At the Movies: X-Men 2

X-Men 2: United

Well here we are back to our loveable mutants the “X-Men” with round two of our movie marathon. X-Men 2: United….or X2: United…..or simply X:2 whichever title they want to run with because apparently they used all three. This movie is a direct sequel to the first X-Men movie and was released in 2003 and it had quite a bit of hype to live up to after the benchmark set by X-Men. This movie is quite often said to be based off of the comic book story “God Loves, Man Kills” and it isn’t far off to be fair. There are some pretty glaring differences, and some pretty subtle ones too - but the logic for those changes is really obvious and acceptable.

The movie starts off with an introduction to a new character, and my second favourite mutant….Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler. The German “fuzzy elf” is seen BAMF-ing his way around the White House taking out secret service guys left right and center, in an absolutely amazing use of his teleportation abilities. Eventually it culminates in him making an attempt on the Presidents life, but is shot just before he can - slamming a knife into the table instead.  The knife has a banner on it reading “Mutant Freedom Now!” making it pretty clear, who was behind this “terrorist” attack. Meanwhile off at Alkali Lake Wolverine finds a blank with regards to his forgotten memories and what happened to him in the past, so naturally he mosies on back to the mansion.

Professor X, and Cyclops are off to visit Magneto in his plastic prison - but not before we see William Stryker visiting him first, and injecting him in the back of the neck with ….well, something.  Charles and Scott show up, and Magneto acts all emo and resourceful after telling Professor X that he was visited by Stryker. Charles freaks out and tries to escape only for a woman we don’t know (Lady Deathstrike) to attack Cyclops and prevent him from helping Professor X. The two of them are then captured by William Stryker.

“Charles Xavier: Eric….what have you done?

Magneto: You should have killed me when you had the chance Charles!”

The information given away included the location of Xavier’s School and we see armed forces storm the school. During the sequence we’re introduced to some other X-Men, such as Colossus and Kitty Pryde, as well as returning characters Iceman, Pyro, and Rogue. Wolverine helps the kids escape, before William Stryker begins shouting things about his past trying to coerce Logan to join him. Wolverine ends up escaping with Pyro, Iceman, and Rogue and they end up going on a nice family trip to Iceman’s (Bobby Drake) family home. Where we find out that Wolverine is an “Art” Professor, and that Bobby’s parents are ignorant as hell, and his brother is a douchebag and calls the police. America’s finest show up and try to get Wolverine to “put the knives down” and he ends up getting shot in the head causing the kids to freak out, and Pyro goes all….well, Pyro and attacks the police. Rogue stops him by touching him and sapping his powers, before Wolverine comes back to life (for all intents and purposes) and the X-Jet arrives to save the day.

Storm and Jean Grey had been sent off to find Nightcrawler, after Professor X uses Cerebro to finally track him down, and they manage to do so with relative ease. Finding out that Kurt was not in control of his actions during the attack on the president. They try to contact the Professor but get nothing (as he’s been captured) and eventually get contacted by Wolverine, forcing them to detour to Boston. Once they show up and pick up Wolverine and the twilight kids, they begin to head home when they are approached and attacked by the American Air Force. Jean Grey shows flashes of her pheonix abilities by destroying one missile, but isn’t powerful enough to destroy the second which rips the X-Jet open and Rogue goes flying out - because apparently she’s too stupid to wear a seat belt. Nightcrawler does a good BAMF out and catches her, returning them to the plane.

The X-Jet doesn’t crash however, because meanwhile Mystique has been out and about and rescued Magneto from his plastic prison (in exceptional style) showing us how masterful Magneto’s powers really are. He saves the X-Men and then convinces them that they need his help, and they have to go to Alkali Lake! On the journey Magneto seemingly manages to sweet talk Pyro into joining his side - but not quite yet. First we have to go stop Stryker from using his Mutant son Jason from creating the illusion that Xavier is helping all the mutants using Cerebro, but instead plans to kill them all. Xavier does explain earlier in the movie that if he focuses too hard he could kill them. Simples.

Mystique disguises herself as Logan and enters Alkali Lake, as Stryker wouldn’t want to kill off his pet project. However Stryker realises she’s not Wolverine and all hell breaks loose. Mystique does what she does best, and kicks some ass, looking damn awesome whilst doing it. She guides the rest of the team to their places, and the X-Men (and Magneto) divide and conquer. Storm and Kurt manages to find the kidnapped students and begin to rescue them, Wolverine finds Stryker and gains some memories when he’s in the adamantium room - leading to a fight with Lady Deathstrike. Jean Grey finds Cyclops, and he attacks her, because he’s a giant douche. No wait….because he’s being controlled. She blocks his optic blast with her telekinisis and it knocks some sense into him. However, the force of the hit starts to rupture the damn, and we see several moments of the dams infrastructure weakening.

Stryker tries to escape, but is caught by Wolverine. He offers Logan answers, but Wolverine declines and ties him to the helicopter he was trying to escape from. Magneto gets Mystique to change Jasons devious control of Xavier to destroy all humans instead of Mutants, and then he, Mystique, and Pyro leave the X-Men to face the breaking damn, fleeing in the helicopter - Magneto uses his powers to chain Stryker to part of the dams rubble. In the nick of time Nightcrawler BAMF’s Storm into Cerebro to free and save Xavier and the X-Men rush to escape the damn. Somehow, out of nowhere, Bobby and Rogue show up with the X-Jet…somehow capable of flight, and rescue everyone BUT! The Jet won’t take off… Jean Grey makes a sacrifice! She bails from the Jet, and begins to use her telekenisis all over the place, starting up the Jet and holding back the water. She prevents any of the X-Men from leaving the Jet to save her, giving her life so that the team could escape. The water crashes down, and for all intents and purposes Jean Grey, is dead.

The fallout sees the X-Men grieving for their lost member, with a touching moment between Wolverine and Cyclops - but Cyclops is still a tool about it. Charles shows the president the files from Strykers and tries to push the focus on mutants and humans working together for things to work smoothly. The sombre ending flashes back to Alkali Lake, where the damn is all broken….but in the water is the silhouette of….A PHOENIX! Arguably the best cliffhanger you could do with an X-Men film given the direction they were going. X-2 gave us a lot of Wolverines background, but it also built up Jean Grey. It fleshed her character out some, and showed the development of her powers, and what that development was doing to her. Little flashes of phoenix in her eyes, would make any X-Men comic reader squee with delight.

Overall the film delivered quite an enjoyable story, introducing some new charatcers who I’m sure are fan favourites - like Colossus, and Nightcrawler. We got to see the rivalry between Iceman and Pyro go, and how they chose their sides. Rogue was…just….kinda there. Yet, it was fun. It was enjoyable, and most of all, it was believable. Movies are supposed to make us suspend our disbelief, and a comic book movie allowed us to do that. What? This chick can turn into anyone? Yup. I buy that. This dude can control mutants? Well, he used a syringe! So yeah! Acceptable. It in some eyes is considered the better X-Men film from the original trilogy, and it’d be hard to argue the point. I would strongly recommend it to people, and it’s stood the test of time going back to watch it eleven years after it’s release.

Not bad, eh?

As usual, you can catch me on Twitter: @SpikaelKane , on Facebook: , and Google+: [email protected]

Next up: X-Men: Last Stand!

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