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"X-Men 2" is the second in the trilogy of "X-Men" movies and was released in 2003, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and Halle Berry.
The film opens with "Nightcrawler ( Alan Cummings ) a teleporting mutant attempting to assassinate the president of the United States, he fails and escapes, however the attempt does more damage to the public opinion of Mutants.
Meanwhile Wolverine reappears after trying to learn more about his origins, Storm ( Halle Berry ) and Jean Grey ( Famke Janssen ) manage to aprehend Nightcrawler who appears confused and unable to explain why he made the attempt on the presidents life.
Professor Xavier ( Patrick Stewart ) visit Magneto ( Sir Ian Mckellan ) in his specially made plastic prison to see if he had any part in the attack on the president, however after reading Magneto's mind he discovers that a Government agent, William Stryker ( Brian Cox ) has been extracting information from Magneto
And so the X-Men find themselves in a battle with Humans once again, however a human with a terrible Anti-Mutant Agenda, also they must contend with the escape and renewed threat from Magneto and his "brotherhood"
X2 ( as i'll call it from now on ) is a fine sequel to the original X-Men movie, which itself was a wonderful example of the superhero movie genre and re-invigorated the genre itself, X2 takes that winning formula and expands upon it.
All the actors do a fine job, in particular Sir Ian McKellan is wonderful once again as Magneto and manages to convey both the cold calculating terror and the despair behind the villain that comes with him wanting to preserve his species
One downside I found with this movie is that the plot suffers a little in places with plot holes, which I think is down to Bryan Singer having to juggle much more new characters in this movie than in the original, and I think it suffers from that a little, however its only a minor gripe and X2 is a worthy addition to the comic-book, superhero movie genre.
More often than not sequels disappoint. I have never read the x men comics but I enjoyed the cartoon series as a youngster. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the first film but with its success came the inevitable sequel two years later. Director Bryan Singer was brought back on board as director and the movie was released as X2 or X2: X-men united in 2003.
It's been a few months since the first film ended and the team are settling back into their lives at the school. Rogue has got together with fellow student Bobby and Wolverine is off in search of answers from his past. Things don't stay calm for long and when a mutant known as Nightcrawler tries to assassinate the president, the Mutant Registration Act looks increasingly likely. At the helm of the offensive is Stryker, a man with a colourful past who storms the school, trying to capture as many mutants as possible. The few who escape must form an unlikely allegiance with Magneto and his brotherhood of mutants if they are to stop Stryker and free their kind.
I think it would be more or less pointless to watch this film without seeing the first one, not because you wouldn't be able to follow the plotline but because of the volume of characters. The first film introduced the core group of mutants within Xavier's school and Magnetos brotherhood. This film then builds on that, adding more mutants and focusing on their stories. The mutants from the first film are developed and we get to know them better but all the legwork has been done, enabling this movie to get straight into the story.
The film starts of quite fast with the attack on the president and then moves along at a good pace throughout. It starts building the tension almost immediately until the adrenaline really gets going and its fingernail biting stuff for the final half hour.
The film isn't predictable either; the allegiance between the x-men and the brotherhood balances precariously throughout the film, Stryker appears to have something to do with Wolverines past, so we're never quite sure if he will stay as part of the team or go it alone and the film also gives you the sense that it isn't going to be tied up at the end with everyone living happily ever after.
The film draws some disturbing parallels between this world and our own. The discrimination and prejudice that the mutants are subjected to echoes in our own society. There is a touching scene between Bobby and his parents when he tells them he is a mutant, he is afraid of what they might think much like many young people are.
Once again Magneto makes a fantastic villain; I was never really convinced as to whether he would stick with the x-men, as he always seems to have his own agenda. The addition of Stryker as the bad guy adds an interesting dimension as he and Magneto fight on opposite sides but have many of the same ideas. I was hoping for more information into the story behind his involvement with Wolverine and was kept interested with glimpses of what might have happened.
