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X-Men 2

November 16, 2014

X-Men 2 (2003)
Director: Bryan Singer
Actors: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman

x2-1.jpg (411×172)

Synopsis: A hawkish US General, William Stryker (Brian Cox), with murky past links to the X-Men, is revealed to be behind a ruse to set public opinion against the X-Men, and indeed to play Magneto (Ian McKellen) off against Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Stryker captures Professor X and gets him to use his famous Cerebro for nefarious means, so the remaining X-Men (including Magneto) team up to thwart Stryker.

Review: Having just watched Joss Whedon’s highly literate superhero fanboy ode, Avengers Assemble, then gone back to a comparable project/premise ten years earlier in Bryan Singer’s X-Men 2, it’s easy to see the clear disparity between Whedon’s intelligence and lightness of touch, versus Singer’s inferior, lumbersome way of handling a multi-superhero action spectacular.

Part of the problem with my appreciation (or lack thereof) of the X-Men ‘franchise’ is how inescapably juvenile it all is. As I’ve said in previous X-Men reviews, the movies always spend way too much time reverently aggrandising their ‘mutant’/outsider theme, when in reality we’re talking about people with non-pitiable superhuman skills – like being able to control the climate, having steel daggers for digits, and being able to breathe fire! What X-Men 2 bafflingly fails at though is in offering a base logic or continuity to these attributes. Right at the very end, (spoiler alert) Jean Grey levitates a plane and controls a torrent of dam water, so why didn’t she use that immense hypernatural power much earlier in the conspiracy to save the X-Men from their potentially dicey fate?! Slightly churlish quibbles aside, perhaps X-Men 2‘s greater crimes are that the action sequences are incoherent and choppy, nothing ever really feels at stake, and most damningly of all – it lacks drama. (November 2014)

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