Having live actors portray superheroes is hard to pull off and in the past, the track record for making movies of the Marvel comics' brand of costumed crusaders has been remarkably bad. Faith as true believers paid off in the summer of 1999, when Marvel fans got their wish and then some with the first "X-Men" feature length film. It was a Marvel comics adaptation so good, it paved the way for movies like last years Spiderman and the upcoming Summer of Superheroes. It's fitting then that the "X-Men" kick the 2003 blockbuster season off with "X2", a sequel that serves up the mutant mayhem that you've been wanting and more.
A few weeks after the first "X-Men" movie came out I went to a panel at the San Diego comic-con where a Producer from Fox commented on how the success of the "X-Men" surprised the studio and that they wished they'd invested more money making it, to really push it over the top. With the lavish and long awaited sequel "X2", Fox fully gets behind the uncanny mutants and gives enough support to let director Bryan Singer and his crew become unchained in delivering the goods.
Under Singers direction, the "X-Men's" unbelievably well-cast ensemble of A-list talent is re-united to reprise their roles. And just when you thought it couldn't be any better than Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian Mckellen as Magneto and Halle Berry as Storm, "X2" gives us Alan Cumming as the show stealing Nightcrawler, who's teleporting blueness is actualized so well that you can almost smell the brimstone.
Together with an army of special effects contractors and artists the "X2" crew craft an amazing fantasy adventure that Saturday matinees were made for. The storyline continues the conflict between humans and mutants, who are people with abilities that put them on the next step of the evolutionary ladder. The fear and prejudice this time is stirred up by General Stryker played by Brian Cox, who uses the might of the US military to contain the mutants, and pursue his own personal goal to eliminate them all.
As a person who grew up reading the comics, I applaud "X2". Singers' cinematic interpretation of the "X-Men" universe is spot on. So much so, that I can get over the obvious product placement scenes and forgive the forgettable soundtrack score. But it's really disappointing not to see any mention or acknowledgement of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Dave Cockrum or Jack Kirby, who's vision of Stan Lee's characters clearly shaped these "X-Men" movies. It's as offensive as when H.R. Giger wasn't credited in the last "Aliens" film. But that's Hollywood politics for you, and these omissions in the credits won't interfere with most movie-goers enjoyment of the ride. Readers Remember!
Waiting for "X3" and the "New Mutants" weekly television show, this is Purple for Movie Magazine.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 4/29/03
USA - 2003