X2: X-Men United Movie Poster Image

X2: X-Men United



Bigger and badder than No. 1, but still a blast.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: November 23, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Like the comic, this film can be seen as a metaphor for those -- young people in particular -- who stand out from the pack because they're different. It stresses that it's those who are different and willing to embrace what makes them unique who bring about evolution and progress in the world.


Positive role models

Professor Charles Xavier always wants what is best for the "mutants" who attend his school. The X-Men are brave, devoted to their professor and school, and loyal to one another.



Cartoonish, comic book-style violence. In fight scenes, characters claw other characters to death, a mutant kills a squadron of police officers with fire, and the president of the United States gets pinned to his desk while a mutant sticks a knife inches away from his face. Characters are thrown, stabbed, punched, kicked, and tossed around.



Mystique wears a skin-tight outift that looks like a nude body covered in blue and green paint.



"S--t," "ass," "tit," "dick," "hell."


When drinking soda, characters drink Dr. Pepper. When Wolverine drinks beer, he reaches for Miller Genuine. The film is also tied to vast quantities of X-Men merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Early in the film, teen characters smoke at a mall. Wolverine is often seen smoking a cigar. The President of the United States pours himself a drink of unknown alcohol, but does not act intoxicated. Wolverine asks for and drinks beer, but does not act intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that X2: X-Men United is the action- and violence-packed second film in the X-Men blockbuster movie franchise. The action in the fight scenes is unrelenting and, though  cartoonish and rooted in comic books, features moments where the President of the United States is pinned down on his Oval Office desk by a knife-wielding mutant, police officers are burnt to a crisp, and soldiers are clawed to death by Wolverine. At other moments characters are kicked, thrown, and shot at. Teens smoke in a mall, and Wolverine is often seen with a cigar in his mouth. There's occasional profanity ("s--t," "ass," "tit," "dick," "hell") and some product placement as characters drink Dr. Pepper and Miller Genuine Draft.

What's the story?

The ubiquitous Brian Cox (of Adaptation, The 25th Hour, The Ring, and The Rookie) as Colonel Stryker wants to wipe out the mutants. Stryker and his soldiers invade the school run by wise and benevolent mutant Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart). They capture Xavier and some of the students. Stryker plans to use Xavier's brain and the machine he developed to track down and destroy every mutant. Meanwhile, Magneto (Ian McKellan) is in an enormous plastic prison, unable to use his powers because they require metal. He is able to get out after metal is smuggled in to him, and must work with Xavier's mutants (the X-Men), his former enemies, to defeat Stryker.

Is it any good?


X2: X-MEN UNITED is bigger, badder, and better than the first one. In essence, what we said the first time about special effects, attractive stars, fun action sequences, and the perfect popcorn-movie tone applies to this one, too.

That said, while this movie is all about the action, there are so many characters that it's hard to include them all in anything meaningful, giving parts of the movie the feel of a prolongued introduction. The comic fans want to see every character up on the screen, and the movie tries to make it happen. But the result is that it's hard for people who are not familiar with the stories to keep everyone straight or develop much of a commitment to any of them. Halle Berry and Anna Paquin in particular are still criminally underused. The most memorable character is Mystique, played by Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, who is so good that she can even act under all that blue paint and those sequin-like scales. Alan Cummings is a welcome addition as Nightcrawler, but his German accent and Biblical references seem out of place and attracted some laughter from the audience. This is handled with more sensitivity in the comic books, where he is portrayed as a devout Catholic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the the mutants' fight for acceptance mirrors the struggle to overcome racism and other forms of bigotry in our society. Is the metaphor effective?

  • If you saw the first X-Men movie in this series, which do you like better? How are they different?

  • How well do you think comic books translate to feature films? Which comics-based movies have made the best adaptations?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 2, 2003
DVD release date:November 25, 2003
Cast:Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart
Director:Bryan Singer
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Book characters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality and brief language

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byChris LP November 22, 2008

A comic book movie classic!

X2 is the best of the X-Men films. This one is more intense than it is violent. Also, there is a scene with implied oral sex in a bathroom stall between a woman and a man.
Teen, 15 years old Written byTaliaFilmsreviews December 26, 2010

GREAT better than the film, some distrubing images and iffy stuff

Better than the first movie-better story (though more characters to juggle), way better effects, and just overall a lot of fun. It does have some pretty iffy violence (such as the fight between Deathstrike and Wolverine), but the only other concern is 2 brief sexual scenes, both involving Mystique. In the first, she seduces a security guard in order to help her boss Magneto escape (the scene is mostly suggestive). She also impersonates Jean, so she and Logan have a passionate make-out scene until he finds the scar he gave her. Other than those concerns, it's ok for kids 12 and over-the sequence with Logan stabbing guards left and right is non-bloody but a little disturbing since it's dark. I only heard the use of the s-word and 2 4-letter words , so language is mild. But the film has really good role models since one character sacrifices herself for others, and the other mutants are portrayed as putting others lives before their own wellfare. The villians in the film are clearly bad, though with the exception of Deathstrike, we don't actually see them get any punishment for their deeds (magneto and his cohorts get away and take one rebel mutant with them). Overall though a great film, though over 11 is recommended.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old April 30, 2009

X2 x-men united review by critic07

It was a freakin' awesome movie. I'm a big comic fan so i loved it. When you see it you will love it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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