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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.
CRAZY EXPLODEY GOODNESS! WOLVERINE KILLS A FUCKLOAD OF PEOPLE! GO SEE THIS NOW!
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