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X2 was written by Rubin and a guy named flanger, as GNU software.
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An experimental version of the 56K protocol before the v.90 standard was approved. Developed by USR. Its opposition was K56Flex, by Rockwell/Lucent/Hayes.

We got some spoilers a'comin! Watch yer back!

X2 – 2003
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Michael Dougherty and Daniel P. Harris (and a whole bunch of uncredited guys)

A strange dark skinned, teleporting mutant attacks the White House and almost succeeds in killing the President. In response to this, the President OKs a raid on Xavier’s School for the Gifted led by Gen. William Stryker. Most of the mutants are able to escape, but Stryker’s knowledge (gained from the still-imprisoned Magneto) about Professor X and the mansion allow him capture both the Professor and Cyclops and take control of Cerebro. It is up to the rest of the team to find Stryker’s secret base and stop his plan of using the Professor’s powers to destroy all mutants everywhere.



Isn't that all that really needs to be said? But since I'm an XP whore, I'll say more.

Most of the character development in the film is reserved for the troubled relationships between the couples of Wolvie & Jean Grey and Rogue & Iceman. There are some pretty good comments about trying to date someone who you can’t have physical contact with, but I would have liked to have seen the psychological aspects of this explored a little more. This has gotta suck for the Iceman :-). Poor Iceman also has to come out of the closet to his family about his mutant powers. There is a little bit done with Pyro, as he acts as an Anakin Skywalker-type character who feels that using restraint is only letting his powers go to waste. This is good, as the actor in the role is better than Hayden Christensen was in Episode II and the character does not come off as a total whiny bitch. Speaking of whiny bitches, does anybody like Cyclops? He’s barely in the movie to begin with and when is around all he does is cry and mope.

The rest of the characters essentially exist to stand around and use the powers and look cool when needed, not that this is a bad thing.

The first two major action sequences (Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House and the raid on the school) fucking rock! Wolverine going berserk on various special forces agents as Colossus leads the way and helps the children escape is easily the best part of the movie. The rest are well-done, but unable to hold up to the high standards set up by the first two, although Wolverine’s final battle with Deathstrike is suitably visceral, with the two of them simply cutting and stabbing the hell out of each other. Overall, the film really manages to deliver on its promises of big spectacle, but I can't help with think The Matrix Reloaded is going to kick its ass in two weeks.

There is one flashback shot of Wolverine standing in the hallway of the Weapon-X project, screaming in terror as blood streams down his hands from popping out his claws for the first time. That was some cool-ass freaky-deaky shit.

All of the characters perform very well in their respective roles (no “Do you know what happens to a frog when it gets struck by lightning?” line readings here), but that might be due to the fact that Halle Berry only has about 15 minutes of screen time. Ian McKellen seems take special delight in Magneto, giving him equal parts gravitas and dry, dark humor. He is also responsible for two of my favorite moments in the movie, when Magneto sucks out the iron-enriched blood of a prison guard and uses the resulting metal to make his escape, and when he simultaneously pulls the pins on all of Strykers men’s grenades in order to clear out a room. Hugh Jackman also yet again steals the show as Logan.

This film is better than the first movie in every way. My main qualms with the original X-Men were that it felt very much like it was done on the cheap, and that the score (something I usually never notice) was so bad that it managed to detract from the movie. Both of these are remedied, the bigger budget giving this movie a much grander scale and frequent Bryan Singer collaborator John Ottman being brought in to do a proper score.

It's obvious by the ending of this movie that the X-Men 3 will deal with the Phoenix Saga. I hope it gets made and they do it up big time by adding Sentinels.

If this movie doesn’t break $100 million in its opening weekend, I will punch myself. Ack! Turns out I was wrong, only $85.5 mil. Thwack!

