this, if you liked the first film, then you should definitely like this film. I'm not sure I could say I liked X2 better than the original, but I'd definitely feel comfortable saying it was just as good...and better in certain aspects (but not as a whole).

I would definitely recommend seeing this film in the theater or at least rent it when it's released, it's well worth your time. This film isn't all about super-heroes, action and fantasy, there is a lot more to it than just that and I hope you can see and appreciate that. I do hope that you enjoy the film as much as I do and thank you for reading my review, be sure to read my review for the first "X-Men".

-Chris

P.S. They better start crackin' on a X3 right away!

Also..here's some interesting trivia for ya. In the scene where Mystique is finding out where Magneto is being held she is scrolling through a bunch of names, the name above Lensherr, Erik (Magneto) is LeBeau, Remy...aka "Gambit"...nice little touch there, I didn't get a look at the other names there, but there might be more allusions there. Another cool thing is in the scene where the security guard is in the bar, there is a TV on in the background with a guy named Hank McCoy talking...Hank McCoy later becomes known as "Beast". Pretty cool huh...
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10/10
"X2" ("X-Men 2")- Arguably the best of the series. Thoughfull, exciting and exceedingly well-constructed.
MaximumMadness11 January 2017
With nine films thus far and at least two more on the horizon, all released over a near-twenty year window, 20th Century Fox's "X-Men" film franchise is something of a wonder in today's world of near- constant reboots and remakes. While it has by no means been a smooth ride, the fact remains that the long-running series has been a widely beloved and infinitely important one, especially when placed into historical perspective. Director Bryan Singer's original entry was one of the first major comic-to-film adaptations that convinced studios and audiences alike that comic-book movies could not only be mature and enthralling, but could be certified hits once again after the genre seemed to die-out in the 90's. And thus, a franchise was born and has stuck around ever since, through thick and thin.

It's almost a surprise, however, that one of the best entries in the entire saga came so early- 2003's follow-up "X2." With Singer once again at the helm, the film is in every conceivable way an improvement over his excellent first film- it's more thoughtful, more daring, more exciting... I think one could even reasonably say that not only is it arguably the greatest film in the franchise- it just might be one of the best comic-to-film adaptations of all time. Yes, it's that good.

Some time after the original film, a brainwashed mutant called Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) is sent on a mission to try and assassinate the President of the United States under the guise of being a martyr for Mutant Freedom. Despite the mutant being stopped, the troubling event gives Colonel William Stryker (Brian Cox) the political edge and backing needed to get approval for an "investigation" on Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters- but his investigation is actually an invasion, as he storms the school, taking many students hostage and forcing the remaining X-Men to flee. At the same time, Storm (Halle Berry) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) are sent on a mission to collect Nightcrawler and learn his motivation for the attack, Cyclops (James Marsden) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are captured by Stryker's mysterious bodyguard (Kelly Hu) and the shape-shifting Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) helps her former leader Magneto (Ian McKellan) escape from his high-tech prison. Soon, the remaining mutants (including Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Anna Paquin as Rogue and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman) are forced to team up with their former adversary to try and stop Stryker's scheme to use Charles and his powers to wipe out all of the mutants on Earth.

Given the film's nature as an ensemble piece, it's near-impossible to discuss the performances of each actor individually. But to keep it brief, everyone returning from the original is great in their respective roles. Special commendation goes to Hugh Jackman and his continued excellence in the role that helped to define him as a superstar and to Famke Jannsen, who gets a lot more attention this time around. They are by far the stand-outs of the returning cast. I also highly enjoyed Stewart and McKellen, who bring a sense of class and elegance to their roles and are incredible as always. The newest additions are also outstanding. Brian Cox is one of the greatest actors of our time, and his turn as Stryker is quite remarkable. He gives the character both an easily- "despiseable" sense of threat and dread, yet also a nice and subtle sense of pain and pathos. He's a cruel man, yet he has a past that might explain why he is the way he is. Alan Cumming is just magical as the frightened yet also amusing Nightcrawler, and there's a lot of great moments in his performance. And Kelly Hu makes for a fun and furious adversary as Styker's second-in-command "Lady Deathstrike."

