X2: The X-Fan Review

Our buddy Eric Moreels over at X-Fan is in the know,
Reviewer: Eric J. Moreels,
Quick Rating: X-cellent!

The X-Men have had many adjectives describing them over the years: amazing, astonishing, x-treme, ultimate, and, of course, uncanny. None of them, however, not even combined, can come close to describing 20th Century Fox's mutant movie sequel, X2. Director Bryan Singer and co. have surpassed all expectations, delivering a film that is bigger, longer, and much, much better than its predecessor.

Whilst the first film served primarily as an introduction to the characters, their world, and their beliefs, X2 launches headlong into its story, which picks up shortly after the events of the first X-Men film. Grander in scope from its predecessor, X2 picks up on several subplots from the first film, such as the Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine love triangle, the attraction between Iceman and Rogue, and the relationship between Magneto and Xavier. Once all the pieces are in play, the film shifts into high gear, pausing only briefly for the occasional light-humoured or tender moment. Some of the best moments of the film are the interactions between the characters, lifting X2 to a level high above your average action flick.

The film also boasts some downright beautiful locations and scenery, making it a visual feast. The special effects serve to enhance the story rather than overwhelm it, helping make these fantastic characters and their amazing abilities all the more believable. Cerebro, in particular, has had an upgrade in terms of FX from the first film, and the result is breathtaking. Each characters' abilities are well defined and visually striking, especially those of Pyro, Storm, and Jean Grey.

One of the main gripes many fans had with the first film was that not all the characters managed to get as much time in the spotlight as others. Not so here. Granted, the film focuses on Wolverine and his search for his past, but all the major characters - and even some of the minor ones such as Colossus and Siryn - get their chance to shine. Despite the size of the cast, the end result is a well-balanced mix. The stand-out, though, has to be Alan Cumming's portrayal of the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler. The big screen version of the character looks, acts, "bamfs", and talks as though he were lifted straight from the pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1. Deeply emotional and wonderfully complex, Cumming's Nightcrawler comes across as more human than some of the film's actual human characters.

The climax of the film will be one that noone who sees the film will quickly forget. X2 is a much darker film than its predecessor. Wolverine, especially, is far more ruthless and deadly than he was in X-Men. The much-touted fight between Wolverine and Deathstrike is incredibly brutal and intense, and will surely be talked about for some time to come. The climax culminates in a scene intentionally omitted from both the official novelization and comic book adaptation; one that will have fans reeling at its impact and leave no doubt as to what the plot of X3 will most likely be!

Die-hard X-fans will find the film a treat thanks to a slew of comic book references, such as cameo appearances like the Beast and name-drops like Jamie Madrox, but you'll have to be quick to spot them! X2 is a thrill-a-minute ride with knock-your-socks-off action and heart-warming characterization. Even if you're not a fan, however, there's plenty in the film for you no matter your cinematic tastes. Action, adventure, suspense, intrigue, romance, humour, and tragedy - X2 has it all!
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