Soap Opera in Comic Book Form
X2 (2003): 6 out of 10: X2 solves the biggest problem I had with the original X-Men movie. I am no longer rooting for the wrong side.
You see in the first film I quickly agreed with the bad guys led by Ian McKellen rather than the good guys led by Captain Picard himself Patrick Stewart. I merely felt the so-called bad guys were right and just had a better plan. Since McKellen and Stewart are working together in this film (however temporarily) that point is mute.
The other improvement over the last film is more coherent and effective action sequences. Part of this is because of a bigger budget and better F/X technology, but director Bryan Singer also seems to have a better grip on the pacing and shooting of both the action sequences in particular and the entire film.
A better grip on the characters still seems the series weak point however. Part of this is my fault. I am just not familiar enough with the X-Men universe and their powers. For example, we have Stewart’s character able to kill everyone on earth with his thoughts but unable to escape the mental influence of a little girl. The rest of the powers are often as sloppy.
One great example is the eye-rolling mutant power is when Magneto draws the iron from blood to make bullets. Really? What is worse is even the characters themselves get confused. For instance, nobody remembers that there is an Iceman on the plane when the killer tidal wave approaches.
Also, as in the first film, a chunk of time is spent on Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine character. He is cool and all, but I still am not sure why he is considered a mutant? (If he has a metal skeleton surrounded by flesh and was built by humans I am thinking cyborg) (A side note I originally wrote this review in 2005 and was unaware that a healing power was his mutation. I leave my first impression as a historical artifact.)
Throw in another dozen or so good and bad guys to keep track of, and the confusion seems clear. As a result, there is no real emotional attachment and a lot of trouble regarding the characters.
One last question. Where precisely in McKellen’s clear jail cell suspended from the ceiling is the bathroom?