Singer returns to direct from a script by "X-Men" scribe David Hayter and the writing duo of Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris. Singer got his start with hard-hitting thrillers like "The Usual Suspects" and "Apt Pupil", and I think that's part of what gives him an edge with the storytelling. He plays the stories straight and gives them a sense of real and honest threat, while also maintaining an emotional core that feels realistic despite the outlandish nature of the story and heavy Science-Fiction leanings of the material. He's also a very gifted visual artist with a slick and savage sense of composition and flow that lends itself well to the needs of high- concept action. His work on the series has always been nothing less than stunning. The script is very tightly written and juggles the plethora of characters well- everyone has their moment to shine, every major player has a clearly defined role and arc and the pacing is superb. Some wonderful work is done with the writing, and it's an honest shame that neither Hayter nor the writing partners of Dougherty and Harris were involved in the third entry.

The rest of the production is just marvelous. (Pardon the bad joke) Composer/co-editor John Ottman shapes some wonderful and memorable musical themes that compliment the tone and style perfectly, and he weaves together shots and sequences with a masterful touch. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel's visual palette is cool and visually arresting, and his work is just stunningly gorgeous. Some wonderful visual flair is given thanks to his talent. And production and costume design courtesy Guy Hendrix Dyas and Louise Mingenbach respectively is just fantastic. The film is made with nothing but top-notch work from top-notch artists.

As it stands, "X2" is easily one of the best if not the single best entry in the long-running series. Its phenomenal direction, sharp and thoughtful writing, beautiful production and outstanding cast weave an enthralling and thrilling cinematic experience that still stands tall well over a decade later. It's up there with the best of the best in terms of comic-book movies.

There's no other way to look at it- "X2" easily earns a perfect 10 out of 10.
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10/10
X2: Mutation Moves On
MaxBorg8921 December 2005
After the success of the first movie, Bryan Singer brings the X-Men back to the screen. He has stated X2 is the X-version of The Empire Strikes Back. He's not totally wrong: like Empire, X2 is darker than its predecessor, characters are developed and dealt with in a more mature way, and the foreboding climax is quite shocking indeed (there's even a "I am your father"-style revelation concerning Wolverine's past, which is given more space here than in the first chapter). In fact, the movie could have been named X2: Humanity Strikes Back.

That's right, this time it's the "ordinary" people who are raising hell, in particular William Stryker (Brian Cox), a military scientist who takes advantage of the increasing paranoia surrounding mutants and has the POTUS himself approve his plan to take down the "monsters" once and for all. The war is about to begin, and with Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Cyclops (James Marsden) gone, the only X-Men left to face Stryker are Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Storm (Halle Berry) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), with some help from Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore). They are eventually joined by a former employee of Stryker's, the blue-skinned teleporter Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), as well as the most unlikely ally around: Magneto (Ian McKellen), who has managed to escape from the plastic prison he was locked up in (the break-out plays like the Marvel version of Hannibal Lecter's escape in The Silence of the Lambs, and yes, that is a compliment).

The plot is loosely based on the famous graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills by X-guru Chris Calremont (the villain and the alliance with Magneto are explicitly taken from that story), but Singer makes it all much more apocalyptic (Stryker was simply a preacher in the comic-book), while also having the time to take a look at some of the first film's subplots: the Wolverine-Jean-Cyclops love triangle is taken to a new, unexpected level and the Canadian mutant's forgotten "origin" starts getting slowly unveiled (Wolverine: "Who are you?"; Stryker: "Don't you remember?"). Jackman is the standout in this movie, as we finally get to see everybody's favorite X-fella lose it and make the bad guys regret they showed up in the first place. Those sequences are a treat for those who have grown up loving Wolverine and his dual, conflicted nature. Another actor who leaves a memorable impression is Cumming with his portrayal of Nightcrawler, one of the mutants people fear the most (he looks like a demon), but also the one who's most willing to forgive mankind for its mistakes.

So, with all the great acting, good writing and clever direction, no wonder X2 was voted the greatest comic-book movie ever before Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins were released. This is one superhero opus you won't want to miss.

9,5/10
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9/10
A meaningful film and brilliant sequel **SPOILERS AHEAD**
LondonOnMyMind28 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS AHEAD**

X2: X-Men United is one of those sequels that not only continue the narrative of the original film, but also further develop the ties between the characters, making the audience empathize with them. Like the first film, it is a metaphor for society's prejudice. Simply put, this is a film that would be enjoyed by fans of excellent cinema and X-Men comic book fans alike.