I was disappointed not to see more of Scott (Cyclops) or Orora (Storm), both their characters seems to be pushed into a corner. It was nice to see some new mutants such as Colossus and The Beast, these were only small glimpses but hopefully their roles will be greater in the next instalment.
There seemed to be a lot more action in this film, probably because it didn't need to spend time getting to know as many characters. Some of the fight sequences are fantastic and the special effects really enhance the shots. Wolverine fight against fellow adamantium coated mutant Deathstrike is seamless.
It's great to see all the actors return to reprise their roles. There is nothing worse than a character being continued with a different actor. I can only think of when Rachel Weiss didn't return for the third Mummy film (who can blame her), and I just couldn't accept her replacement.
Ian Mckellan is fantastic again as Magneto; his charm gives the character an emotional magnetism as well as a physical one. For me Patrick Stewart is Charles Xavier, his gentle nature and strong mind work so well for this role.
Hugh Jackman has also really become his character; he gets the balance of Wolverines personality just right. Famke Jessen also manages to get just so, portraying the seductive but intelligent Jean Grey. Rebecca Romjin makes mystique a completely sensual but deadly creature; she definitely gets to prove herself here.
I was excited to see Film Four showing the X-men films last week so was most disappointed to find that the first film was shown one night and the third one the next, completely bypassing what I consider to be the best of the three. Hopefully it has been saved for a later date because this is a really good watch.
Overall this is a really exciting film; it thrilling from the beginning and keeps going right up until the end. There were a couple of shocks and although it was obvious things had been left open for a sequel, enough was wrapped up to keep you satisfied. It can currently be bought on Amazon for £4.77 or in a box set with the other two films for £8.99 which is much better value. This is a certificate 12 as there are scenes of violence, of a sexual nature and some offensive language.
Written by Zak Penn, David Hayter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and Bryan Singer, and directed by Bryan Singer X-Men 2 is the follow up to the hugely successful X-men, released back in May 2003.
Just as the dust had settled and things were getting back to normal, Whitehouse security is breached and there is an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the President of the USA (Cotter Smith) by a mutant that goes by the name of "Nightcrawler" (Alan Cumming). The failed attempt naturally makes the headlines resulting in a public out-cry and the tension between humans and mutants is ignited as there is renewed support for the Mutant Registration Act.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is keen to find out about his history and ventures north of the border in his quest. Mean while, William Stryker (Brian Cox), a military leader, makes it his sole aim to rid the world of mutants and begins by interrogating Magneto (Ian McKellen) and starting with Professor Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) school for "gifted" children.
The mutant onslaught carries on and Professor Xavier's X-men, Cyclops (James Marsden), Jean (Famke Janssen), Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Paquin) come together once more, however this time they are joined by new recruits in the form of Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford).
Do the mutants of the world unite to fight for their common course of survival? What happens to Magneto? Does Wolverine ever find out about his past? What becomes fo the school for gifted children?
Whilst the story line is a bit unrealistic, even when you consider it is a comic book adaptation (after all the "goodies" and "baddies" should never fight side by side), it is entertaining nonetheless. This film rattles along at a good pace, but not so fast you have to concentrate on everything that is going on to ensure you can follow it (I hate movies like that), it ensures the audience remains captivated. Not once did I wish it would end, nor did I start clock watching at any point as I was hooked throughout. Not an easy task, with a short attention span like mine.
The producers have done a great job casting for the roles and all actors and actresses do the hero they are representing justice. The acting is spot on, and I actually thought it was quite believable. Once again Hugh Jackman steals the show in the acting stakes. He is simply brilliant and it is so good how he shows the human side most of the time but the 'animal' during the aggressive and fighting scenes, just like in the comic. Wolverine is also a lot more violent in X-Men 2 than X-men 1, which is a good thing. It seems that Jackman can do no wrong in his role but then Wolverine is a crowd favourite and it is always difficult to criticise your favourites. That said, Alan Cumming is also particularly good as Nightcrawler.
