May 2003
X2 : (X-Men United)

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

X2: (X-Men United)
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Bryan Singer
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter
Screenplay: Michael Dougherty, Daniel P. Harris, Bryan Singer
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Music: John Ottman, soundtrack available at www.superbrecords.com
Running Time: 138 min
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Sir Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Brian Cox, Kelly Hu, Shawn Ashmore, Alan Cumming, Aaron Stanford, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Bruce Davison

Halle Berry as Storm and Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, Anna Paquin as Rogue, James Marsden as Cyclops, Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Halle Berry as Storm and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

Ian McKellen as Magneto, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as Mystique, Hugh Jackman as Logan, and Halle Berry as Storm in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, Hugh Jackman as Logan, Aaron Stanford as Pyro and Anna Paquin as Rogue in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

Ian McKellen as Magneto in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

James Marsden as Cyclops in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

Halle Berry as Storm in 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United - 2003

    

When it comes to superhero sequels, there are certain things fans expect. One of them is the creative freedom the director now has to have the main character or characters explore new challenges. As often, the first film is always an introductory lesson for those non-fans so they get to know the character. In some films, the process is slow and the plot is thin. It leaves you feeling cheated and wanting more in the next film, ensuring repeat business for the studios. In the last few years, weíve had one man superheroes like Superman, Batman, Blade, Spiderman, and most recently Daredevil. In 2000, X-Men was released and new fans were brought to the comic book franchise created by Marvel Entertainment. Some of the characters had background stories while others were simply thrown in the mix with no development. It was a film with good action sequences and great cinematography. It had fans of the comic book clamoring for more as they know what to expect should a sequel come around. Well, X2 (X-Men United) is here with a better story, more characters, fantastic action scenes, a pulsating score, and enough material that will have you salivating for more of the blockbuster franchise.

When the first film ended, the following had happened. Magnetto (McKellen), after trying to dominate the world with mutants, was caught and placed in a prison surrounded by glass where he would be powerless. Wolverine (Jackman) had left the school in search of clues as to who he is and where he came from and Prof. X (Stewart) and the rest of the X-Men were back at the school teaching younger mutants how to control their gifted abilities. When the sequel begins, the U.S presidentís life is put in danger as a new mutant arrives and puts all mutants on the alert status as the Mutant Registration Act is being reconsidered. General William Stryker (Cox) comes into the picture to take control of the situation. Seems that Stryker has a personal connection to Prof. X and uses the imprisoned Magneto as bait to lure his trap against his enemies. Meanwhile, at the School for Gifted Youngsters, Rogue (Paquin), Iceman (Ashmore) and Pyro (Stanford), all featured in the first film, are a bit older and able to control their growing strength as mutants. When Wolverine comes back from his trip, heís put in charge of the kids as the older X-Men go out to investigate the situation that occurred with the president and this new mutant that Prof. X, with the ability to find anyone, canít even locate. Wolverine is at his best defense when Stryker shows up at the school with ulterior motives and puts the entire mutant population in danger. With some help from unlikely sources, the X-Men have to find a way to save themselves and the world from being ďput to rest.Ē

To reveal more would be spoiling the incredible surprises the film has to offer. For those who have never read the comic book, the film is entertaining and straight-forwarded enough to get an idea as to whatís going on. For true fans of the comic book, you will be amazed as what to the writers have in stored. Itís no secret judging by the trailers that Nightcrawler (Cumming) is one of the new characters brought in the film. His introduction is so spectacular that his character nearly steals the whole movie. Much like the first film, other characters of the comic book, if you know they are, are introduced in one scene or another. The one flaw that the film may have is that it doesnít spend so much time on certain characters when the film is about the group. Itís tough trying to make everyone stand out but Jackman as Wolverine is just as good here as he was in the first film. Heís absolutely AMAZING in his fight scenes as he is more menacing and more at ease with the character. As Storm, Halle Berry, who after being remote in the first film, has a bigger part here and displays the appeal sheís been bringing to her films as of late. Director Singer feels more relaxed with this film as he is able to just have fun with the story and keep true fans happy with the subplots as they know where each character is headed. John Ottmanís score is definitely an improvement over Michael Kamenís score from the first film. Itís much more techno and filled with certain beats that goes smoothly with certain scenes. Aside from the lack of concentration on some characters, ďX2Ē is a fantastic sequel filled kinetic action scenes and a thirst for the next chapter in the series.