After “X-Men” was released in 2000 earning positive reviews and made money at the box office, 20th Century Fox (pre-Disney purchase) began development of a sequel with most of the cast from the first movie reprising their roles. After three years of crafting a cohesive narrative, “X2: X-Men United” disturbed worldwide.
X2: X-Men United was released in 2003. (same year the original Teen Titans aired on Cartoon Network) It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. It also made enough money at the box office. The third installment “X-Men: The Last Stand” came out in 2006 as the final entry to the original trilogy. Until more sequels were produced with the last one “The New Mutants” as the most recent entry. Then Disney bought Fox permanently ending an era.
Insomniac Games (Ratchet And Clank series, Spider-Man on PS4/PS5) announced an upcoming Wolverine video game will be released in the future. I thought about sharing my thoughts on one of my favorite X-Men related movies before the game comes out. Wolverine is my favorite Marvel character. A reboot of the X-Men is currently in development alongside another reboot of “Fantastic Four.”
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. Many of us grew up watching the X-Men films, the 90s cartoon on Fox Kids and video games.
Strong & Weak Aspects
Strong: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen & James Marsden reprise their roles and they all did a decent job for their respective performances.
Other Cast Members such as Alan Cumming & Brian Cox both did a great job for their respective performances as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler & William Stryker.
Fun Fact: Brian Cox (one of my favorite actors) went on to play a character named, Logan on HBO’s “Succession.”
Bryan Singer did a great job directing the second installment. I’m only praising him as a director. He’s actually a POS.
David Hayter, (Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid) Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters) & Zak Penn (Last Action Hero, Ready Player One) co-wrote the script.
Action Sequences are more prominent than the last one. My favorite scene is Wolvie’s fight with Lady Deathstrike. I also liked Wolvie mowing down soldiers at the mansion. Seeing him using stealth takedowns makes me wanna replay the video game, “Wolverine’s Revenge.”
Cinematography never had any technical issues throughout.
Visual Effects are upgraded yet they still hold up quite nicely.
Prosthetic Makeup transformed Alan & Rebecca as Nightcrawler & Mystique.
John Ottoman (a frequent collaborator of Bryan) orchestrated the music.
Opening Scene with Nightcrawler under Stryker’s mind control attacking secret service agents at The White House, indicates the sequel contains more action than last time.
Humor has some decent jokes. Seeing Wolvie react to Lady Deathstrike’s claws gave me a chuckle.
2003 was a trend for characters prone to getting angry. Besides Wolvie, many hotheads were featured in movies/shows/video games like David Buznik from “Anger Management,” Eric Bana’s “Hulk,” Stitch in “Stitch The Movie,” Raven from the original “Teen Titans,” Yusuke from “Yu Yu Hakusho,” Homer Simpson in “The Simpsons: Hit And Run” Jak in “Jak II,” Willie from “Bad Santa,” Raphael in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003,” Tasmanian Devil, Marvin The Martian and Yosemite Sam in “Looney Tunes: Back In Action,” Goku and Vegeta in “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2” & Gimil in “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.” That’s enough to fill in a group therapy.
Cyclops’ car is blue. As in his signature blue outfit.
I laughed so hard seeing Wolvie and the others hate NSYNC. Speaking of which, Justin Timberlake released first solo album “Justified” came out in 2003. “Rock Your Body” was a hit back in the day. If the MCU recreates a similar scene with Wolvie groaning over Ariana Grande’s music by clawing the radio, I would laugh my butt off.
Hank McCoy appears on TV. He later shows up as Beast in the next film.
Iceman’s family lives in Boston. Wait a darn minute. “Mystic River” took place in Boston.
Iceman calls Logan a professor. It’s funny, because he was teacher in the comics. Gotta love in-jokes.
Stryker’s son is named, Jason. Another Jason squared off with Freddy Krueger in “Freddy VS. Jason.” Both Jason’s are linked to their parents’ destructive tendencies.
Storm said, “Sometimes anger can help you survive. Wolvie & Hulk in a nutshell.
Storm uses her piloting skills to evade jet fighters. In the words of Maverick & Goose from “Top Gun,” “I feel the need, the need for speed!” By the way, Ang Lee’s Hulk also used a jet scene.
Stryker’s goal is to eradicate mutant life using Professor X by using his son Jason to trick him into searching for every mutant with a recreation of Cerebro.
Both the X-Men & The Brotherhood Of Evil forced to make a temporary alliance takes cues from the Apocalypse storyline from the comics. Even the video game “X-Men Legends: Rise Of Apocalypse” involves both teams working together to prevent Apocalypse’s grandmaster plan from becoming a reality. Much better than the disappointing 2016 clunker. It’s a shame Oscar Isaac’s portrayal as Apocalypse could’ve save the film. At least he’ll play “Moon Knight” on Disney Plus.
Wolvie has a dark past and he can’t remember what happened. Coincidentally, Eric Bana’s Hulk has a similar dark past. Here are the similarities. Both are played by Australian actors, have anger issues, prefer to be alone, origins linked to an experiment, has a rival competing to win the heart of a love interest, their love interest is a doctor, use their powers to protect civilians and a bearded old man played a key role in their origins.
Magneto manages to persuade Pyro to join The Brotherhood Of Evil. Giving him a complaint he’s “A god among insects.” Later, he flees with Magneto & Mystique.
Stryker’s last words to Wolvie are, “One day, someone will finish what I’ve started, Wolverine, one day!” Foreshadowing Wolvie’s daughter X-23 from “Logan.”
Jean Grey sacrifices herself to lift The X-Jet. As she uses her powers, a fiery aura surrounds her. Foreshadowing her destructive dark side as The Phoenix.
The Last Scene ends with a Phoenix underneath Alkali Lake. Obviously setting up Jean Grey’s return in X-Men: The Last Stand. As a kid, it gave me goosebumps. I still have goosebumps hearing Jean’s narration before the final shot shows us fans she’s still alive.
Weak: I couldn’t find no issues. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless sequel as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
X2: X-Men United is my favorite film from the original X-Men trilogy. All the positive stuff I’ve listed, indicates why it’s arguably listed as one of my favorite X-Men related movies along with “X-Men: First Class,” first two “Deadpool movies” and my all time favorite Logan. If you wanna refresh your memory before Wolverine’s video game comes out in the future, now is the time to watch all the X-Men movies.