Patrick Stewart ... Professor Charles Xavier
Hugh Jackman ...... Logan/Wolverine
Ian McKellen ...... Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Halle Berry ....... Ororo Munroe/Storm
Famke Janssen ..... Dr. Jean Grey
James Marsden ..... Scott Summers/Cyclops
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos .... Mystique/Raven Darkholme
Brian Cox ......... Gen. William Stryker
Alan Cumming ...... Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler
Bruce Davison ..... Senator Robert Kelly
Anna Paquin ....... Marie D'Ancanto/Rogue
Shawn Ashmore ..... Bobby Drake/Iceman
Kelly Hu .......... Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike
Aaron Stanford .... John Allerdyce/Pyro
Daniel Cudmore .... Piotr Rasputin/Colossus
Spoilers and so forth. You have been warned

I would like to start off my review by defending the actor who played Cyclops in the movie. Cyclops is a whiny character in the comic books too.

As an avid reader of the comic books will tell you, the mutant powers in X-Men have always been a subtle to not so subtle metaphor for homosexuality - see Randofu's writeup in this nodeshell. In the movie, this is ratcheted up a few notches. For example, when Bobby tells his parents about his...er...abilities, his mother asks him if he could try not being a mutant - the writer is trying to make the point that homosexuality is less a choice than it is an expression of one's self, blah blah blah. Also, Commander Stryker is angry at Xavier because he couldn't "cure" his son of being a mutant, to which Charles answers that being a mutant is not a disease, blah blah blah.

But enough of that; here's where I attempt to cover what the noder above did not. As the person above me said, this movie is better than the original in every way - though of course it does not go beyond being a silly action flick; this is the x-men after all (you were expecting perhaps Citizen Kane?) Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler is an added treat due to his superb performance, not to mention the fact that Nightcrawler's teleport ability is soooo cool looking - much better than it looked in the comic books. Patrick Stewart is still alive and kicking in this movie, proving once again he has what it takes - with each new X-Men movie I am more and more convinced that Stewart really is Xavier.

My three problems with the movie: the actor who plays Bobby's mutant hating brother shows up later in the movie as one of the mutant children the X-Men are trying to rescue - huh? (correct me if I am wrong, I didn't watch the credits) Also, for some reason the ship the X-Men use has no countermeasures on board; this is done so that the writers can throw in more mutant effects, but it's a cheap trick. Now this is being really picky, but in the ending scene Jean Grey says that evolution normally takes thousands of years - try millions - and states that occassionally evolution takes a leap forward - no it does not, unless everyone on the earth was exposed to massive amounts of radiation and somehow survived. If you want to make the X-Men story sound realistic, fine. But don't lie in order to do that.

Finally I have to give props for the ending scene - well done.

On the subject of the Pheonix Saga: I would have to say the next movie will have to deal with this. The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Without giving anything away, the Pheonix has begun to take over Jean Grey and as such it is fairly impossible to ignore; the non-comic book reading movie watchers are probably very confused at this point - for those who haven't seen the movie, Jean Grey is inexplicably engulfed in flame in the second to last scene.
  • The Pheonix Saga is huge, it would take at least a whole movie to cover the material so if they do decide to make X3 about it the saga will easily fill the entire film.
  • It is the perfect plot line: it ups the ante thus allowing for a more significant story and better special effects, and it is already written out; all the writers have to do is make a few changes so it seems like they actually did something.

    So what does this all mean to you? If you liked the original, you'll love the sequel. If you didn't like the original, you may or may not like/love the sequel.

    Oh, and if you can figure out why T.H. White's classic novel The Once and Future King shows up twice in the movie, kudos. I'm stumped (for some possible ideas, check out the nodeshell The Once and Future King). Possible ideas noders have informed me of:
  • althorrat says that it could have to do with the title of the novel The Once and Future King. Just as Arthur will come back, Jean will come back.

    On the subject of Punctuated Equilibrium as a reason for sudden evolution -this is not a very valid explanation of what happens in the X-Men. For one thing, people are not very likely to sleep with someone because they are a mutant, and there is no evidence that Mutants survive longer; in fact given their hunted status they would be expected to live shorter lives. Secondly, in the X-Men movie it is not the offspring of mutants who are talked about as having incredible powers. It is the offspring of non-mutants, which suggests incredible amounts of mutation on the earth for no particular reason. That said, it was a great movie and I pardon their gross innaccuracies.

  • Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Use Your Judgement.