There is also plenty of eye candy, which also helps to keep the audience interested. Once again Famke Janssen looks absolutely stunning, Halle Berry looks great (but in a weird sort of way) and Rebecca Romijn has a fantastic figure. The song "nice legs, shame about the face" springs to mind in her blue spray-on costume, but good on her for having the confidence to do it.
The special effects are adequate, although they are not mind blowing, and I think the producers could have done a bit more with them especially given the technology around, which was even very good back in 2003.
A great film needs a great soundtrack, and unfortunately X-Men 2 had no soundtrack whatsoever. I think good audio compliments the visuals and adds that little bit extra to a film. Audio doesn't have to consist of just soundtracks and "songs" as sound effects can also enhance the mood just as well, if not better in some circumstances. In my opinion the sound effects are lacking in this film, which is a shame.
Overall the producers have done a fantastic job with this sequel. Keeping the die-hard comic fans happy and producing a movie that your average cinema goer is going to enjoy can't be an easy task, but I think it has been cracked with X-Men 2. Films are meant to be entertaining and X-Men 2 definitely is that. It is not the best comic book adaptation out there but it is very good nonetheless and will have you starring at the screen for an hour and a half.
Run time - 133 minutes
Certificate - 12A
4 awards and 32 other nominations
(This review has been posted on other review sites under the name of Yackers1)
Three years after the first X-Men, X-Men 2 (X2) was released. Not only was it a successful sequel but it's become the best of the trilogy.
Following on the plot, mutants are still not accepted in society and the struggle between them and humans is very much present. However, the difference in X2 is that the "good and bad" sides of the mutants actually have to form an alliance. They do this to take down William Stryker, a scientist who is trying to use Xavier's powers to create a device that will reveal locations of mutants. Magneto (Ian McKellen) is great in this, just like the first, especially now that the mutants work together at times.
One great improvement are the special effects. In the first X-Men they felt dated and quite unrealistic as it was nine years ago. X-Men 2 is much better in this department right from the first scene, to the last.
It was interesting to see Wolverine discover more of his mysterious past and I'm glad they developed this especially because he was the main character in the first.
This really is one of the best sequels for a movie series. It wasn't a cash cow or a time filler, it was exactly what fans of the first and the genre were hoping for. They couldn't have done much better and it's definitely my favourite of the three.
X Men 2 picks up where the first film left off, with Wolverine heading north to Alkali Lake to explore his mysterious past. But while he is out of contact, relationships between mutants and humanity deteriorate further when a blue-skinned mutant makes an attempt on the life of the President.
Following this, a military scientist named William Stryker convinces the President to order a military intervention on a known stronghold of the mutants, Charles Xavier's academy. Professor X orders his X Men to investigate the attack on the President, to mitigate the harm it has caused. Storm and Jean Grey attempt to track down the would-be assassin, while Charles visits his old friend Magneto in his plastic prison. Wolverine returns in time to be left babysitting the younger mutants in the mansion. Which is when Stryker's forces attack.
Stryker has more intricate plans than just a little shock and awe, and with Professor X and Cerebro at the heart of his scheme, courtesy of a mind control serum; the war between Mutants and Mankind has truly been joined.
X Men 2 gets a top-notch 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer, resounding in clarity and a joy to behold.
The production design for the film is excellent, building on the splendid work done for the first film, although the X-Plane gets a redesign to suit the demands of the second story. We have also reached that point where effects are limited only by one's imagination and wallet, so this allows for plenty of stunning set pieces in this film.
You have a choice between DD 5.1 and DTS English, with optional English subtitles. The sound design for this film is sublime. Once you have seen the opening sequence, with Nightcrawler making his way around the White House, you'll want to kiss your speakers in gratitude for the experience. An outstanding musical score, clear dialogue, it is the textbook definition of a perfect audio track.
A 2-disc Special Edition means oodles of extra goodness for your delectation. But this time, there is an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach that means it's all a little hit and miss.
Aside from the film though, all that Disc 1 contains are the commentaries. The first is with director Bryan Singer and cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, while the second features producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter with writers David Hayter, Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty. But since both tracks pretty much cover the same ground about the film's making of, you wonder why they bothered with the repetition. If it's worth anything, Singer's commentary is a little dry and gappy, while Donner's is more light-hearted. Both are optionally subtitled in English.
