Movie Plot – X2: X-Men United: When anti-mutant Colonel William Stryker kidnaps Professor X and attacks his school, the X-Men must form an alliance with their archenemy Magneto to stop him.
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Zak Penn, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Alan Cumming
A better sequel
X2′ is the successor to the first X-Men film. The first one will always have a place in my heart as the first X-Men film. Yet, that film felt drawn out at times.
The film picks up where the first X-Men print ended. Director Bryan Singer wastes no time and ramps up the action from the very beginning of the film. A brilliant introduction introduces the character Kurt Wagner (Allan Cumming). It is truly one of the best opening scenes ever.
The rest of the production maintains the same fast pace without losing sight of the story. That is very clever since much more attention has been paid to the script now than in the first part. All the characters, except for Cyclops, are given much more space and are explored in greater depth in this way. This approach pays off, as it makes the interrelationships between both the team and the ‘bad guys’ much sharper.
Better character development
The cast visibly enjoys the reprise of their roles. In particular, Ian McKellen gets everything out of his role as the “bad” Magneto. The depth he manages to put into his role proves once again why McKellen is such a great actor. The strength of his performance is how seriously he takes his role, in a classically trained theatrical way, he manages to portray a power-hungry and gentleman who stands for his ideals. A less gifted actor would not have succeeded.
Hugh Jackman has also grown in his role of Wolverine. The inner struggle to retain his humanity and not give in to his bloodthirsty animal instincts comes through fairly well in Jackman’s performance. ‘X2’ is by no means a character study, but the director manages to put a face to all the characters subtly.
It’s a cruel world for mutants
Scottish character actor Brian Cox plays Stryker, the film’s villain. Cox’s charisma comes through well. Despite his character’s evil intentions, Cox manages to evoke some understanding of his character’s motivations in a single scene. The good cast is put to excellent use in this film.
The comics of the American comic book characters are approached respectfully in this production. The strengths possessed by the comics are well displayed in “X2. The interrelationships, motives, and discrimination towards minorities, in this case, mutants are neatly touched upon.
The strength of the film is ultimately the symbiosis between action and acting. With an appealing villain, interesting characters and the thin line between good and evil, this second film scores much better than its predecessor.
What I truly love is that Magneto’s side has to work with the mutants from professor X to fight a greater evil. Of course, Magneto has his own plans and cannot be trusted. However, you do understand where he comes from and why someone would want to follow him. I know I wouldn’t be able to because I don’t think like that, but I get where he comes from. It makes you question what is evil or not. Humans can be cruel towards things they don’t understand.
With more confident direction, a more ambitious story and impressively realized action sets, X2 is the rare sequel that enhances every aspect of the original while also working as a great stand-alone film in its own right.