The direction, cinematography, choreography of action sequences and the overall style of the film are exquisite. The Nightcrawler's (Alan Cumming) teleportation stunts and Pyro's (Aaron Stanford) fire domination left me breathless. The fight sequences and special effects are a sight to behold, without the overdose of CGI that many new films drown in, showing yet again that a good director and creative vision are essential to the action/adventure and sci-fi genres. The cinematography is rich and colorful, painting a warm picture of safety with interior and exterior shots of Xavier's School for the Gifted and, at the same time, hinting at an ominous mystery with the cold shots of Alkani Lake.

The emotional depth of the piece is exceptional, particularly today, when frequent gratuitous violence in action and sci-fi movies often detracts from any involvement that the audience might have with the characters. The X-Men films draw on universal themes of individualism and isolation, themes that the second film emphasizes even more than the first one. This time around, the Brotherhood and the X-Men must join forces against General Stryker (Brian Cox), who gives nepotism a whole new meaning and is surely one of the most vile characters in recent sci-fi. As with Rogue (Anna Paquin) in the first film, we again have an outsider, Nightcrawler, who finds kindred spirits in Xavier's group of mutants. From internal conflicts to romantic relationships, the world of mutants is parallel to our own world, making the film relatable on many levels.

The acting is again solid. Standouts among the cast are Cumming, whose Nightcrawler is kindness and compassion come to life; Stanford, whose Pyro is a tough, vulnerable and pained human being; and Famke Janssen, whose Jean Grey makes the unimaginable, but inevitable, choice.

I would recommend X2: X-Men United to all film fans. However, it is our world today that needs the lesson this film can teach. No one is all that different from the person next to them. Always look beyond the surface.

9/10
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8/10
The time has come for those who are different to stand united
Lady_Targaryen21 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
X2 is the second part of X men's trilogy. Thanks God it basically has the same cast of the first movie, with new characters like Nightcrawler, Yuriko (Lady deathstrike) and Colossus . (A sad thing that they didn't show in the movie that Nightcrawler is Mystique's son)

I noticed that the mansion used for the school also appears as Lex Luthor's home in "Smallville" and that both Senator Kelly and William Stryker were born only few days/years apart, what makes strange the statement of Stryker saying that Kelly is his junior.

In the movie,Stryker is a high-ranking army colonel who leads an assault into Professor Xavier's school to build his own version of Xavier's mutant-tracking computer Cerebro in order to destroy every mutant on Earth. He hates mutants, and his son, is a very powerful mutant with the capability of convincing others with his mind to do what he wants (mastermind, anyone?)to be done. It's sad to see Jean Grey die, but it is nice to see the Phoenix symbol in the water surface.

One of the things I love in X men, are the metaphors to reflect current social issues that are always happening in our world, like problems with racism,prejudice,homophobia among others, that doesn't let people live in peace.
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8/10
More Of Same Eye-Popping FX
ccthemovieman-121 September 2006
Since the first movie, "X-Men," was famous for its great special effects, this sequel knew enough to deliver the same kind of eye-popping effects to please its fans....and it did! There are absolutely tons of stunning special effects, both visually and audibly. All of that means very few lulls in this 134-minute film.

Having said that, I do think the film needed some lulls. At over two hours of pretty intense action, it needed more breaks. It's just too much. Either that, or shorten the story.

Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, in her skin-tight outfit, is still a feast for us male eyes and Halle Berry and Famke Jannson aren't bad, either! Other familiar names from the first film are still here, such as Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Pacquin and Ian McKellan.

It's a pretty interesting story and although they state evolution "as a fact" early on once again, they do have something unusual in today's films: a Christian character who was a good guy.

All in all, if you liked the first film, you'll like this.
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8/10
A model of what the X-Men movies should've been
acostanadielle5 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Currently rewatching all X-Men films and this definitely takes a top spot on my list. It builds upon what X1 introduced us to and goes deeper with some characters, specially Wolverine. Nightcrawler's introduction was great and very helpful for later sequences. Also, Magneto had more meaningful action, same with Mystique. Stryker was a decent villain.

I'll leave a list of some things I liked about the movie and some thing it fixed from X1.

