Already living in a society that mistrusts them, the mutants are faced with even more discrimination after an unforeseen enemy - who may be a mutant with extraordinary powers - launches a devastating attack. The news of the assault causes a public outcry against the mutants, including renewed support for the Mutant Registration Act, and William Stryker, a military leader rumored to have experimented on mutants (possibly including Wolverine), is among the most vocal supporters of the legislation. Stryker puts into motion a plan to eradicate the mutants and begins an offensive on the X-Men mansion and school. Magneto, having escaped from his plastic prison, forms an unlikely alliance with Professor Xavier to stop Stryker. Meanwhile, Wolverine heads north to investigate his past.
Directed by: Bryan Singer
. Starring: Patrick Stewart
, Hugh Jackman
, Ian McKellen
, Halle Berry
, Famke Janssen
, James Marsden
, Anna Paquin
, Rebecca Romijn
, Brian Cox
, Alan Cumming
, Bruce Davison
, Aaron Stanford
, Shawn Ashmore
. Music by: John Ottman
The original X-Men was a cool action movie with great special effects, excellent characters, awesome fight scenes, and, my personal favorite, some highly effective comic relief. Consider, for example, some of the stuff in the first film, such as the scene where Wolverine proves to Cyclops that he's really himself and not Mystique disguising herself as him, or when he tells Cyclops that someone else is in the room with them and to `keep his eye open.' Classic stuff, and as was the case in the original movie, the comic relief in the follow-up is great, and most of it comes from Wolverine.
It's interesting to consider the fact that the movie tends to try to satisfy both its evolutionist audience as well as its creationist audience (the latter of which obviously makes up a considerably smaller portion of the audience). Nightcrawler is a great character, although after the opening fight scene (arguably the best scene in the entire film) he changes into a completely different character almost immediately. I was looking forward to seeing him as a wonderfully effective villain (at this point I'd like to remind you that I am not familiar with the X-Men comics and so don't know a lot about the characters beyond what's in the movies). I even loved the sound effects that were made when he would disappear and reappear somewhere else. It was strange that he kicked so much ass in the opening scene and then turned out to be completely timid.
Besides being an interesting character, Nightcrawler is the one in which the majority of the faith-based content of the movie is concentrated. It is well known that evolution is based entirely on observable facts and is totally open to change when new revelations and discoveries are made, while creationism is based entirely on faith (and, it might as well be noted, on ignoring observable facts). It's interesting to watch as the movie tends to switch back and forth between the two, seeming at first to be almost a fight for screen time by screenwriters of different ideologies but turning out to be a revelation that faith and evolution are not opposites, but can work together.
Evolution is a fact, we KNOW that it is true, and X-Men takes the formula and uses it to make a great action movie. The dangerous line that it walks is that is provides creationists, people who are notorious for taking evolutionary theory and mutilating and distorting it completely beyond recognition in a desperate attempt to make it look ridiculous. It is not going to be any surprise to see hordes of creationists who will latch on to something like X-Men and accuse evolutionists of thinking that X-Men is some sort of documentary-style, non-fiction account of the generally accepted current state of human `evolution.' I would like to take this opportunity to laugh in advance.
It should be obvious that this is a movie made for entertainment purposes, even if only by the fact that not all of the `mutants' are, in fact, mutants. Wolverine, for example, was created by a human (not a God, by the way), as was his worthy adversary near the end of the film. But as far as taking enormous liberties with evolutionary theory, it should be noted that the movie also makes extensive efforts to clarify the way that evolution really works, although it leaves out the small detail that the X-Men are a massive exaggeration.
In comparison with the original movie, X2 was a hugely entertaining and well-made action film, just like X1, but it is the story that has evolved more than anything else. I loved the introduction of a new bad guy who forced the X-Men to come together, although the movie did tend to trip over itself at some points, such as with the paper-thin content of the meaning and need for the little boy with the freaky tongue.
(spoilers) I was disappointed with the fate of Jean Grey, even if only because her `death' was so avoidable. It was never explained very clearly why she didn't stay on the jet and use all of her energy to lift the jet itself out of the path of the oncoming water instead of getting off and trying to levitate the jet while stopping the water at the same time. Even if exiting the jet was absolutely necessary, there is really no fathomable reason why, given the fact that she held the water back that long and was ultimately able to stop her efforts at lifting the jet, she could not let the water gradually come to her and slowly engulf her so that she could swim and wait for the jet to come back and pick her up.
At any rate, if her death was necessary for furthering the story or for preparing for the next film (the creation of a third X-Men is an absolute certainty, after all), then I suppose I can understand it, but making Jean's death necessary and making it believable are two of the weakest parts of the film. On the positive side, however, Hugh Jackman was given the opportunity to prove his effectiveness in performing emotionally charged scenes while playing a comic book character (which is certainly a daunting task).
Speaking of weak parts of the film, by the way, there is also Magneto's escape. Not only does Mystique inject a massive amount of `iron' into the body of one of Magneto's prison guards without killing him (there are VERY few things that can be injected directly into the blood stream in that quantity without resulting in almost immediate death, and iron in ANY form is NOT one of them), but Magneto also manages to latch on to all of that iron and pull it out of the guard's body, using the nice little ball-bearings that he gets out of him to escape. However, even the most basically educated members of the audience, who realize that the iron in your blood is not exactly metal, will probably appreciate the way this was pulled off (that is, of course, if they were able to see the screen enough while repeatedly slapping their foreheads in disbelief).
I have never been into comic books, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of an X-Men comic, but even coming into the films completely new like that I enjoyed both of them and I think they were both remarkably well-made. It is a sign of deserving respect when a movie or series of movies based on comics books or cartoons or old TV shows or something can entertain an audience that is not familiar with the original material (this is not true for example, according to Roger Ebert, of the recent Scooby-Doo film, which I have yet to see or develop any interest in seeing).
With that in mind, I think it would be appropriate to end by emphasizing the sheer broadness of the target audience. Kids will love the characters and the fighting and special effects, high school and college age kids will appreciate the same things as well as the intricacy of the story (adults will more than likely appreciate this as well), and, as was the case with the first film, just about every male in the audience of any age and sexual orientation will appreciate the astronomical hotness of Mystique, which translated from the first film to this one quite well. I don't have much to say in defense of the little stunt that Magneto pulled in pulling the `iron' out of the guard's blood in order to escape, although even that was convincingly done. As with all movies, X2 has its faults, but it is definitely a worthy follow-up to the original, which was something of a tough act to follow.
Review by Michael DeZubiria from the Internet Movie Database.