X2: X-Men United

Stars:   Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Alan Cumming, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, Brian Cox
Director:   Bryan Singer
Screenwriter:    David Hayter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris; based on a story by Bryan Singer and David Hayter and based on characters from the Marvel Comic

In the first X-Men film, Ian McKellen’s character Eric Lensherr/”Magneto”, the man with the magnetic touch, warned of a war coming between the humans and the mutants. By the second film X2: X-Men United, the war has indeed begun, leaving quite enough room for a third in the series and I’d be looking forward to that one as much as I was to this. X2 rocks!

I assume that you already know that the X-Men are comic-book-based superheroes, mutants of one kind or another, who strike a balance between evil humans and the evil of their species, both groups of which have their own megalomaniacal agendas.

The film opens with a deadly attack at the White House by a new mutant with extraordinary powers of teleportation. When the public learns of it, fear escalates and there is an outcry for renewed support of the Mutant Registration Act. Trumpeting loudly his support is military man William Stryker (Brian Cox), who has secretly been experimenting on mutants (including our favorite superhero hunk, Logan, a.k.a. “Wolverine” (Hugh Jackman).

Stryker’s had his hands on the imprisoned Magneto and managed, through torture techniques, to get Magneto to reveal information about Professor Charles Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) mutant locator machine called Cerebro and his school for gifted children where mutant kids are taught their ABCs, as well as basic mutant etiquette and how to control their “gift”. Stryker orders an assault on the school and a number of children are captured. At the same time that Prof. Xavier and Scott Summers/”Cyclops” are visiting Magneto, they’re overcome and held hostage. Stryker plans to utilize Xavier’s powers and Cerebro to locate and destroy all the mutants on earth. Escaping the offensive on the X-Men school are the adamantium-clawed and ever-excitable Wolverine, life-sucker Rogue (Anna Paquin), her boyfriend Bobby Drake/”Iceman” who can chill a soda pop in one breath or create blocks of ice to ward off the bad guys, and their bad-boy friend and handy flame-thrower, John Allerdyce/”Pyro”. Meanwhile weather manipulator “Storm” (Halle Berry) and the telekinetic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) are off seeking the whereabouts of the teleporter who stormed the Oval office, a magnificent blue-devil with a tail concoction sporting claws, a German accent and a penchant for prayer. He’s called Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and he proves more friend than foe, having been manipulated by Stryker’s experiments to initiate the war.

After Magneto escapes from his plastic prison, he and colleague Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), the exquisite shapeshifter, form an unlikely alliance with Wolverine and his good mutant pals to find Stryker’s secret hideaway in the snowy north and put a stop to his evil ways.

Lotta says: Our heroes each work their magic gifts to spectacular results, particularly Nightcrawler’s snappy teleportation, a wonderful blue smoke and mirrors effect. Brian Cox is a wonderful bad guy while the actor playing his evil son Jason (Michael Reid MacKay) is downright eerie. Director Bryan Singer, along with his writer-colleagues have kept this film franchise fresh and sparkling with just the right amount of humor to seriousness ratio. It’s rated PG-13 for sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality and brief language.

Reviewed 5/2/03