What X2 did well:
  • Charles being used and manipulated, exposing his weaknesses
  • Gave depth to characters stories, specially Wolverine
  • Nightcrawler's addition and action sequence at the start
  • Stryker controlling mutants plot
  • Storm's power being used more
  • Pyro


What X2 fixed from X1:
  • Less Rogue screen time and dialogue (tho still one too many screams)
  • Choreography* in fighting scenes (X1 ones were baaaaaad)
  • No Sabretooth (YAY)
  • Longer movie time
  • No more bad CGI
  • Jean Grey's flirting, kinda seemed staged in the X1, feels more fluent in X2


So overall, it did a great job on being the stronghold for the franchise establishment. It deserves an 8.5/10
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8/10
Exceptional at first, simplistic in the end
tributarystu10 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was, in a way, an adventure for me. I did prepare for it, I really did! I re-watched X-Men, twice even, I asked around about the movie, etc. Had real pleasure working. As a sequel, one might expect less from this than from the original. I had high hopes that it would exceed the original, as that one was more or less a mediocre movie. Maybe it wasn't mediocre, but it left me a feeling of unhappiness. Sadly, this one has too but still, it's quite a difference between these "tastes".

SPOILERS

So we've all seen the movie, it's good and all that stuff, but for the beginning I've got a question which bothers me day and night(actually it bothered me only for 5 minutes after the movie): why did Dr. Gray have to "die" ?(if she did die...fact which I doubt, despite having no info on the comic books) It makes little sense for me. "She made a choice"...come on! Which was this choice? Did it regard the two "contenders"? Well, it'll remain a mystery for the time. This is one of the less logic things in the film. For me, as a non-comic book reader, at least. The movie makes a great impression on the whole, but if you really look in detail at it you notice something which might bother you: it's simple and, though well masked, predictable. It doesn't shock you, yet it thrills you, it doesn't amaze you, yet it makes you feel good. This might be the thing which made me feel a huge gap between what I wanted and what I saw in X-Men.

The characters are only interesting because they are funny. Not really complex, I'd say. Wolverine is made a fool of and I remain unsure whether he is or he isn't intellectually "equipped". Dr. Gray is my mystery. You could see from a million miles away what kind of a person Pyro was and what he was going to do. The romantic couple lacks true romance. In a way it's quite interesting: the "flaming" kiss can only exist with ice. Strange way to look at it. Yet, they have no sense of measure.

On the big, big whole it is, as I've said, a good movie. It's good action, tense and something's always "cooking". I personally liked circus man, Kurt Wagner, the most as he did have not only a great skill, but also an interesting character. I only wonder: why does he believe? There's not backing up to his beliefs. Yet, I'm on his side. 8/10
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4/10
" Something`s Wrong " - Yeah The Script
Theo Robertson14 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***** SPOILERS *****

I wasn`t all that taken with the original X-MEN movie but since it was the introduction of a franchise I forgave the flaws like the underdeveloped themes of antagonism between the humans and mutants . X-2 has no such excuses however since the plot revolves around Magneto and a rogue human general trying to start a war between the humans and mutants . Well I used the word " Plot " but just like in a Roger Moore Bond film or a typical Hollywood summer blockbuster the plot gets drowned out by explosions , stunts and special effects

It`s here I wish to absolve the screenwriters for most of the blame of a muddled underdeveloped story because I can imagine the screenplay being repeatedly returned to the writers with a note saying " Okay Jean and Wolverine are in love but there`s not enough teen romance so introduce a couple of teen characters " and " The boys at special effects have come up with a new morphing effect so write a few scenes where we can show it off " Note to Hollywood studios - If you think writing a screenplay is so easy try writing one . Then after you`ve done that write another one and another

Regardless of the pressure they were under there is a couple of things the writers are guilty of and that`s the mutants using their special powers to escape from a tight spot . F-16s on the tail of the escaping X-Men , I bet Storm can conjure up a few twisters . Yup thought so and this type of cheating takes place far too often but the fundamental error lies in a way a character is killed . If Jean dies at the end of the film it`s logical that Jean should be the focus of the story but for some reason it`s Wolverine who`s the focus for much of the story which is a blunder on the part of the screenwriters

