X2 - X-men United
One great thing about this movie is that it can stand alone. There is no intricate mythology to support as in the Matrix, or in the Lord of the Rings. Of course if you have seen the first installment you're a little better off than a new viewer since there are some interpersonal dynamics at work. In the first film a budding romance suffers an interloper in the form of 'Wolverine'. The same character had a brief moment of caring with another returning character 'Rogue'.
One of my complaints about the recent crop of movies is their narrowness. We can currently choose from among films designed as video games or from yet additional films that stand as testimonials to the witless exploration of romantic coupling.
In this edition 'Wolverine' (Hugh Jackman) returns from an unsuccessful journey to discover his origins. 'Magneto' (played by 'Gandalf' actor Ian McKellen) remains imprisoned in a non-metallic room where he is continually invaded by his captors (the Government) as they pursue their attempt to eliminate the mutant threat. Of course the mutants are not threatening at all until they are called upon to defend themselves. This they do with great ferocity.
Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) school for the gifted becomes the focus of an attack. An evil branch of the government wants to capture a device that can locate mutants everywhere and destroy them. We meet other mutants. Pyro who can control fire but cannot create it. A bible quoting teleporter ('Nightcrawler'). A girl who can dash thru walls. A boy who can command the power to freeze. Of course we have the perennial returning favorites including 'Storm' (Halle Berry), 'Cyclops', 'Rogue', and 'Mystique'.
There is certainly some alarming make up in use. Rebekka Romijn-Stamos as 'Mystique' appears encrusted in skin tight blue throughout the film. Obviously many hours were spent in the make-up chair. The same is true of Allan Cumming in his portrayal of 'Nightcrawler'. Underused talent award in this film goes to Kelly Hu. This beautiful Asian actress from the recent movie 'Scorpion King' has five words of dialogue and a good deal of knuckle cracking.
Is there any action you may ask? There is nothing but action. It is after all a comic book come to life on the big screen. Not too complex and packed with dime store parable, this film is filled with not so subtle angst. The general population fears mutants because they are different. Mutants resent everyone because they feel outcast. Explosions abound. Autos leap from the ground. Flames roll through corridors. Tornadoes appear at will and don't forget the bursting dam!
Still at the end of it all their is hope. Loss is replaced with conjecture and that is enough to keep us hanging on for yet another sequel. As sequels go, this is actually quite good. It has been compared to the new Matrix film more than favorably when it comes to repeat watch-ability. The movie manages to sustain an emotional tension. Not the easiest feat given the absurdity of the films content.
It is great fodder for your imagination. There is one profane word delivered at the appropriate time. The Marvel Corporation has a number of fantastic characters gathered among the pages of various publications and it is likely that we will see new large screen depictions.
This isn't the most compelling film to hit the big screen. Half way through the movie I narrowly decided against going out for a cold beer. There are about 40 minutes of coming attractions added to the films 93 minutes. It's okay. The casting is good. The story is grand. The effects are splendid. Check it out yourself!