    BrooksMarlin and Cap'nSalty have expressed pretty well the plot and I share their general feelings about the movie; as action flicks go, X2 is pretty good. (I do, however, wonder how it managed to get a PG-13 rating; it was definitely more violent in all the ways that count than, say, The Matrix Reloaded, which got an R rating. IMHO, this is just another example of how skewed the movie rating system is. But I digress...)

    That said, I'd like to point out some technical problems with the movie. I'm excluding those problems that it inherited from the comic book (e.g. the impossible mutation rate required for the mutants in the Marvel Universe to exist), since there's not a whole lot the writers or director could really do about those.

  • Cap'nSalty already pointed out the problem with the ending monologue about evolution. The one at the beginning is similarly flawed. In the beginning, you hear Xavier talking about whether mutants are "the next evolution of humanity or a different species", or something to that effect. This makes no sense at all. If 'mutants' emerged as a new line of humans (and the whole idea is fraught with its own problems, but I'm not going to address those since they're inherited from the comic), then of course they're the "next evolution" of humans, regardless of whether they become the rule or not. And if they're a different species, they wouldn't be able to reproduce with regular humans (which they can).
  • Jason Stryker has apparently had a full frontal lobotomy. In that case, there's no way he could project as intelligent and cogently emotional image as he did. (Not to mention that how he can even understand Colonel Stryker's commands is a complete mystery.)
  • Nightcrawler couldn't use his power to sneak up on people or eavesdrop. In the comic, his teleportation leaves behind a pungent smell of brimstone. It would be quite noticeable.
  • Also, he couldn't do something like what he did to save Rogue. His power doesn't affect the laws of physics; if Rogue was falling at 50 m/s, she would still be moving 50 m/s when he teleported her back into the plane, which would probably kill her.
  • Why would a bullet to Wolverine's forehead even knock him unconscious? Moreover, considering how little skin there is in front of your skull in that area, it's obvious that the bullet penetrated the bone. How can that be? His skull is reinforced with adamantium!
  • Why didn't the X-Men reveal to the President that Senator Kelly was dead and that Mystique was masquerading as him? This would certainly be in line with Xavier's thinking.

    And now, some easter eggs:

  • Did you notice the names as Mystique was looking through Stryker's files? It went by too fast for me to catch them all, but right above Magneto's entry is "LeBeau, Remy" - Gambit's real name.
  • The pro-mutant debater on TV - from the debate Laurio (the security guard) yells at the bartender to shut off - is Hank McCoy, or Beast. The anti-mutant debater is Sebastian Shaw, or (I believe) Black Tom, who in the comics has a hand in creating at least one generation of Sentinels (someone correct me if I'm wrong).
  • A scan of the credits reveals Kea Wong as Jubilee. This is curious, since at no point during the movie do you see a girl who looks like Jubilee or has powers like hers. Possibly the writers or director simply wanted to find someone to call that in case they decide to bring Jubilee in as a main character in the next movie. tetrisboy and fuzzy and blue both claim to remember hearing someone being called "Jubilee" in the movie, although they remember it at different times.
  • We also see a very young Siryn (Banshee's daughter) and Kitty Pryde (a.k.a. Sprite or Shadowcat). All part of the skewing of the comic's chronology...
  • Finally, as Cap'nSalty noted, T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King is referenced twice. The first time it's simply Magneto reading it. The second time, which I think is key, is when Xavier is distracted, seeming to sense something; one of the children asks if he's alright, and he says cryptically, "Yes, I think everything's going to be alright after all." (or words to that effect). Then he starts talking about the novel. Now, The Once and Future King is about King Arthur's death and later return. We are given several unsubtle hints that the next movie will be about the Phoenix Saga, which is about Jean Grey's death and rebirth as the powerful Phoenix entity. It seems likely to me this is supposed to be a hint to anyone who might be familiar with the novel but not with the X-Men comic. (It's possible the first time is a hint that Magneto would once again rise - i.e., break out of prison and continue his war on humanity - but that may be stretching it.)

    If you've noticed any other problems or interesting things to note in the movie, or any error in the above, feel free to /msg me about it.
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