So I wasn`t too keen on this sequel at all and as recent blockbusters like LORD OF THE RINGS and THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL show a good memorable fantasy adventure is down to a script that allows good actors to act and have special effects that arise naturally from the story . Cramming a film with special effects just isn`t enough any more
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10/10
"You picked the wrong house, Bub"
obiwan20054 May 2003
"X-Men" is responsible for reviving the once dead Super-hero genre of movies. Since then, we've seen Spider-Man and Daredevil protecting the streets of New York while accomplishing box-office success. But 'X-Men', to me, is still the best Super-hero movie since Batman. So it will be rather difficult to achieve the same kind of success with a sequel, right? This is the first 'part 2' sequel from the super-hero genre since Batman Returns. So it's sort of testing the waters, on Hero staying power. 'X2' continues right where the first left off. Wolverine arrives back from his trek in Canada,at Xavier's school for mutants. Magneto is still in a plastic prison for his attack on Liberty Island. And all is right for the mutant world. But not for long. A mutant named 'Nightcrawler', attacks the president by infiltrating the white house with his teleportation powers. Which causes civil unrest in the country. Gen. William Stryker finds out about Professer X's mutant academy, and uses the attack on the president as a means to invade it. Here groups of mutants are seperated, but they find out about Styker's plan to destroy every mutant on the planet using Professer X, and a secret weapon. This situation calls for the X-Men and Magneto's (you may have guessed, he escaped) Brotherhood to unite to save the mutant population. While not exactly better than the first, it is better than most original movies. It starts off wonderfully, like the first movie never ended. The production design was consistant with the first movie, unlike the Batman franchise. And the action was superb and top-notch. My only problems are some characters dont get as much screen time as they should, Cyclops for example is only in the movie for about 20 minutes. But he does make the best of it. And the character 'Lady Deathstryke' should have been more developed. She hardly spoke at all. But the biggest problem (while still small) is the movie is a bit anti-climactic. It does have a climax, but a bit toned down for the X-men. Just a bit. Other than that, its an exciting story with a very brave ending. Everyone gave a good preformance. Most notably, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler) and Aaron Stanford (Pyro). The movie progressed the X-Men storyline very well (unlike the Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. I can't wait to see whats in store for us X-fans, in X3

RATING: ***out of****
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9/10
Excellent 2nd Film!
kyle-medina30 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the better films in the Xmen series.

The first film was a bit muddled with so many new characters, to the non-fanboy populace, and in plot details. Although the film was a massive success, it was difficult for many moviegoers uninitiated in the X-Men saga. But in "X2: X-Men United," there's a greater degree of cohesiveness. We have a clear and present evil, a solid storyline, and loads of characters to gawk at. There's also a better pace to this film. It's more organized and the action sequences are evenly placed in the movie. I kept waiting and waiting for Deathstrike to unsheathe her claws, and when she finally did, it was thoroughly satisfying. Her and Wolverine's fight scene was incredible! Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is more complicated, feral, and downright vicious in this film and I like it. When he begins his berserker rage in the school, I couldn't help say, "Wow." Without his performance, the movie goes nowhere. He is such a hinge for the film. Alan Cumming was awesome as my favorite X-Man growing up, Nightcrawler. He has always been so complicated and enigmatic, and this movie gave us just enough to understand him, but not enough to discard him with boredom. The attack on the president scene was better than I could have ever imagined. Much like Spider-Man, I always had an idea about how Kurt would move, teleporting from here to there, the acrobatics, the "bamf" and the cloud of brimstone: one word- amazing!
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Flawed but better than the usual no-brain summer blockbusters
bob the moo3 May 2003
Following an assassination attempt on the President of the USA by a mutant, General William Stryker is ordered to take action against the mutants. Using information gleamed from Magneto, he attacks the X-mansion, taking some prisoners and scattering the rest. Wolverine, just returned from the hunt for his past, escapes with Pryo, Iceman and Rogue and sets out to meet up with Storm and Jean. As the full extent of Styker's plan becomes clear, the X-Men have no choice but to join forces with Magneto to defeat him.