Disc 2 contains the rest of the copious extra features, divided into appropriate sections.
History Of The X-Men contains The Secret Origin of the X-Men, which lasts 15 minutes and takes us from the first comics all the way to first film, as well as Nightcrawler Reborn, which lasts 8 minutes and is an exploration of the character.
Pre Production has three featurettes. Nightcrawler Attack is one of those multi-angle featurettes that looks at the opening sequence of the film, from storyboard to final product. Evolution in the Details: Designing X2 sees Guy Dyas take us on a tour of the many sets of the film, and discuss the production design. This lasts 18 minutes. To round off this section there is a United Colours of X featurette that looks at the Costume design over 9 minutes.
The meatiest section of the disc is Production, which contains 6 featurettes. Wolverine/Deathstrike Fight Rehearsal is just that and lasts 90 seconds, with a couple of stunt performers having fun with knives.
Introducing The Incredible Nightcrawler sees actor Alan Cumming talk about his memorable character for 10 minutes. This is accompanied by a 4-minute time-lapse film of the make up being applied, as well as a 3-minute Nightcrawler stunt rehearsal, which just appears to be one of the angles from the earlier featurette.
FX2 lasts 25 minutes and looks at the special effects sequences in the film. Technically this should be in post-production, but as there are also some stunt sequences highlighted it doesn't make much difference. Finally, and most significantly is an hour long making of featurette, where the cast and crew all contribute to the behind the scenes look at the movie.
Post Production has a couple of bits. Requiem For Mutants: The Music of X 2 pretty much speaks for itself, and lasts 12 minutes, while X2 Global Webcast Highlights sees snippets of interviews with the cast and crew that were originally broadcast on the Internet, and lasts 17 minutes.
There are 11 deleted scenes in all, and as most of them really only add a few extra frames they are mostly superfluous. There are 3 trailers and copious stills and sketches in the Galleries.
X Men 2 is the ideal summer blockbuster, building on the first film, and in almost every way a bigger and more stunning experience, certainly delivering more bang for the buck, while retaining the sensibilities and strength of character that so defined the first film as something special. It's certainly a joy to see these fantastic characters fulfilling their potential with a mega-effects budget behind them.
The story is much more epic, fitting the set-up of the first film, that of a war between mutants and humanity, and every dramatic moment in the film is given suitable weight. Yet I can't help preferring the first film to the second, despite its more obvious flaws.
The strength of character remains at the forefront for the sequel, although in some respects this has become the Wolverine and Storm show. Hugh Jackman once again embodies Wolverine, and his search for his past lies at the heart of the second story. Halle Berry swaps wigs, and more noticeably loses the accent, as she dominates more of the proceedings. It's a positive move as we get to see what Storm is capable of as a mutant.
Once again, it is down to Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart to lend gravitas to the film as Magneto and Xavier. Such powerhouse performances at the heart of what is essentially a comic book movie give it a strength that gives appeal to a wide audience. The addition of Brian Cox as Stryker simply adds to this.
Character interactions are finely observed, and I love the dynamic that forms between Nightcrawler and Storm, as the two debate the comparative values of anger and faith. Rogue and Bobby supply the emotional arc of the film to a lesser extent, as the two attempt a romance despite their powers, but more central is the flirtation between Wolverine and Jean Grey, although for the second film running, it means that poor Cyclops is sidelined for much of the film.
Making much more of an impact, both visually and dramatically is the character of Pyro, rebellious mutant with an impulse control problem.
Set pieces in the film are truly spectacular, not just for the profusion of digital effects, but because they reveal the characters that have only been hinted at in the first film. Wolverine finally gets to cut loose with those adamantium claws of his when Stryker's men attack the mansion. Nightcrawler has one of the most memorable entrances in movie history, Storm literally brews up her namesake when the X Plane comes under attack, and Mystique's assault on Stryker's base is brilliantly choreographed. Then there is the whole Jean Grey/Phoenix storyline that is set into motion here to awesome effect.
