X2: X-Men United Review

Don’t like?  Watch the movie first.


Yeah, ended up watching this when my (ex) boyfriend was pestering me to watch a movie with him.  But it couldn’t be something on the computer no.  It had to be a DVD so we could watch it on one of the old ass TVs.  Especially a DVD where we could watch it in the back in my dad’s bedroom because the bed is comfier than the couch so he could immediately pass out thus making the idea pointless.

I’m a little bitter.

This actually happens to be my favorite of the X-Men movie series.  At least, of the “original” trilogy.  I didn’t mind the Origins story much and I really kinda liked First Class.  But of the original three, this one stands out.  I’ll tell you why a little later.

This is the sequel to the first live-action X-Men movie.  Only, in this one, while Xavier and Magneto are still fighting against each other, they are also fighting a common enemy: one senator by the name William Stryker.  He has this plan to wipe out mutants.  Everyone has to band together to save the world.

Really, plot-wise it’s not spectacular.  There are no real twists or turns that aren’t shown early on.  A lot of the coolness from these movies come from character stories.  At this point in the series, Jean Grey is losing her control on her telepathy and telekinesis.  We get the introduction of Nightcrawler and Lady Deathstrike.  We see Magneto’s freedom after the events from the first movie got him locked up.  We now know how Pyro got led to be on Magneto’s side.  We see the teenage romance of Rogue and Iceman.  Mainly, we get a lot of Wolverine’s history involving Mr. Stryker.  It’s these things that make the story more interesting.

And there are some really good actors in it.  Hugh Jackman makes a damn fine Wolverine in my opinion.  He looks great for the part, he’s a great action star and he’s great at being a snarky bastard.  Patrick Stewart is the perfect Xavier and Ian McKellen makes a damn sophisticated Magneto.  I love Halle Berry as Storm but I wish she was a shade more badass.  Rebecca Romijn is a beautiful Mystique.  Alan Cumming makes a great Nightcrawler.  Anna Paquin owns my heart as Rogue (though I wish she was a bit bitchier of a Rogue.  At least her accent is a nice southern drawl that sounds good and isn’t that brackish in-your-face accent of the original cartoon version.)

James Marsden is Cyclops and he’s a good Cyclops at this point in the story.  I have to say it this way (and use a whole new paragraph) because this is where I’m going to explain why X2 is the best X-Men movie.  It mostly has to do with him.  I love Cyclops as a character.  I first fell in love with his character at the tender age of like 5 or 6 when I was watching the original cartoon Saturday mornings with my dad (I think Gambit/Rogue was my first OTP.)  The first X-Men movie of the franchise is alright.  It’s not great, but it doesn’t suck either.  Kinda like the first Spider-Man movie of the first reboot trilogy (the ones with Toby Maguire.)  It’s a good movie, but only a few memorable moments.  Mostly memorable for the actors we saw cast in the various roles.  And then X-Men 3: The Last Stand came out.  This movie blows.  I can’t stand it, and one of the reasons why I can’t stand it is because of what they did to Cyclops. I didn’t exactly like the fact that they “killed” Jean Grey in the end of X2.  But I heard the third would have Phoenix so it sorta made sense to do something underwater instead of in space.  A bit of a change but okay, seems legit, right?  Well they went and turned Cyclops into the pussiest little bitch right afterwards.  All he does is sit and cry and mope about Jean right up until she comes back as Phoenix and kills him.

What?  Yeah, that happened.  Movie-wise, I was glad they killed off the tattered remains of a character I adored and they fucked with.  Cannon-wise, what the fuck?  He’s supposed to be around to love Jean as Phoenix and to try and help Jean and Phoenix split apart (because the Phoenix isn’t supposed to be the messed up part of her psyche, it’s a separate entity that takes over her dying body.)  When Jean finally does die, Scott is supposed to move the fuck on and start shacking up with Emma Frost.  That’s what’s supposed to happen goddamnit.

Where was I?  Oh yeah back to the good movie.

So yeah, mediocre plot made significantly better by decent writing and fantastic actors.  Add to that the fact that the atmosphere is just right (a nice blend of tension and action and drama) and the music is phenomenal and the costumes look good and the locations are nice… You end up having a fairly decent movie.

Final Thoughts: I give it about a 4 out of 5 stars.  It’s my favorite movie of the franchise, and it’s a lot better than a lot of superhero movies out there, but it’s not cinema gold.  It can compete for the silver but it’ll probably end up taking bronze in the long run of film history.


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