I have to be honest I say that every year I get sucked in by the hype machine that surrounds the summer blockbusters. Most of the time I am let down (Jurrasic Park 3, Planet of the Apes – the list is long). This summer looks different with this and the Matrix films to look forward to and X2 was the first one I came to. I enjoyed the first film and immediately noticed that it's strength had been lost in this sequel. Here the running time is over two hours and the central plot includes a lot more side issues than the first. In one regard this is good because there is much to hold the interest. However it also means that the film doesn't all work – most of it does but a lot of it feels abandoned or incomplete. Wolverine no longer is the focus as he was in the first, and this is a loss. His story is the most interesting to many people but he isn't allowed as much as he deserves. However he fares better than Rogue and Cyclops who barely have anything to do.

The central plot is good and has enough twisting to keep you entertained – only the odd subplot appears to be on a hiding to nowhere. The action scenes are good on the whole. The opening assassination attempt is very exciting and the storming of the mansion is solid. The climax of the film with Wolverine is a little disappointing thanks to MTV style editing making the fight unclear. Although some people have complained about it being action light, I think that is missing the point. The film is more about the plot and the characters than just the action. So we do have lots of dramatic scenes without action but they still work as they are building a wider story.

The film is a lot less funnier than the first and hence a little less enjoyable on a surface level. Mostly this is due to the shift of focus off Wolverine and his lines. There is still some humour but too much of it is ill-judged (in the middle of Iceman `coming out' to his family – an emotional point – his mother says `have you tried NOT being a mutant' – didn't work for me). Happily the darker side of the film is stronger and makes this change of tone feel deliberate rather than a loss of humour. Singer directs well overall and uses his budget well – only the fight between Wolverine and Oyama was one part where I felt he had over stretched his reach a little. He has nice touches as well – like including stuff for the harder core comic fans (eg Colossus at one point). Also there are modern day parallels to be had in the script that are a little bit less than flag waving.

The cast really help this film though. Jackman may not be the central focus for this film but he is the centre of every scene he is in. Stewart and McKellen both do very good work here and really contribute to the feeling that this is more than a dumb blockbuster. Berry is OK but on at least one occasion her breasts seemed to be used to greater effect than her character. Janssen comes on a lot and her struggle with her changing powers is well portrayed. Romijn-Stamos has a much bigger role and her character is used well. Paquin and Marsden are AWOL even when onscreen but Cumming is a good addition. Cox is the film's greatest addition and he doesn't allow Stryker to become a carton bad guy at any point. I really like Kelly Hu and was sad t see her have little to do. In fairness she manages to make a good impression without more than a line in the whole film but her final fight is a little disappointing.

Overall this is a superior summer blockbuster. The way it tries to carry so many subplots and side characters causes it to become very weak and times and not all of it works very well but it is still good for what it is. The change in tone from the first film will put some off but I enjoyed it and found the story to be well supported – however for X3 I hope that this ensemble feel is cut back a little and a smaller core of characters allowed to develop well rather than a lot of them developed a little.
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6/10
Entertaining but a little chaotic
rosscinema11 May 2003
I did enjoy this sequel I admit, but I think I'm the minority when I say that its not quite as good as the first film. The first X-men introduced us to a handful (Or two) of mutant characters and we learned about each one of them. The focus of the story was aimed at one thing but here in the sequel they have added so many more mutant characters that the main story is almost forgotten in a windstorm of action scenes. Anna Paquin as Rogue has hardly anything to do here except be frustrated at not being able to be intimate with her boyfriend. This film is definitely geared at a young audience with a lot of the characters being of the teen variety. Halle Berry as Storm is another casualty where her big mission in this film is to get children out of a tunnel. She is absolutely wasted and didn't director Bryan Singer have a better written character for this Oscar winner? The things that I think help the film for me is the mutant Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) who is so sexy and strong that even when she's just standing there doing nothing you can't take your eyes off her. If they ever do a film with just her, I'm sold! Their is two performances that stood out for me and the first one is by Famke Janssen who plays Dr. Jean Grey. Its the best written role in the film and she shows real human complexities, she's not just a comic book figure. She's having problems with her telekinetic abilities because of the dreams she's been having and she's also torn between her relationship to two others. The other performance is by Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier who runs the school. He doesn't just posture and allow special effects to run his character, Stewart is too well trained an actor to allow that. In a scene at the end of the film his character is staring out a window reflecting on what has happened and what the future may hold. Even with all the impressive special effects in this film, that scene of Stewart leaves the most indelible image for me. I hope if or when they make another sequel that they try and keep just the main characters as the focus so the overall point of the film doesn't get lost like it seemed to in this film. Of all the new characters introduced here the one I liked the most was Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler played by Alan Cumming. Entertaining film but has way to much going on in such a short amount of time. Lets hope they tone everything down the next time.
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4/10
Of X2 and Reloaded, Matrix is clearly the better comic book film
bimetale10 July 2003
So many rave reviews that I just have to add my bit, cause frankly : I *didn't* like it.

