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X2: X-Men United
poster from X2: X-Men United -- CLICK TO BUY! 9 out of 109 out of 109 out of 109 out of 109 out of 10
Rated: PG-13
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Current Voter Rating: 7.617 (154 votes)
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Movies are always a lot more fun when you make them into an event rather than just a movie. And that is what my friends and I did with X2: X-Men United. The day before this movie opened in theaters worldwide, we sat down to watch the original X-Men on DVD to refresh our memories as well as to kindle our fires of anticipation.

And having seen the original, I was expecting the second film to start out slowly with a chess match between Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) as ended the first one. However, right from the start I was taken on a wild ride through the White House as a new and terrifying-looking mutant breaches security and makes his way towards the President as the Secret Service pitifully try to stop him. This opening scene was amazing! I could probably write an entire review just about it. First of all, we have the terrifying notion of our President under attack. Then on top of that we add the idea that the Secret Service is penetrable, fallible, and, well, human. Add to this the unstoppable and devil-like mutant attacker, and you get quite an uneasy feeling. Then, underneath all of this is the calm, soothing music of Mozart, which at first seems out of place, as it contrasts with the chaos: the loud shouts, the shuffling footsteps, and the gunshots. However, I then realized that Mozart's music worked to highlight the virtuosity of the blue-skinned, black-haired, and yellow-eyed mutant (Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), as he would later be made known). He was doing something which by all standards would be impossible, and he made it look easy. Finally, what blew me away with this scene was the camera-work. We are taken on a wild ride in and around the surroundings of the Oval Office much like a wisp of air or a beam of light. We move from room to room quickly, and in one instance even enter through a peephole in the door. Folks, this opening scene alone is worth the price of admission.

picture from X2: X-Men United

What is so wonderful, however, is that it doesn't end there. We are treated with scene after incredible scene giving this movie WAY more action than the original. This makes sense, because the first movie had to set the stage by defining characters, etc. This movie however, while it does introduce some new characters as well as dive deeper into familiar ones, it doesn't have to spend so much time doing so and can therefore deliver much more action and excitement.

In this movie, we see the continued development of Wolverine's character (played by Hugh Jackman), as well as insight into the young mutants Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and his friend Pyro (Aaron Stanford). These latter two will no doubt become a major focus in episodes to come. A love story (and a quite unique one at that) also blossoms between Iceman and Rogue (Anna Paquin). Also returning are Cyclops (one of my favorites, played by James Marsden), Dr. Grey (Famke Janssen), and Storm (Halle Berry). This rounds out the "good" mutants who not only want to protect mutants but also "regular humans" like you and me.

picture from X2: X-Men United

On the other side of the mutant coin, you have Magneto and his band of rebels who are only interested in mutant domination, no matter the cost to humans. Magneto's escape from his plastic prison is perhaps the most exciting and invigorating part of this whole movie (see the pic below). However, we are made all too aware that his escape would not have been possible without his voluptuous Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) who can change herself to look and talk like anyone. Mystique's character is perhaps the most fun to watch as she constantly fools not only characters on-screen but the audience as well. When not appearing as someone else, she is blue-skinned and scaly, but she still looks pretty hot (her costume is pretty much painted on). This begs the question...would you date a blue chick?

Missing from Magneto's gang this time around are Sabretooth and Toad. But with this many characters on-screen, it is hard to notice.

picture from X2: X-Men United

However, as you may have guessed from the film's title, X2: X-Men United, the battle between mutant groups takes a momentary pause as an enemy common to them both foolishly tries to take them on. He (Brian Cox) is a military officer gone bad, presumably at the stress and embarassment of his mutant son. His mission: to wipe mutants off of the face of the earth. Thus, with a common enemy, the mutants under Magneto and Professor X join forces in what shapes up to be quite a battle.

What I truly found fascinating about this film was its exploration of issues which affect all of us today. Issues such as racism. Mutants in this film feel discriminated against and hated because of differences in themselves that they have had since birth. It is fascinating to see how they react to this treatment from society. Some feel nothing but bitterness, anger, and hatred. Others instead feel that they want to prove their worth or show their beauty.

Another issue which is explored is that of faith. The whole foundation of the X-Men Universe is evolution ("...every few hundred millennia, evolution takes a giant step forward..."). Evolution is often times pitted against religion or faith as polar opposites, or two ideas that cannot co-exist. This movie rejects that notion as one of the most otherworldly mutants (Nightcrawler) turns out to have an extremely strong and even contagious faith in God. He often quotes Scripture as he makes his inexplicable, miraculous if you will, teleportations.

Finally, a point about this movie which is quite creepy. And that is the fact that the bad guys in this movie are the US military! We just got through a war in Iraq where the real heroes of our generation fought and sacrificed for something more than themselves and for the benefit of mankind. Then to have this movie turn things around and make them the enemy just seems wrong to me. I was able to suspend this thought for the sake of fantasy, but nevertheless, watching Wolverine take out US Soldiers brings forth feelings of adrenaline and excitement right alongside feelings of shock and disgust leaving you almost numb.

In the final analysis, X2: X-Men United stands high above the original X-Men as a superior film. It has better action, more meaningful characters, interesting subthemes, and leaves you hanging and begging for more!

picture from X2: X-Men United

thumbs up!Way better than the original!

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