X2: X-Men United

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X2: X-Men United
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

An assassination attempt on the President of the United States leads a U.S. military commander, General William Striker (Brian Cox), to attack a mutant school in Westchester County in hopes of eradicating the mutants from the earth once and for all. That is I suppose the Coles Notes/Cliffs Notes version of the storyline of X2: X-Men United, this summer's first genuine high-priced Hollywood blockbuster.

For all the hype, all the trailers, all the rumors, all the advertising and all of everything else that goes on with this type of movie, X2 does not disappoint. Right from the outstanding opening scene to the somewhat anti-climatic and I suppose rather disappointing ending, X2 is an absolute joy to watch. It is a good movie for the non-comic book geek (a category in which I put myself) as well as your typical X-Men comic book geek fan (I saw the movie with one and he claims there are a lot of subtle nuances in the movie for geeks like him to enjoy). I found I had a lot easier time following the many characters and understanding the story of this latest X-Men installment, much more than the first X-Men movie.

I must repeat again, the opening scene may be the best to ever be transmitted from comic book to movie screen. I don't want to get into too much detail but I really just sat there thinking "that was fucking awesome" when it ended. Okay, I said it out loud, but who's counting.

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is quite possibly the best comic book action hero (almost an anti-hero) that I have ever seen. The guy really has a bit of everything - he drinks beer, smokes cigars, is built like a brick shithouse, craves a hot piece of ass, and will slice your throat for breathing too loud. (when you think about it, you would almost expect a hero like Wolverine to simply knock unconscious any U.S. soldier who gets in his way but this guy will rip your nuts off - he doesn't fuck around - if you get in his way, you will probably die a quick but painful death) But at the same time has a tender, softer side. And he even has a sense of humor. Hell, I would date the guy if it weren't for those damn claws.

Wolverine is the man in this movie and everyone else is more or less a secondary character. Right from Professor X (Patrick Stewart who's role in the movie, although important, almost seems to go unnoticed) to Storm (Halle Barry and her great rack) to Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos - I love body paint) to all the others, the characters are all quite good and none are really overwhelming (although I suppose Cyclops is a bit of a flop). Romijn-Stamos was used quite a bit more this time around and her character did not disappoint. Several new characters are introduced (including Iceman, Nightcrawler, Pyro, Lady Deathstrike and Colossus) and all are very cool (Nightcrawler and Colossus were definitely my favorites) and should play larger roles in future X-Men movies. A lot of the kiddies in the movie give us very brief previews of their powers and none disappointed. In fact they were so well done and quite realistic that I was really starting to believe that there are people in this world who live as mutants. And of course their is the ever-present Magneto (Ian McKellen/Gandalf) whose escape from prison may be one of the most dramatic prison escapes of all-time.

Anyways, I could go on and on and on but does it really matter? You will see this movie regardless of my babbling. I will conclude, however, by saying that my one criticism was the predictability of the ending. Nothing too fancy and way too typical. Oh, and the movie maybe dragged on for a few minutes too long. But other than that, X2 is a really good movie. It may even rival The Empire Strikes Back as one of the great movie sequels of all-time although it could have taken a lesson in a great ending from that movie. Enjoy the movie and enjoy your weekend.

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