Okay, so Matrix was not adapted from a comic book. Still, it is clearly a comic-book film : exact same style, approach, feel and substance. It *could have been a comic*, and a good one at that! Another thing : I never was a fan of the original X-Men comic. Then again, ol' Supes or Batman never gave me shivers either, and still I loved the first Superman and Batman movies, so that don't mean a thing.

So : what's so wrong with this movie? Well, basically, I think it's just... DUMB. Yeah, that's the word : dumb! The scenario, and everybody in it is just so dumb it makes you cry. Hell, with prof. X's supapowers and Cerebro, I'd have fixed the Magneto problem in no time! Being Magneto and having co-designed the thing, I would have killed all those pesky norms in a sec too (which it is clearly able to do according to the film)! And then the army guy... with an asset like Mastermind, couldn't he really think of a more, well, intelligent way of fighting the mutants? Well of course, he *is* an army dude so maybe that's asking too much. And then the regular guys, like in the scene where Pyro blows up a load of cop cars, "You heard about those big bad mutants guys?"-style : being one of the soldiers, I would go like, "**BANG** - Yeah, I heard. I also heard most of you guys aren't BULLET PROOF!!!".

That's one more thing : haven't they invented the gun yet in the X-Men universe? Most of the mutants are not power-protected in any way from bullets (except when Magneto's around of course), still none of them ever seems to think of wearing some Kevlar, let alone a *gun*. So, okay, I know it might have been a problem in the comic because of CCA regulations, but still, couldn't they have changed that for the movie just to make it less dumb? It would change the whole dynamic of the thing.

So, are there qualities redeeming the lack of basic intelligence throughout the movie? Not many... most of Wolverine's dry humor is gone, and Wolverine as a character seems less interesting than in the first X (though this does not seem to be a problem with the acting - see below). The fight scenes are just boring, sometimes even offensively so (Deathstryke could have killed Wolverine a thousand times in that fight, and still she lost it in the lamest manner imaginable - what a bummer). The other action scenes don't get a lot better (that plane chase for instance - there were a thousand ways they could have made that one tons more exciting than by just using YASP, Yet Another SuperPower).

The acting is very good for some, awful for others. Ian McKellen shines, as always : I bet he could even make a Coca Cola ad look exciting. Patrick Stewart also does a very good job at it - he really CAN do something more than Trek, and I really look forward to seeing him in better fares than this. And Hugh Jackman is still a good Wolverine, though he didn't get half the chances to show it that he got in the first movie. Even Romijn-Stamos did a pretty good job, a lot better than in the previous film. The rest of the acting though ranged from the simply lame to the excruciatingly bad. Nightcrawler made me crawl up the walls, but not in the funny way it was clearly intended.

And finally, there is the whole soap-factor : who isn't having an affair with whom in this movie? I remember this being one of the things that hit my crap-o-meter in the comics too - but just because it's crap that's in the comic, that don't mean you have to keep that crap for the movie!

All in all, I feel like this movie could have been a lot better, which is a pity. I had a negative feeling about the first X movie as well, but the more I thought about it and the more I saw it, the better it became. In the end, it finished about side-by-side with the original Matrix movie. X2 started out as just boring in my book, however : it only got worse each time I thought back about it, and the second sitting of it was just torture.

This movie will be a must for lovers of the X-Men comic as it quite faithfully reproduces its feel, all of the crap in the original books included. For those who do not fall into that category however, go see Reloaded, or if you have already, go see it a second time : you will be the better for it.
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less cerebral, more conventional than the original
Buddy-5120 December 2003
`X2: X-Men United' is the widely admired sequel to `X-Men,' one of the finest movies ever to be derived from a comic book series. The original film, in addition to being a superb piece of action cinema, dealt with such weighty issues as prejudice and alienation, showing how groups of people who are seen as `different' from the norm are often ostracized from and mistreated by society as a whole. By creating an entirely new set of people to serve as its outcasts - in this case, mutants endowed with extraordinary physical and mental powers - the film was able to strip the issue of bigotry down to its barest essentials and to make us see anew just how great a part `irrational fear of the unknown' plays in determining the ways we treat others. Quite an accomplishment for a film that was designed, essentially, to be little more than a commercial popcorn entertainment.