While X Men 2 continues with the alienation and discrimination allegory from the first film, I feel that in its rush to present an epic and meaningful storyline, it has sacrificed a little something. While there is no danger of the characters slipping into caricature, there is a sense that unlike the first film, there is not much of an attempt to present them as more than just their powers, which sort of goes against the message of the film.
As part of a series it matters less, as the first film did the important part of the character development, but as a stand-alone film, this hurts it, with really only the Nightcrawler coming across as fully developed and rounded. I also feel that the sequel has lost the intimacy of the first. It's a bigger film, the budget is apparent with every frame, but it no longer seems as if the characters drive the story. The relationship that formed between Rogue and Wolverine is pretty much absent here, yet it was at the core of the first film.
X Men 2 stands out in terms of spectacle most certainly, and the story is excellent, but what made the first film so special was its humanity for want of a better word, and that's one reason why I still prefer it.
X Men 2 is great entertainment, but the passage of time has allowed me to reflect, and it's lost some of its lustre. Compared to the first film it is very much a big budget event movie, and while the strength of character and depth of story is still there, the message just as powerfully conveyed, there is just a hint of coldness and contrivance about the whole thing. The disc itself is splendid, great picture and sound and a bucket-load of extras promising value for money. For fans this is an easy purchase.
Now, it's always rare for the sequel to surpass the first in any film trilogy/quadrologically/bisexualalogy....or whatever you call movie sets that aren't trilogies....But X 2 does this very successfully, through the use of a few new great characters, and a thoroughly enthralling script!
When a powerful military man with an agenda, William Stryker (Brian Cox) decides to use mutants to fulfil his own genocide related plans, the x men under professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) become both threatened and heavily involved in the plot, but when they find themselves out of their depth, they must also join forces with the more sinister Magneto (Ian Mckellen) a man with a much harsher attitude to 'normal' people, and who is both dangerous but also a necessity...
The thing that for me made this movie so entertaining is that you have the good good guys (The x men) The bad guys (Stryker) and the inbetween morally questionable group (Magneto). The result of this is a wide range of political ideas, that are very relative in today's society, such as the morality of killing those who would kill you, or saving those who would kill you. For a film aimed largely at the younger population, these are fairly complex issues to explore, but i felt that it was handled in a way that would make my old philosophy teacher proud.
The plot itself and the scenes involved are quite epic, ranging from a brall in the white house and a fun confrontation in a museum, to a fight for survival in Xavier's school and an epic mutant battle inside a dam, all of which are full of retractable blades, laser beams, telekinetic powers, and teleporting whup ass skills! This is fast, furious, and fun throughout.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is the key character here, as he explores his shady past, and tries to uncover what exactly happened to him all those years ago, and the reason behind his indestructable body and claws. His famous temper is excellently explored in this film, with one excellent example involving an intruder at the school...
Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) is also fantastic here as the teleporting and very acrobatic ex circus act, who lends his fighting skills to this movie and, unfortunately, only this one, which is a shame as he is clearly one of the funnest mutants out there, and Cumming's acting skills are also on top form here.
Although the acting from Jackman, Mckellen, and Stewart is all admirable, for me it was Brian Cox who stole the show largely. His part as the twisted William Stryker is about as convincing as bad guys can be, as he appears to revell in the pain he causes throughout, and at no point do you question just how much of a complete ******* he is!
This is a fairly aggressive movie throughout, but actual blood and swearing are kept to a bare minimum, and much of the violence is simply punching and kicking. This is an acceptable family viewing film, and i can't see why it would offend anyone, as it is fun and fast throughout, and aimed at a very wide audience.
This is definately the best of the x men films, and is thoroughly entertaining, with great action scenes throughout. The cast and acting here is great, but of course the mutants steal the show, with a wide range of fun and exciting abilities on show. This is one of those movies that is near impossible not to enjoy!
