Movie review

Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman,
Ian McKellen, Halle Berry

Director : Bryan Singer

X2Since it was brought to Earth's awareness in the first X-Men movie that mutants live among us, nothing much has changed - mutants are excluded from society; seen as disloyal, untrustworthy and dangerous. To make the situation even worse there has also been an assassination attempt on the president by a creature with teleportation powers, causing public uproar and a large anti-mutant pressure group. At the forefront of this group is William Stryker - a mysterious ex-army commander who is somehow linked with Wolverine's past. Xavier's school for mutants has been attacked and raided in the search to find out who attempted to kill the president. But in a nice little twist, Magneto has broke free from his plastic prison, this time to help Xavier and his X-Men. Still, things aren't looking up for the professor and his students . . .

So now for the inevitable question: Is it better than the first? The answer: Yes. X2 has a faster pace, new mutants (Iceman, Pyro, Nightcrawler) and villains combined with superbly choreographed fight scenes and pretty much everything that seemed to be lacking from the first film.
    There are some great moments of dry humour slotted in as well, such as Bobby (AKA Iceman) touching Wolverine's drink to make it instantly cold for him, and one young student at the school of mutants using his eyes to change TV channels. All the usual otherworldly stars are there: Logan (AKA Wolverine, Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry) and Cyclops (James Marsden), along with new characters such as Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and the evil mutant-hating William Stryker (Brian Cox).
    Although the action is a lot more frequent and, fight scenes seemingly unavoidable, director Bryan Singer (who directed the first X-Men movie as well as crime favourite The Usual Suspects), manages to keep a grip on what makes the film's characters easy to relate to; in-depth profiles. There is a little more uncovered about each character in X2 (especially Wolverine) providing the audience with something fresh rather than going over the first film's elements and simply adding a few more action scenes. The flirty relationship between Logan and Jean is still present in X2, along with Magneto and Xavier's strange love/hate view of each other - classic elements from the X-Men original.

The film works well as a stand alone film, but is even better when seen after viewing the original - the comparison makes you realise just how superior the sequel actually is. With a bulk of Marvel films having been released lately, and many more to come, this should stand out as one of the best, and be up there with Blade and Spider-Man (two more of Stan Lee's comic creations).
    The main flaw with X2 is the length; at around two and a half hours . . . and the fast scene changes make it feel even longer. Aside from that it's a much better sequel (which is rare) and carries all the traits of the first X-Men, but with added power. Oh, and in answer to the other question: No, comic book stalwarts, Wolverine does not wear yellow spandex in this one either.

:: Graham Drummond

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