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X2

May 2, 2003

Director –
Bryan Singer

Major Actors –
Patrick Stewart …. Professor Charles Xavier
Hugh Jackman …. Logan/Wolverine
Ian McKellen …. Erik Lensherr/Magneto
Halle Berry …. Storm
Famke Janssen …. Dr. Jean Grey
James Marsden …. Scott Summers
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos …. Mystique/Raven Darkholme
Brian Cox …. William Stryker
Alan Cumming …. Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler
IMDB Information

Analysis –
Acting :
As I state elsewhere, my enjoyment of a film is based in part on my expectations going in to a screening. As such, I was very very pleased by the acting in this film. Every single one of the characters seemed more alive than they did in the first movie, and I think a lot of that had to do with the increased familiarity the actors had with their characters. I was especially impressed with the new life that Ian McKellen breathed into Magneto. While in the first film he was somewhat of a stereotypical archvillian, he really got to strech his legs in this film, and Magneto stole the show whenever he was on screen. Wolverine, who was possibly the central character in this film, didn’t really have any more depth in this film (despite the delving into the past of the character), but Hugh Jackman obviously was more comfortable in the Adimantium shoes of the character this time around. Small, subtle moments really spoke volumes about what Wolverine was thinking or feeling. Subtle acting moments were abundant in this film, and Singer did a wonderful job incorporating them. With so many characters, everyone is not going to get a big part, just one of the hazards of a film like X2. But in their own way most of the smaller characters in the film had their moments to shine. (Pyro looking over the family photos at Iceman’s family home was probably the most understated and poinant one in the film.) Patrick Stewart had a surprisingly smaller part in the movie, but the part was a very important one. As always, he *was* the part he was playing. British actors, I tell ya…

Writing :
Much like X1, the writers of X2 did an admirable job of bringing a comic book to life on screen without making it painful to watch. They really got across the BAM! POW! aspect of comic books without making sure we also had a heaping helping of character development and just durn witty dialogue.

Directing:
Singer’s movies are all very similar. Decent (but not stellar) editing, nice visuals, and a lots of very nicely framed, pretty as heck shots. The (oft mentioned) opening scene featuring Nightcrawler in the White House is as amazing as everyone says it is, and it in itself may be worth a second viewing of this film.

Sets, Costumes, Special FX and Music:
This movie is set in several locations, all of which have some very deep visuals. From a mueseum full of people, to the bustling “School for the Gifted”, to a desolate research facility in the depths of Canada, every place we visit gives you a flavour of what’s going on at the moment in the plot. The costuming was excellent, just as in the first movie. The FX…if I have any beef in this movie, it’s the effects. Some of them (Particularly the powers of Magneto and Nightcrawler) were *very* well done, because of the way they were understated. Some of the others were no so well done. Jean Grey’s, in particular, I thought were a little “off”, and (IMHO) I think even more foreshadowing could have been done with some simple subtleties. The music for this film was done by John Ottman, a relatively undistinguished composer. The music was…there. Didn’t really add or detract from the film in any way that I can recall.

Movie Overall :
I am continually impressed with how well Hollywood movies are adapting comic book plots and characters nowadays. The successes of the X-Men and Spiderman movies give me hope that perhaps, one day, I might see an RPG-based movie that succeeds at the box office.

But I digress. X2 is a fun, actiony movie full of likable and/or interesting characters with more depth than you’d expect from a group of supes. The plot, while not full of super-shockers, does enough twisting that you can’t really come out of the film saying you knew everything was going to happen before it did. If you’re in the mood for some light action with some bite to it, plot-wise, x2 will fulfill your needs.

Personal Rating –
This movie is worth seeing on opening night.

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