X-men 2 (X2)
Director: Bryan Singer
Release Date: 2003
Runtime: 133 mins Approx
=== Plot ===
After the events at the end of the first movie, Magneto is still locked inside his plastic prison, and is deemed secure. However after a a attack on the United States President by an assassin mutant, once again leaves the humans mistrusting the Mutants.
General William Stryker, goes to extreme lengths to eradicate all mutants, by breaking into the Proffessor Xaviers school for mutants, and starts kidnapping the students, who are under Wolverines watch while the rest of the X-men are away searching for the assassin who attacked the President.
After Magneto escapes from his prison, he temporarily teams up with the X-men to stop Stryker from wiping out the entire mutant population.
=== My Opinion. ===
I saw this when it was first released at the cinema, and the beggining part with Nightcrawler trying to reach the president while fighting off his body guards, was at the time a extremely good opener. The special effects on that scene were amazing at that time.
The acting is once again top knotch, and the director Bryan Singer, chose the perfect people to play the roles of the comic book characters. Ian Mckellin is once again very good as Magneto, as is Hugh Jackman.
The knew characts in this film are Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and 'Pyro' (Aaron Stanford), who add something new to the story, although 'Pyro' doesn't play as big of a role here as he does in the third X-Men movie.
Towards the end I did start loosing a little interest. Especially where the Cerebro part of the movie was happening. And due to the running time it does slightly drag. And could have been made much shorter by taking some of the unneeded scenes out of the movie.
I bought this a long time ago and can't remember the exact price although I think it was around the £4 - £6 mark, though I'm almost certain you will be able to get it much cheaper now.
It was pretty hard deciding what rating to give this movie, because it does slightly become boring towards the end, but I'm going to give it 4 out of 5, because I realised after it finished, how much I actually did enjoy it.
(Also posted on Ciao.)
When Bryan Singer directed X Men in 2000, he always maintained that it was merely setting the scene for a bigger and better film version of the much loved comic book. In 2003's X Men 2, he shows what he meant as he directs a returning cast on top form and with a meaningful plotline.
A Little History
X-Men is a comic book creation from Stan Lee and Jack kirby. Conceived in 1963, the comic book still goes strong to this day, and tells adventures of a group of humans who differ due to genetic evolution and are known as 'mutants'. This is the second feature film of the comic book series.
This second installment of the X Men films hits s much deeper note than the first, touching on the effect the mutants and their exposure has on the rest of the world, as well as the fear of the unknown and the unfamiliar. After an assassination attempt on the President of the United States by an unknown mutant, the X-Men find themselves joining forces with Magneto and his henchmen in order to save mutants as a whole. The assassination attempt has heightened the fear in the human race, and they are calling for the extinction of the mutant race! It is the joining of enemies for the greater good.
The Cast and Performances
The original cast from 2000's X Men return in their roles for X2. HUgh Jackman performs very well as Wolverine, and in this film we get to see the true beast behind 'Logan' as the Xavier Mansion comes under threat. Halle Berry as Storm, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey and James Marsden as Cyclops do very well in a more supporting role, deferring to Wolverine as the X Man under the spotlight. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen do steal, though, as Professor Xavier and Magneto respectively. The interaction between them and the realisation that they have to work as a team comes across very well on the screen. Brian Cox also gives a good turn as Colonel Stryker. The newest main character in the film is the mutant Nightcrawler, the German teleporter played beautifully by Alan Cumming.
This is a very good sequel to X-Men. The first film kind of paved the way for a film such as this by setting the scene and providing an overview on the X-Men and mutants. X2 has much deeper political topics on show, and they are handled with great maturity. People may find parity in these issues with many issues at large in the world currently as well, particularly with terrorism so much in the fore these days. Political unrest and a lack of trust are also dealt with, but the best part is that these are done so in a fantastical way. You never get the impression that this is TOO real, as it involves mutants, works of fiction. This combination of driving home real issues in such a creative manner makes this film work very well.
This follows the same mould as X Men in giving the comic book a more modern uplift, with the characters again appearing leather-clad. One of my few criticisms with the first film is that too much attention is paid to Wolverine in comparison with the other X-Men, and the same could be said here, too, of X Men 2. However, this time we have the deeper plotlines, which masks character favouring.
A criticism I have of this film is that at times it does seem to drag. I do not wish to contradict myself, and the plot is very good, but sometimes the script drags it out a bit too much. The film is 128 minutes in length, perhaps it could have been less.
A very good sequel, definitely in the ranks of sequels that are as good as the first film. I rate X Men 2 at 4 stars, as I have done X Men (2000).
The 2-disc edition contains some very good extras/special features. There are 2 audio commentaries. One of these is from Bryan Singer. There are deleted scenes, trailers and an image gallery, and some very useful and interesting mini-documentaries on the making of X-Men 2. Many questions are answered here, and reasons for the plot and characterisation are given.
The pick of the extras is the 'Multi-Angle Nightcrawler Sequence'. It shows how they are able to film Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, and is a great insight as to the special effects work involved with such a creation.
The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.97 new, both for the 1-disc and 2-disc edition.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk
Thanks for reading.
Whats it about?
The X-Men are forced to join together with Magnetos band to find out who is behind an assassination attempt on the President, which is being blamed on mutants.
Whos in it?
Once again, much of the attention is focussed on Hugh Jackmans excellent Wolverine even more so than in the first film. This is no bad thing, though, since he is easily one of the best X-Men and Jackman a great actor.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen once again provide excellent support as Professor X and Magneto, respectively. McKellen turns in a superbly nuanced performance, managing to elicit sympathy and understanding for Magneto, whilst at the same time, making him menacing enough to be convincing as an enemy. Stewart is slightly more hampered this time around by a part which requires him to spend most of the film in a coma, but still produces a fine performance when conscious!
Top billing in the normal human stakes goes to the fantastic Brian Cox. Single-minded and determined to destroy all mutants, he gives his turns in his usual high standard performance and brings a real sense of evil to the film.
Once again, the key characters are supported by a range of other mutants from the comics, including Halle Berrys Storm, James Marsdens Cyclops and Famke Janssens Jean Grey.
Is it any good?
One of the best things is that X2 really feels like a proper sequel. Theres a real sense of continuity between X-Men and X2. Watch them back to back (as I did recently) and youll notice how carefully plot strands have been interwoven, so that they fit together. This really helps to give a convincing atmosphere.
Thats not to say that you need to have seen the original first, though. X2 works well as a stand-alone film in its own right, with a strong storyline and characters. The plot is simple enough for newcomers to pick up straight away, without the need for lots of tedious explanations and recapping. True, you will get more out of it if youve seen the first film, but its not essential.
As with X-Men, the film captures you right from the start. A superb action sequence (featuring Nightcrawlers attempt on the Presidents life) gets things started and hints at what is to come: the action set-pieces are bigger, faster, more exciting and better than the original. Having made himself comfortable with the X-Universe, Director Bryan Singer now knows exactly how to deliver a thrilling film with these characters. Set-pieces, though, always feel like they are essential to the plot they are never included simply because a bit of excitement is needed to pick up the pace of the film.
Despite the action sequences, X2 is still quite a thought-provoking film, with some of the more dialogue heavy scenes making you think about issues like discrimination and segregation. It never feels preachy, so if you want to watch it purely on the level of a superhero/action film, youll get just as much out of it. The plot is gripping and exciting, without ever feeling contrived and (if youve never read the comics) may contain some real surprises.
Special effects-wise, despite only being two years difference between them, X2 represents a big leap forward, with bigger, more ambitious and more convincing effects. Credit must also go to the make-up artists, who create some superb mutants particularly Nightcrawler and Mystique. Done badly, they could have looked silly and strained the credibility of the whole film, but they look totally realistic.
Its a shame, then, that some of the criticisms of the first film have not been addressed. Particularly the problem that too many of the mutants are left with little to do. Once again, Storm, Cyclops and (to an extent) Jean Grey are very underused only really popping up when the script demands their particular powers.
