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X2: X-Men United

X-Men 2
X2: X-Men United

Year Of Release

Bryan Singer

Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter

Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Zak Penn

As with X-Men, problems hit X2 hard and fast. The success of X-Men pushed Fox into hammering money into X2, and again, they gave very little time for the filmmakers to get the film done.

Writers David Hayter and Zak Penn wrote two separate scripts for X2… eventually two new writers were brought in in the forms of Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, and all four along with Singer then combined the best parts of each script into one screenplay.

Once again though, the filmmakers were given around 6 months to make the film, during which time nearly 70 sets needed to be built and locations scouted… which also gave problems as some of the locations used, especially with the dodgy weather conditions, weren’t ideal for what the director and producers wanted.

Not just the production had problems either; even the rewrites had problems approaching the filming start date. Many of the characters were rewritten to give extra screen time, including Storm, and new characters added/rewritten, including Lady Deathstrike… and with barely enough time left to actually make the film, a number of characters had to then be deleted and the scripts rewritten once again, which sadly meant Sabretooth was written out.


A short time after X-Men, Logan has returned from a soul finding trip and it has transpired that Magneto has involuntarily given information about Xavier’s school and about the people who live and work there… to a man called Stryker.

Using a new weapon, Stryker has the ability to control mutants and his plan is to use certain devices of Xavier’s as an even more powerful weapon, to kill mutants outright.
It also transpires that Logan has a history with Stryker, but Logan still can’t remember anything about his life from years ago.

Xavier’s X-Men unite with Magneto and his “Brothers” to do what they can to discover what Stryker is up to and the history between him and Logan… but it will cost them dearly in doing so.

Where to begin?
Ok, X2 ramps up the stakes, and rightly so especially after the excitement of the first film.

This time round having new writers has given more substance to the political side of things and has ramped up the action stakes too.

One thing that stands out more than before is also Magneto and Xavier’s relationship. It gives a real personal and emotional depth to proceedings and makes for much more enjoyable twists and turns throughout the running time.

The things that made the story special in the first film are still there too, Magneto’s reasoning for his actions, Xavier’s reasoning for stopping him etc.
But with more character arcs added to the mix, an expansion in Wolverine’s background, and more screen time and storylines for those that were just supporting roles in the first film, it makes for a more interesting storyline overall that is more character driven.

The added bonus is that you never know what Magneto and his group are up to… even when he and the X-Men join forces against a mutual enemy.

The overall dialogue writing has also been improved. There much less in terms of cheesiness and the more serious notes have been thought through and tweaked into something that is much more believable.

Another thing is that more humour throughout has also been incorporated too.

The acting is also improved throughout and the cast seem to be having much more fun and a freer rein with the roles.

This time round, Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmore (Rogue and Iceman respectively) as a kind of troubled love story is a wonderfully realised piece of writing. Seeing them on screen more is also a nice touch, they’re very likeable.

We’re also treated to Pyro played by Aaron Stanford. His feud with Iceman is another nice touch and gives Paquin and Ashmore something to watch out for. He also has massive chemistry with McKellen and Romijn-Stamos which is key to his role throughout the films.

Brian Cox makes a great showing as his usual bad guy persona. He plays Stryker and is definitely a bad guy to really loathe. As usual with Cox, he’s memorable beyond belief.

The real standout role this time round though is chameleon actor Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler.
He is incredible in the role of the God-fearing Teleporter and steals the show whenever he’s on screen. His makeup is also fantastic.

Back up comes from Kelly Hu, Katie Stuart and Daniel Cudmore makes a kind of cameo as Colossus.

The action, choreography and effects are also improved throughout, especially with the third act showdown.
We get to see Wolverine come head to head with an almost equal and throughout the running time there’s more explosive action when it comes to the feud between humans and mutants… then there’s a wonderfully realised and sombre ending to the film as well.

The effects rendering, both practical and CG is also top notch.


All in all, improved but still not perfect, though more exciting and better written in terms of backstory and general exposition too.
The overall characters’ storylines being opened and more screen time for what were supporting roles is also a welcome improvement.
The twists and turns throughout are also well written.

My rating: 87%