X2: X-Men United (2003)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Overall Rating 74%
Overall Rating
Ranked #208
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Several months have passed since the X-Men defeated Magneto and imprisoned him in a seemingly impregnable plastic chamber. One day, a mutant by the name of Nightcrawler infiltrates the White House and attempts to assassinate the President, setting off a chain reaction of anti-mutant measures by the government. Meanwhile, Logan is trying to discover his past. As scientist named William Stryker discovers Professor X's secret school and Cerebro, Magneto's partner, Mystique, is planning to break her leader out of prison. But when Professor X's school is attacked by Stryker's forces, Logan, Rogue, Iceman, and a few are lucky to escape. Those who remain meet in Boston, where they form an uneasy alliance with Magneto to stop Stryker and rescue Professor X. --IMDb
Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
Halle Berry
Halle Berry
Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen
Review by Chad
Added: August 03, 2008
Last week, I watched the original X-Men film for the first time and said that it was "one of the best comic-to-film adaptations that I've seen." If you'll recall, I also mentioned that that film marked my introduction to the movie adaptation of the series, so I think that it should go without saying that this was also my first time viewing this sequel. Now that I've seen this one, I'm going to have to say that I'm having second thoughts about giving the original film a perfect score, as even though it was a great movie, this sequel topped it in just about every way. Maybe I should pull a Spinal Tap and bump this one up to eleven?

I'm going to assume that you fine readers have either seen the first film or are a fan of the comics, otherwise, you probably wouldn't be reading this review (and you'd be pretty lost after popping the disc in). Therefore, I'm going to skip the introductions and just say that the X-Men that we've come to know and love - Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Rogue (Anna Paquin), and Cyclops (James Marsden) - have returned for another battle against the forces of evil, and this time, said evil comes in the form of a military scientist of some sort by the name of William Stryker (Brian Cox).

Stryker, you see, hates mutants with a passion for reasons that will become clear later in the film; I won't say why, but I will say that he wants to wipe them off the face of the planet and that he has the means to potentially do so thanks to some type of serum that allows him to control the minds of mutants as he sees fit. He uses this serum to bring Wolverine's female counterpart Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) to his assistance, but more importantly to the plot, he also uses it to control the mind of a kidnapped Xavier. The goal? Force Xavier to use Cerebro, telekinetically connect to all of the mutants in the world, and then destroy them.

Meanwhile, Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) has busted her pal Magneto (Ian McKellen) out of his plastic prison, a couple of new mutants - Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), Pyro (Aaron Stanford), and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) - have popped up and must decide whether to side with Magneto or the X-Men in this battle, Wolverine finds new clues regarding his true identity, and of course, the X-Men must rescue their mentor and save themselves as well as their fellow mutants. Surprisingly, Magneto joins forces with the X-Men for this battle, and to say that there's a lot going on would be an understatement.

Yes, this storyline is a lot more involved than that which was found in the previous film, and this is one of the biggest perks of the film. Each and every last one of the characters is given their time to shine and make a "name" for themselves for those of us who didn't follow the comics, and the plot provides us with everything that a sequel should: it expands upon the various fragments of the storyline from the first film just enough to satisfy us but not quite enough so that we won't want to see the next movie, and of course, there's plenty of new aspects of this universe presented which leave us - assuming we're back in 2003 - anxiously awaiting the next sequel.

The film was also shot to appeal to both the casual moviegoer (again, such as myself in this particular case) as well as the fans of the source material. Take, for example, the final scene of the film involving Jean Grey - there are two radically different ways that viewers will take this scene depending on their knowledge of the universe, and regardless of whether or not you knew what that scene was going to lead to, it worked out damned well with the way it was shot and what it signified. There's also plenty of subtle nods to the source material that the fans will appreciate, but at the same time, these never seem out of place for those of us who don't "get" them.

Remember those couple of paragraphs that I wrote in my review for the previous film? The ones about how ever since its launch back in the sixties, the X-Men comic has been seen as an allegory for discrimination against minorities? Go ahead and read that if you don't recall it, I'll wait. Back? Alright, this way of telling the story was just as good this time around, with the shining example being the scene in which Iceman "comes out" to his parents, after which his mother quizzically asks "Have you ever tried not being a mutant?" This particular query sounds just as stupid here as it does in real life when you hear about parents asking their kids if they could "You know, just quit being gay", and this is but one example of how this movie - this "lowly comic book movie" - is more poignant than a fair chunk of releases that are solely dedicated to exploring these issues.

Bottom line: I thought that the first film was perfect, and I think that this sequel is even better. Quite simply, everything about it just works; the storyline is solid, the acting is spot on, the introduction of Nightcrawler awoke my inner fanboy, and there are plenty of moments that pull a cheer out of us (Magneto's escape being a big one). Once again, I fully regret waiting so long to watch these movies. 10/10+1.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 08/04/2008, 11:11 AM
My favorite of the three films. This one just has a real sense of itself and feels like a comic book. Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler and Brian Cox as Stryker are both fantastic and help elevate this one far above the other two films. 10/10.
Edd #2: Edd - added 08/04/2008, 02:36 PM
Alan Cumming takes the cake in performances. Awesome story backlog's and character development. 10/10
Vash #3: Vash - added 08/06/2008, 10:18 AM
haha, good call on this one, man. SO good. the intro scene with nightcrawler, the prison break scene with magneto, the shot of the lake at the end... singer really kicked ass with this one on every level. this movie is what makes X3 one of the biggest disappointments of the last few years, but it still stands alone as one of the finest superhero movies to date, if not THE best.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added 05/25/2010, 01:36 AM
This is the best X-Men movie, so far,but I doubt they will make more. 10/10
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