Derek Winnert

X-Men 2 ***** (2003, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry) – Classic Movie Review 241



‘The time has come for those who are different to stand united!’ Wise words, guys!


Part two of the X-Men action adventure sci-fi thriller saga, 2003’s X-Men 2 or just X2, brings the whole crew back, but gives the bulk of the movie over to Hugh Jackman’s hunky Wolverine. And that’s a good thing. He’s the Marvel character show’s hit turn, no doubt about it.




The other plum part goes to Brian Cox’s evil scientist General William Stryker, who wants to avenge himself on Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and destroy mutantkind. Fat chance, what with Storm (Halle Berry), Dr Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), Rogue (Anna Paquin)and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) about!



Too much chat slows the film’s dynamism from time to time and it seems far too long at 133 minutes. But still, there’s all the thrilling action, splendid sets and marvellous visual effects you’d crave for in a gleaming $110million-plus production.



New characters this time include Alan Cumming with a dodgy German accent and a devil’s tail as the mutant Nightcrawler, and he makes a tasty banquet of the part. Old characters also include of course Ian McKellen’s Magneto and his pal Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos).



The movie starts with a big bang as the White House is under attack, though it’s a shame this turns out to be the film’s most knockout sequence. Why is it always the White House is under attack?



Nightcrawler infiltrates the White House and tries to assassinate the President, sparking repressive government anti-mutant tactics. Meanwhile, Mystique plots to free Magneto from the supposedly safe place of incarceration where he was conveniently stowed at the end of X-Men.


Stryker’s discovered Xavier’s secret school for mutants and ruthlessly attacks it, the key mutants just escaping with their lives. The survivors meet up in Boston, and reluctantly join up with the now freed Magneto to rescue Xavier and put Stryker out of business.


It’s a great fun, gung-ho movie, hugely entertaining and exciting, well written and involvingly plotted and with all the actors up for it full on. And Bryan Singer again directs it in style. But sequelitis has set in a bit, and it’s not quite as consistently good, fresh, classy or original as X-Men in 2000.



Followed by X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, the X-Men: First Class prequel in 2011 and The Wolverine in 2013.

© Derek Winnert 2013 Classic Movie Review 241

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