Release: May 2, 2003
by Kevin Lang
If you are a fan of the first X-Men installment, also directed by Bryan Singer ("Usual Suspects," 1995), then you won't be disappointed with "X-Men 2" or "X2" as it's now referred to.
The storyline was similar to the first film, but with a little more depth and development. Once again the mutant population was under attack. This time the assault was masterminded by General William Stryker (Brian Cox), who had a special bond with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu). This bond was revealed later in the film, and it gave significant insight into Wolverine's past.
Perhaps this was where "X-Men 2" exceeded 2000's "X-Men," which offered less story and character development. Even though here, certain aspects of the plot, including the film's final frames, will most likely only be understood by readers of the comic book. Luckily, an aficionado of the comic book was in the small screening audience with me, and he offered to explain the significance of the closing shot. He also had a better understanding of the new characters introduced in the film, including Pyro, Iceman, Nightcrawler, and Lady Deathstrike. I got to know them in the film, I but was not fully aware of their allegiance to the X-Men until the end.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of "X-Men 2" was the big budget special effects. They looked impressive from the opening scene where Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) terrorized the President. His mutant ability allowed him to successively teleport from spot to spot, evading enemy fire as he disappeared, leaving only a haze of blue. He was the most enjoyable character to watch. Other new interesting mutants included the young Shadowcat, who could pass through objects such as walls and even people. Colossus (steel skin) also had an enjoyable cameo, as he fought off intruders attacking the school. The characters of Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford, "Tadpole") were developed nicely as well, and they offered enjoyable fire and ice special effects.
In the end, the X-Men
junkies will cower in X2's so-called "greatness," when in reality
"X-Men 2" was just a well-done sequel that slightly exceeded
its predecessor, or in the least, equally matched it in nearly every way.
It felt more true to its comic origins, and its bigger budget allowed
for better effects. "X-Men 2" is deserving of the praise that
it will likely receive, and if you're a fan of comic book action films,
it will not disappoint you.
"X-Men 2" Review written May 2, 2003, CTF.
ChasingtheFrog.com, CTF Media