As a result, some parts of the script dont quite have the emotional impact that you might expect. The continuing Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean Grey love triangle never quite packs the punch it should and, beyond a bit of light verbal sparring, the two male characters never really give any sense of being love rivals.
The film also becomes a little generic at the end, descending into James Bond style invade and destroy the enemys underground base antics. Not that these sequences arent perfectly exciting and worthy as set-pieces. Its just that, with the fresh and innovative feel that much of the rest of the film has, you do feel that this section might have been a bit more ambitious. Theres a definite sense of seen it all before, although it does rescue itself with a very daring finale.
Despite some minor flaws, X2 is easily the best of the X-Men movies. The lead characters are settled and comfortable in their roles, and the X-Universe feels familiar to most viewers. An expanded and more ambitious storyline makes for thrills, excitement and some genuine surprising revelations. Its just a shame that Singer jumped ship before X-Men: The Last Stand came out. Imagine what he could have done with that!
Director: Bryan Singer
Running time: approx. 133 minutes
On the TV in the bar scene, Dr Hank McCoy (aka Beast) is on the screen. When he finally made his full appearance in X3, however, he was played by a different actor Frasiers Kelsey Grammar.
The law of diminishing returns states that sequels will always be inferior to the originals- which clearly isn't true, as "Aliens" and "The Empire Strikes Back" prove. X2 is a further exception to that rule, director Bryan Singer himself stating that the first movie was merely a "trailer" for this deeper delve into Marvel Comics' mutant superhero team.
Despite expanding an already crowded cast, Singer manages to balance his attentions and keep things taut and pacey (only Halle Berry's Storm loses out), all the while delivering the kind of action set-pieces that X1 cried out for. But it's in the quieter, more dramatic moments that the sequel really gets under the skin, whether it's Wolverine's (Hugh Jackman) ongoing quest to uncover his background, the tense build-up to the X-mansion invasion, or the wonderful "coming out" scene in which Iceman's (Shawn Ashmore) obtuse mom asks, "Have you ever tried "not" being a mutant?"
With a production as grand as X2's, we've rightly come to expect the DVD release to be as comprehensive as possible. Well, this double-discer gets pretty close to living up to expectations, featuring extensive behind-the-scenes footage, visual-effects breakdowns, interviews with all the key players, commentaries and deleted scenes (including an ace, shouldn't-have-been-cut sequence showing Patrick Stewart's Professor X and Cyclops "escaping" from the dam).
Much of it's comprised of the usual gushing-heads material (with a certain Ms Berry notable by her absence), but it's good to have Hugh Jackman's occasional quips and Alan Cumming's catty remarks about his make-up process to dispel the love-in. Even betterm Singer and DoP Tom Sigel provide some jokey banter for their commentary (the better of the two on offer), culminating with an end-credits discussion on how "X3" should really be a musical...
No matter what this movie tried to do, the story arch of the X-Men was always going to be far too complicated for viewers to just dive in! You must watch the first movie before watching the fantastic X2, or at least have some previous knowledge of the X-Men.
Unlike Spider-Man the development and history of the X-Men is, and is always going to be, complex! Even more so than this movie touches on!
I was always awaiting the X-Men movies but at the same time was dreading it! Thankfully the first movie put my mind at ease (please read my review) so I was left to enjoy the second instalment!
This movie follows on from the first (Eg the imprisonment of Magneto) and concentrates on a government agent looking to eradicate the existence of mutants altogether!
With the kidnap of the world's most powerful mutant, Charles Xavier, can his team of highly trained mutants, known as the X-Men, save the day?
Look out for new characters such as Lady Deathstrike and Nightcrawler but also for the development of characters such as Iceman and Pyro!
This movie is an absolute Godsend to the Superhero genre! It is the only movie of its kind to successfully have the world as we know it realistically mixed with a comic book version!
The movie touches on substantial political views which have ripples into areas such as racial discrimination! Once again the world fears what is not the 'norm'.
I cannot await X-Men 3 and I hope this movie is as well received to all as it was with me!