This second entry in the series, though it has generally received more positive reviews than the first one, seems less concerned with message and theme and more concerned with action and plotting. Part of the reason for this may lie in the fact that the initial film, because it was introducing both the characters and the concepts to the audience, was forced by necessity to deal with the theme in a more direct and comprehensive manner. Perhaps when it came to `X2,' director Bryan Singer and writers Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter simply felt that the theme had been explored sufficiently in the first installment and that any further concentration on it would appear redundant. The problem is that, without that added intellectual and sociological dimension, `X2' starts to feel an awful lot like every other comic book action film - heavy on adventure and special effects and weak on character development and point. In fact, even with the added bonus of almost 30 extra minutes in this episode (it runs an overlong 134 minutes), many of the characters in the film do little but stand around and look helpless while a select few run around saving the day and getting all the valuable screen time.

There's a wonderful scene about halfway through the film in which a teenage mutant boy `comes out' to his genuinely astonished parents, informing them that their `ordinary, average' child (whom they had just considered `highly gifted') has been harboring a deep dark secret within himself, a revelation that no parent would ever want to hear and no child would ever want to have to make. The reaction of both stunned disbelief and reluctant acceptance (`We still love you no matter what you are') on the part of the boy's family speaks to anyone who has had to face a similar situation in his own life. `X2' could use more scenes like this one to help the audience connect better with both the characters and the events taking place on screen. And it was scenes like this one that made the original `X-Men' soar as a movie, for that film really seemed to be able to zero in on universal aspects of human nature. `X2' doesn't do nearly as impressive a job in this regard.

Every so often, `X2' feels as if it too is getting ready to expound on one of its potentially intriguing themes - as when the President of the United States has to decide whether to take draconian action against what he believes may be a `terrorist' organization among the mutants - only to have the concern fizzle in a welter of action movie clichés. After all, what could be more pertinent, timely or relevant to today's world than the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil rights abuses arising from the fear it causes? Instead of making this premise the crux of their movie as they should have, the filmmakers drag all the characters over to some secret underground complex next to a snowbound lake to do battle with a pretty conventional villain and have them indulge in all the explosions, gun battles, kickboxing fight sequences etc. that are the standard accoutrements of any self-respecting modern day action film.

People seem to be enamored of `X2,' even more, perhaps, than they were of the original `X-Men.' I wish I could count myself among them. But as one who genuinely loved the original, I must say that I am less than enamored with this particular installment. I may be a minority dissenting voice in this regard, but I view `X2,' for all its special effects wizardry, as a disappointing missed opportunity, a film that fails to develop on a deeper level the great themes that were laid out for it in the original. I have my fingers crossed for `X-Men 3.'
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1/10
Mindbogglingly bad
Freycinet4 May 2003
How could such a piece of drivel get such a high voting score at IMDB?

This typical example of Hollywood's present-day empty-headedness has absolutely nothing going for it. Even compared to other superhero offerings it is disappointing.

If lately you've had the experience of choosing a Hollywood blockbuster based on hype but no first-hand info from friends, and then left the theatre disappointed and sorry to have wasted your money, then... you'll have a pretty good idea of what you're in for.

In X2 you'll be fleetingly presented with around ten superheroes, see them perform a trick or two each and then recede into well-deserved oblivion. You will also see a super-car and a super-plane. None of these entities will manage to awake any emotion whatsoever, since there simply isn't enough time to get acquainted with any of the multiple protagonists. Then again, that might not be so bad.

The boring and unimaginitive script contains not a single instance of wit or humour. All is dead-serious and self-conscious, which is rather amazing given the sheer ridiculousness of the superheroes and their abilities. There are fleeting attempts at discussing the place of mutants ("illegal aliens"?) vs. humans in society, but these are halted and overshadowed by computer-generated tricks. The times when movies would only need a few of those to entertain audiences are over, but the makers of X2 didn't realise.

The film even manages to make Halle Berry look bad (white 1960's hair). Enough said.
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