Sunday, June 8, 2008

X2: X-Men United (5.2.2003)

Director: Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan
Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Bryan Cox, Alan Cumming, John Allerdyce, Kelly Hu
Watch for: Mutant cameos, characterized and listed.
Editor(s): John Ottman, Elliot Graham
<-- The version I own.

Sequels should
always be better than the original. Granted, sometimes this is difficult to pull off, or maybe even if it is "better", fans will always hold the original in higher regard simply for being the first.
X-Men 2 has been highly regarded as the sequel the original film deserved, better than the original. Great story, more action, interesting dynamic between all the characters, along with a good progression for them as well.

It was a big deal when it came out, especially for Wolverine. Bryan Singer "finally explained Wolverine's origin". Y'know, I read a few X-Men comics in my day, watched the kid's show in the 90's, and while I never really read anything about Wolverine's past, I still felt like I didn't really learn anything new about him. We'd known he was a government experiment who set free, which he was. The only difference is that in this film Logan gets to see where this happened, and meet who was responsible. It works, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't seem like they really told us anything we didn't know. I'm not sure what role Stryker played in the comics, maybe that's what the big deal was.

There are a few things that bother me about this movie. One thing is Storm.
Ms. Berry, you know I love you, but where the hell did your accent go? One of the great things about X-Men back in the comics, and even the show, was the different nationalities of all the characters. Rogue was southern. Nightcrawler was German. Storm is African. I think Rogue keeps her accent in this one, but Storm just sounds like a regular American, and I think her role suffers for it. She definitely sounded more interesting in X1.

Oh well.
Another thing that gets to me is the "out-of-nowhere" saves. A couple come to mind, like when the jet nearly avoids getting hit with a missile and begins crashing and Magneto just happens to be standing in a close enough region to catch it before it lands.
I guess that prison of his must've been fairly close to the mansion.
Then, Rogue manages to clumsily fly the Blackbird to the location to pick up all of the mutants that escape the underground base. I mean, it's possible that the X-Men's comlinks have tracking devices which the jet could pick up, but we don't even get a quick shot or line to explain how she knew she had to get there in order to save everyone.

Those are small detail, however. Plenty of movies have last-minute saves like this that aren't explained, so it is forgivable as convention.

I'd say the thing I like about the first X-Men is the style. The first half, like I said. Nice, quiet drama. There is some good action present, but once you see X2 you realize the action in the first was them trying to really get their feet wet with this sort of thing. They definitely stepped it up, even with the first scene and Nightcrawler's amazing assault on the White House.
I didn't pay close enough attention when I saw the trailer, originally I thought he was going to be in the X-mansion helping fight off the invading forces.

Which brings me to my next point. That scene, where Styker's men take over, is just plain awesome. There is something amazingly creepy about watching the villain walk into the hero's secret base when nobody's home, like Styker walking into a dark Cerebro. Bone-chilling.

In this scene, we also get some good mutant cameos from the comics. We see the film series' second Shadowcat, along with Siryn and Colossus. The sound they came up with for Siryn's sonic scream just makes me so happy. It's excellent. I did want to see more of Colossus, but they got to him in the next film. It was a nice touch though, early in the film where they show him as having a flair for the artistic, as he did in the comics.
I think Lady Deathstrike was probably the biggest departure from the original character. I'd heard about her before the movie, had her trading card I believe. She does have some adamantium enhancements, but the big thing about her is that she was a cyborg. I don't believe she was ever a mutant before, but I could be wrong.
Still, watching her early on in the waiting room, cracking her knuckles, you can just picture her segmented talons shifting inside her fingers. Nice.

They definitely were familiar with their source material for the first two films. I could go on and on, and praise every scene, but I think I'll keep it short for this one. Only a few light problems with it, but it's a lot of fun. Very high on the list of good superhero films, for sure.

It's unfortunate they rushed X3 and gave it to Ratner, and kinda screwed up the series after that. I'll have more on this later, I'm sure.

No comments: