X2: X-Men United is the sequel to the 2000 film X-Men, an adaptation of the popular comic book series. This sequel continues the story of the X-Men, a group of humans with mutated DNA that gives them extraordinary powers. In the original film, the X-Men faced off against a rogue group of mutants known as the Brotherhood, eventually foiling their plans of domination and control. In X2: X-Men United, both sides of the mutant conflict will have to work together when an even greater threat starts manipulating their kind. This sequel turns up the action, expands the lore, and introduces a few great new characters all at the same time.
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The Film Review
With the villainous metal-mover Magneto (Ian McKellan) in a plastic prison, the X-Men have secured a small victory. However, X2: X-Men United presents us with a world that is still not fully comfortable with mutants. This discomfort is propelled to new heights when a mutant known as Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) attempts to assassinate the President of the United States.
Meanwhile, a mutant-hating military scientist named William Stryker (Brian Cox) makes his move, attempting to overthrow Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and detain the students of his covert mutant academy. With Professor Xavier in trouble and the future of all mutants headed towards violence, a common threat forces the mutants to work together.
X2 is more energetic than the original movie, delivering countless scenes of comic book action and spectacle. We are introduced to a slew of new mutants, each with awesome powers that look great on-screen. Fan-favorite characters like Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), and Cyclops (James Marsden) are still an integral part of the story. However, X2 puts a bigger focus on the students of Professor X’s school, namely Rogue (Anna Paquin), Pyro (Aaron Stanford), and Ice Man (Shawn Ashmore). Although the plot isn’t as compelling as the original movie, the extra bits of action and improved CGI visuals still provide an entertaining ride.
Fans of Wolverine will be pleased to hear that X2 delves deeper into his mysterious origin throughout the story. As the mutants continue their efforts to defend themselves against Stryker’s plans, Wolverine discovers more about how he obtained his powers. Wolverine’s backstory is an interesting side-plot that is both interesting and a bit creepy, adding a dash of horror to the whole experience. Not all of Wolverine’s side-plots are interesting though, as the awkward romance triangle between him, Cyclops, and Jean persists throughout X2.
Overall, X2: X-Men United is an entertaining albeit predictable and slightly repetitive sequel. The action is more explosive and imaginative than before, and there are some really cool sequences showcasing unique mutant abilities. However, the plot suffers from feeling slightly bloated, with a lack of focus towards the end. It’s a worthwhile trip to take, especially if you’re a fan of the first movie, but X2 won’t stick in your memory for too long.
- Better visual effects than the original
- Interesting new mutants with cool powers
- Fun action scenes and compelling characters
- Forced romantic side-plot
- Feels a bit repetitive at times
- Lack of narrative focus