|Star:||Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen|
|Cert / Year:||12A - PG13 / 2003|
Distrust exists between mutants and normal humans, and there are those on both sides who feel the answer lies in the total subjugation of the other. For now an uneasy peace exists with the mutants keeping a low profile. That is until a teleporting mutant attempts to kill the president of America. The president appoints mutant hating William Stryker to head a unit to deal with the mutant threat. Will Professor X and his X Men be able to maintain the peace long enough to catch those responsible.
Three years ago the original X-Men movie came along and gave the superhero movie a much-needed shot in the arm. Previous to it the DC comic's stars had ruled the roost but the last version of Batman (and Robin) was so bad it almost killed the genre. Marvell comics X-Men was just tonic that was needed, and while the film was far from perfect it created a new standard for superhero films to live up to. Fast-forward three years and with films like the Hulk, Daredevil and Spiderman this new X-Men film has much stiffer competition, so how does it fare?
Thankfully the opportunity to build upon the strong foundations the first film laid has been taken. Whereas the plot of X-Men suffered because it had to introduce the characters the sequel has been able to get on with a more complex and involving story right from the beginning. This single improvement makes for a much better movie as we get more involved with the human \ mutant problem which has always been the foundation of the X-Men franchise. It also allows much more character development giving a chance for some of the lesser characters to shine. Ok so this alternative telling of the vast X-Men history will still annoy the anoraks, but these films are maturing into an excellent series for anyone not hung up on the fact that Wolverine didn't meet so and so until after some event of other happened.
The main cast returns almost on mass from the first film. This means that yet again Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen out act almost everything on screen (no bad thing). I say almost because they are introduced to Stryker played by the ever-reliable Brian Cox ( the original and best Hannibal Lector) and he gives us an acting tour-de-force of bottled nastiness. Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Halle Berry all reprieve their roles with great success, maybe this is because that this time round they familiar with them. A new X-Man is introduced in Nightcrawler and Alan Cummings ensures that this is a real triumph.
On the down side certain characters have really outstayed their welcome. Whether its the one trick pony that is the pathetic Rogue, or oh so easy to kick his butt Cyclops, maybe for X-Men 3 a bit of pruning would be a good plan. Another problem is the amount of time spent in Professor Xavier's head with Jason 143 this is both unconvincing and it drags. Some how it just doesn't still feasible that the Professor would be duped so easily.
These on the whole are minor quibbles as the finely balanced mix of action and exposition more than makes up for it. The Wolverine fight is still the best fight in the film, but Pyro, Nightcrawler (his attack on the president is a superb start to the film), and especially Mystique certainly have their moments. Bryan Singer who ensures the visual spectacle is not ruined by poorly integrated effects helms all this nicely.
X2 is one of the rarest of sequels that is actually better than the original. It takes the bachground established by the first film and adds a story that's far more exciting. The well-established cast gives an all around fine performance, and they are given plenty to do in some great action scenes. The icing on the cake is the top draw effects (especially Nightcrawler's teleporting, and Storms cyclones) which really add visual flair. For the next sequel (come on it's bound to happen) I would like to see one or two of the more useless characters removed and maybe the battle could be even bigger, but whatever happens based on this film I am certainly looking forward to it.
First, they were fighting for acceptance. Now, they're battling for survival.
Mrs. Drake: Have you ever tried not being a mutant?
Magneto: [to incapacitated Xavier] How does it look from there Charles? Still fighting the good fight? From here it looks like they're not playing by your rules... Maybe it's time to play by theirs!
William Stryker: You were an animal then and you're an animal now. I just gave you claws.
|Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS||Very Good|
|The Main Feature|
|7 Production featurettes|
|Multi-angle Nightcrawler attack scene|
|Wolverine / Lady Deathstrike fight rehearsal footage|
|Nightcrawler stunt rehearsal footage|
|Nightcrawler time-lapse footage|
|Massive picture gallery|
|Excellent film presentation and a varied and inventive set of extras. Let's hope they don't feel the need for further special editions like with the first film.|