X2: X-Men United
What parents need to know
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?
|Theatrical release date:||May 2, 2003|
|DVD release date:||November 25, 2003|
|Cast:||Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart|
|Studio:||Twentieth Century Fox|
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Book characters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs|
|Run time:||135 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality and brief language|