Review: X Men 2 – X2 (2003)

X Men 2 – X2 (2003)

Directed by: Bryan Singer | 133 minutes | action, thriller, fantasy, science fiction | Actors: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Brian Cox, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Alan Cumming, Anna Paquin, Bruce Davison, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, Kelly Hu, Cotter Smith

‘X2’ is the sequel to the first X-Men movie. Where the first print was rather long-winded and bogged down in boring, irrelevant posturing, the successor effortlessly takes revenge. The second film about the team of mutants is an energetic action science fiction movie that thunders past.

The film picks up where the first X-Men print ended. Director Bryan Singer wastes no time and ramps up the action from the start of the film. In a wonderful introduction the character Kurt Wagner (Allan Cumming) is introduced. The rest of the production stays the same, fast pace, without losing sight of the story. That’s very clever, since much more attention has now been paid to the script than in the first part. All characters, with the exception of Cyclops, get much more space and are explored more in this way. This approach pays off, because it makes the mutual relationships between both the team and the ‘bad guys’ much clearer.

The cast is visibly enjoying the reprise of their roles. Ian McKellen, in particular, makes the most of his role as the ‘evil’ Magneto. The depth he manages to put into his role proves once again why McKellen is such a great actor. The strength of his playing is the extent to which he takes his role seriously, in a classically trained theatrical way he knows how to portray a power-hungry and gentle man who stands for his ideals. A less gifted actor would not have succeeded. Hugh Jackman has also grown in his role of Wolverine. The inner struggle to maintain his humanity and not give in to his bloodthirsty, animalistic instincts comes through quite well in Jackman’s game. ‘X2’ is definitely not a character study, but the director knows how to give all the characters a face in a subtle way. This doesn’t sound too special, but since the continuous action seems to predominate, this is certainly commendable.

Scottish character actor Brian Cox plays Stryker, the film’s villain. Cox’s charisma comes out well. Despite his character’s evil intentions, Cox manages to evoke some understanding of his character’s motivations in a single scene. The good cast is used very well in this film. The comics of the American cartoon characters are respectfully approached in this production. The strengths that the comics possess come to the fore in ‘X2’. The mutual relationships, motives and discrimination against minorities, in this case mutants, are neatly pointed out.

The power of the print is ultimately the symbiosis between action and acting. With an appealing villain, interesting characters and the thin line between good and evil, this second film scores much better than its predecessor. One point of criticism is the length of the film. With a playing time of 133 minutes, that is a bit too long. A single scene is stretched too long. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that ‘X2’ stands alone in the superhero movie genre.

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