X2 (2003) [REVIEW]

 

I think I had mentioned seeing this movie on opening day, which, I guess, means I’m mildly full of shit. Granted, I did see the midnight showing of this movie, which was technically on opening day, but it wasn’t the first morning showing of the day. Sorry for being such an asshole. However, I would like to note that I did see this at midnight with Lazer, which I think totally makes up for any lies I have told you. I remember that as this movie was coming out I made sure to keep my eyes out for toys at the local Toys R’ Us, but I only saw a handful, and they were all kind of shitty. I don’t think that stopped me from buying some little Wolverine guy who stood on a base and when you rotated him, his claws went crazy, but these were shitty by comparison.

 

Pretty sure that Sir Ian McKellen got paid per gesticulation.

The film opens with an intense scene involving a mutant and an assassination attempt on the president, leaving behind a dagger with a ribbon saying “Mutant Freedom Now!”, yet the character is one we haven’t seen before. We then join the students of Xavier’s school at a museum, and are reintroduced to the mutants going by the names “Iceman” and “Pyro“. I’m sure you can figure their powers out. They get busted using their powers in a very public place, and are reprimanded by Jean Grey, who Cyclops notes has had trouble with her psychic abilities overpowering her recently. Wolverine returns to the school after gathering some information about his past, which is just in time for him to look after the school while Storm and Jean try to find the mutant assassin and Xavier and Cyclops visit Magneto in his plastic prison. It’s during this time where Wolverine is the only X-Man available that the military man William Stryker, played by Brian Cox, invades the school to eliminate the mutant threat. It is during this siege that Stryker alludes to having information about Wolverine’s past, but Wolverine’s priorities are with the students, which he helps escape, and hits the road with Iceman, Rogue, and Pyro.

 

OH I’VE GOT A JOYSTICK YOU CAN MANHANDLE…IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN…COLECOVISION

While the siege was going on, we meet the mutant assassin Nightcrawler, who has the ability to teleport short distances. It was this power that lead to his involvement in the assassination attempt, which we also learn was conceived by Stryker, using a direct application of a chemical to a mutants neck which results in mind control. Strangely, Stryker has an assistant in all of this, which happens to be a mutant named Lady Deathstrike whose powers are similar to those of Wolverine, despite Stryker clearly hating mutants. Mystique returns in this film to inject a guard with liquid metal so that Magneto can extract that metal and escape the prison, but only after Xavier and Cyclops have been drugged and kidnapped by Stryker. Stryker’s ultimate goal is to use his own son’s mutant mind-control powers to convince Xavier to use a makeshift Cerebro device to kill all mutants. The only way to save mutants is by having Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, Storm, and Jean Grey team up with Magneto and Mystique, also joined by new bad guy in training Pyro. The following rescue mission results in Wolverine killing Lady Deathstrike with a direct injection of adamantium, Magneto attempting to use the mutant killing device to kill anything that isn’t a mutant, Wolverine allowing Stryker to die rather than learn more about his past, and sadly, the self-sacrifice of Jean Grey, which saves all the good guys.

 

Brian Cox was totally Brian Cox-ing the shit out of this movie. It was awesome.

THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING TALKING ABOUT! Eight years after it’s release, this film continues to be one of the best comic book movies ever made. With the first film setting things up, and not having to deal with introductions of the principal cast, the filmmakers were able to get right to the action, which was literal and figurative action. We only met a handful of new characters, and other than the antagonist, none of them played a major role, so you didn’t need to spend too much time with them. All of the actors really immersed themselves in their characters, and started to make them their own, rather than relying too closely on the plethora of resources that were had out there. There are different variations of all of these characters found in different Marvel universes, and I feel as though the portrayals of these characters from this film and the previous film, deserve their own recognition. Well, everybody except Halle Berry, because Storm still sucked in this movie, but she got a bigger part because she was just won an Oscar for getting boned doggystyle by Billy Bob Thornton.

 

Poor thing…grew out your nails and squeezed into leather, only to die after only saying one line.

For as much as this movie was accessible, like the previous film, to people who nothing about comics, it also really spoke to comic book fans. The plot of this film was heavily borrowed from the events of the “God Loves, Man Kills” storyline in X-Men comics from the early 80’s. Even Stryker’s name is used from that graphic novel, albeit his profession being changed from a priest to a militant figure. However, the idea of kidnapping Professor X in hopes of killing all the mutants is taken almost directly, which might not be something every moviegoer realizes, but every comic book fan would appreciate. In addition to that, there are more subtle nods to the franchise found throughout. Things like Dr. Hank McCoy, who people know as the mutant Beast, appearing on TV, as well as a searching through a computer to see all sorts of names familiar to comic book readers, and it’s those small touches that really appease the nerd in all of us. Finally, I’d just like to mention that for as awesome as this movie was, that whole two hours, that the most exciting moment took place at the very end, which was hearing Jean Grey repeat a dialogue spoken by Professor X in the first film, while the camera flies over the place where she dies, as we see the faint outline of a flaming bird, right before jumping to the credits. This was a direct reference to the Dark Phoenix saga, which involves the death, as well as evil rebirth, of Jean Grey. If that moment wasn’t enough to show you how great of a fit it was to have Bryan Singer directing these movies, nothing would, because that moment caused many nerdgasms worldwide.

 

Wolfman Moon Scale


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