They are the next link in the evolutionary chain. Each was born with a unique genetic mutation, which manifested itself in extraordinary powers. In a world increasingly filled with hatred and prejudice, they are outcasts who are feared and loathed by those who cannot accept their differences. Yet despite society's pervasive ignorance, the X-Men and thousands of mutants across the globe survive. Under the tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, the world's most powerful telepath, these "gifted" students have learned to control and direct their respective powers for the greater good of mankind. They fight to protect a world that fears them. In X2, the next adventure in the X-Men saga, the X-Men face their most dangerous mission ever, and must stand united with their enemies to combat a menace that threatens mankind - and mutantkind.
In 2000, the classic comic book series of mutant humans with extraordinary abilities graced the silver screen. Receiving global success, a sequel was inevitable and quickly put into motion. With the entire significant cast returning, lightening was bound to strike twice. For director Bryan Singer and the cast of X2: X-Men United, this is just what happened.
I enjoyed the original X-Men film, but it seemed to be missing something. Well, this time around, Singer & company put together a fast-yet-thoughtful-paced comic book action flick that stops to develop some characters while doing its best to rock the audience's socks off. The effects are better and more intriguing, the moderated humor is witty, the acting noteworthy, and the plot more than sufficient. The longer running time, while it may seem to some like it drags on, allows more room for character and plot development accompanying the action without losing its audience's attention. The movie continues the focus on the Wolverine's character and his search for information on his origin while the Professor Xavier and crew are forced to defend themselves against an attack on their school. X2 is a first rate sequel and, in a lot of ways, surpasses its predecessor in many ways.
Spirituality was introduced into the series with this film on a very positive level. The mutant named Nightcrawler is a firm believer in Catholicism and offers a positive light on Christ and faith (and at one point urges Storm to trader her anger for faith which later is brought back up). While never preachy by any stretch of the imagination (as with also the film's premise that toys with the idea of mankind's evolution), it was handled very tastefully.
Concerning objectionable content like language, sexuality, or graphic violence, the second time around unfortunately includes a little more of each. Mystique, embodied by the infamous super model Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, is present once again, suited in merely blue paint and strategically placed prosthetics (leaving her otherwise virtually nude -- and looking it). She also takes a moment to seduce characters twice in the film in a sensual manner (but both stop before going in any explicit direction). Violence includes more bloody instances of gouges, etc to characters like Wolverine (and in his case heal up quickly). Language-wise, a few "s" words are present as well as several other colorful words. The film could have benefited easily from much less of these moments but are, nonetheless, unfortunately present here.
X2 raises the bar on comic book based film making. While Spider-Man seized the attention of millions globally last year, X2 is bound to be the one drawing the crowds this year. The film takes carries itself very well leaving no room for campy humor or poor acting. The end product is the result of top-notch directing from Bryan Singer and it's great to see these characters on the silver screen again.
Overall, I was really impressed with this sequel and found X2: X-Men United to be the best cinematic offering of 2003 so far. It's got its content problems that need to be looked into, but the overall story and film is excellent. If you read the below content and are concerned about some of it, we suggest catching it edited on TV or rent the release on DVD and watch it with the ClearPlay program or something similar to omit the offensive material. If you have any questions or comments about the film before you see it, feel free to contact me.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 5/3/03)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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