Review: 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 nonsense, the successor effortlessly takes revenge. The second film about the team of mutants is an energetic action science fiction print that thunders by at full speed.

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. The character Kurt Wagner (Allan Cumming) is presented in a brilliant introduction. The rest of the production maintains the same, fast pace, without losing sight of the story. That is very clever as much more attention has now been paid to the script than in the first part. All characters, except for Cyclops, get a lot more space and are explored in this way. This approach is worthwhile, 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 is making the most of his role as the “bad” Magneto. The depth that he manages to put into his role proves again why McKellen is such a great actor. The strength of his playing is the degree to which he takes his role seriously, in a classically trained theatrical way he manages 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 into his role as Wolverine. The inner struggle to preserve his humanity and not give in to his bloodthirsty, animal instincts is quite evident in Jackman’s game. “X2” is by no means a character study, but the director subtly knows how to give a face to all the characters. This doesn’t sound very special, but since the continuous action seems to predominate, this is certainly commendable.

Scottish character actor Brian Cox plays Stryker, the villain of the film. Cox’s charisma comes out well. Despite the evil intentions of his character, Cox manages to evoke some understanding of the motives of his character in a single scene. The good cast is put to excellent use in this print. The comics of American cartoon characters are treated with respect in this production. The strengths of the comics are well highlighted in “X2”. The mutual relationships, motives and discrimination against minorities, in this case mutants, are neatly touched upon.

Ultimately, the power of the print is the symbiosis between action and acting. With an appealing villain, interesting characters and the fine 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 alter the fact that “X2” is at a lonely height in the superhero movie genre.

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