X2: X-Men United is Still Pretty Good

Remember when movies could just use a single letter and number in their titles? No need to call it ‘Terminator 2’, T2 will do just fine. Everyone will know what it means, don’t worry about it!

Anyways, this movie is really good. Of the original X-Men trilogy, it’s by far the best one. Not that the bar was very high. The first one is okay, and the next one is… well, we’ll get to that.

After a mind-controlled Nightcrawler tries to assassinate the president, the United States takes a hostile position against mutants. William Stryker heads this charge, invading the X Mansion to ‘investigate’ their ties to the mutants, bringing Wolverine face-to-face with his forgotten past as he kidnaps several of the children. Meanwhile, Mystique sets Magneto free. Both sides meet within Stryker’s base, where the future of mutant-kind will be decided.

The plot here is surprisingly solid for an early 2000s superhero flick. Its one of my favorite takes on the X-Men themes of discrimination, masterfully adapting them to film. Hell, the whole scene with Bobby showing his family his powers is basically just the superhero movie of a gay kid coming out at the time. It’s just as resonant now as it was back then. Maybe even more so.

The opening scene is one of the coolest action sequences in any superhero movie, even to this day. Nightcrawler’s powers are used to fantastic effect; this scene alone made me a huge Nightcrawler fan as a kid. On top of being really cool and engaging to watch, it sets the tone of the film perfectly.

Stryker is easily the best villain out of any of these movies. Sure, Magneto is iconic and practically all-powerful. But Stryker being an ordinary man makes his cruelty towards mutants even worse. Magneto may be psychotic, but he’s ultimately working for a positive goal; Stryker is genuine bastard through and through. As such, his ultimate defeat is immensely satisfying.

Also, Magneto is basically the X-Men’s sassy uncle in this movie, and I love that. Plus, his escape scene is absolutely awesome. Even if the CGI hasn’t aged all that well.

Still, the plot isn’t perfect. There are still plenty of things here where you can’t help but roll your eyes. Like Logan’s ‘romance’ with Jean Grey. Why does he like her? Uh… because she’s hot?

It also suffers from the same ensemble issues that the first one did. Storm, Cyclops, and Rogue (remember her? The main character of the last one?) are just there to fill out the cast; they don’t have much to do here. Once again, this is the Wolverine show, featuring Magneto, Nightcrawler, and a few others.

As for the visuals, it’s… still surprisingly decent. Sure, you can definitely tell that it’s a film from the early 2000s. The CGI is rough around the edges and neither the editing or the cinematography are anything incredible. But it isn’t offensively bad by any means. It still looks fine; your eyeballs won’t hurt by the end of it.

Even if the costumes still suck. Forget black leather, give me yellow spandex!

X2 is still a really good movie. It has a solid and compelling story and some really cool action. If you’re sick of modern superhero flicks and you want something in the genre to cleanse your pallet, this one is a solid pick.

But then there’s the next movie. And that one is just… holy hell, it’s bad.

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3 responses to “X2: X-Men United is Still Pretty Good”

  1. X2 certainly wins my vote for the best X-Men film and especially because of the scene with Bobby’s family. Thank you for your review.

    Liked by 2 people

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