Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Some ways better.
The best series stay true to themselves, and what I mean by that is that they don’t stray too far from home. It is true that the X-Men series is obviously based off of the comic book series of the same name. Now, people believe (really strongly) that the movie series needs to pay close homage to the original source. I respectfully disagree. Instead, I believe if it does pay homage, cool, if it doesn’t…cool. We’ll get to that more with X-Men: The Last Stand…actually…I can’t wait to get into that. Anyways, X2 pays a lot of respect to the comic book series, just like the first one, and only sways enough to feel like it belongs in the series but changes enough in order for it not to feel like a carbon copy of the first flick.
Magneto is still locked away in his foolproof plastic prison, and there is a new baddy looking for attention, and his name is William Stryker (Brian Cox). Stryker hates mutants with a passion, and wants them all dead. Grand scheme, I agree, but how will he accomplish it? Thankfully, his son was a mutant that had a special ability to control people’s minds, with that, he kidnaps Professor X, builds his own cerebro, and uses a tranced-out Professor X to kill all mutants through his custom-made cerebro. The X-Men need help, and they get it from a very unlikely source…a recently freed Magneto. Stryker is the man responsible for Wolverine’s transformation 15 years ago, and Wolverine’s looking for answers. Meanwhile, Jean Grey has been going through some transforming herself.
You know how I remember this one? I remember by thinking it’s the one where all the ladies want a piece of Wolverine. That’s probably not true, but you have enough reason to think otherwise when he seems to keep getting flirtatious eyes. Even Mystique practically begs for him to take her. All I have to say about that is…that would have been interesting. Anyways, the real person that Wolverine seduces is the audience. Before Iron Man was Marvel’s star character, Wolverine was. His popularity has definitely lessened just below Iron Man’s fame, but it’s still there, and Hugh Jackman is still reeling in the Wolverine dollars. However, it’ll be hard to talk about characters in this film without mentioning Jean Grey.
Most people know Jean Grey from her alter-ego…ish character of the Phoenix. It’s legendary for X-Men fans, and even if you haven’t seen this film, you’ve probably been informed as such up to this point anyways, so it’s not much of a spoiler. Her character and Wolverine surprisingly both had a lot of character development, which was interesting to see the dynamic shifts between the two throughout the flick. However, character development was not the central focus of the film, but thankfully the development provided was satisfactory enough not to get too many complaints. You certainly won’t be hearing any complaints from me there. I will admit that this film is actually a lot better than the first in a lot of ways, but it is flawed.
The first film was really great because it was so simple. You have so many characters, all with a great introduction, a really well put-together plot, which was all executed very well. This plot was a bit more complicated, which was good in parts and could-have-been-better in other parts. I used to think there were two bad guys in the film, and in a way there is, but at the same time there isn’t. Magneto is more or less a good guy in X2. The first film dealt with two opposing teams with the same goal. The second film dealt with hate, and the two opposing teams working together to stop it. That’s different.
The first film was clearly about racism, but that’s not quite as true this time around. We have political statements about terrorism, and we have a smaller side story that could almost be considered a message on homosexuality. What I mean by that is that instead of society’s acceptance, one character had to get their family’s acceptance because they were ashamed and afraid of what they would think. “Have you ever tried…not being a mutant” specifically was asked during this conversation. The theme also switched from “being different is good” to teamwork, and stopping the real, common threat at all costs.
X2 pretty much matches its predecessor in regards to entertainment. The complex plot may have hurt it in the long run, but barely by a noticeable margin. Definitely another buy-worthy film.