OK, I’ve been waiting for this one for a while.
The first X-MEN movie gave notice to the world that Marvel Comics finally had their shit together, and was gonna start being involved in quality comic books movies.
Then there were the Blade movies, which to me are awesome examples of what comic book movies can be, and then of course, a little seen flick by the name of SPIDER-MAN.
Oh, you saw that one?
Anyway, X2: X-Men United brings back all of our favorite comic book mutants from Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, and then some.
Director Bryan Singer is back, and man, this guy has my eternal respect and gratitude.
Just like with the first one, he takes a comic book, and makes it more sophisticated. Don’t get me wrong, I love comics, and would love to see literal translations on the screen. But realistically, it would look terrible.
So Singer takes these beloved and cool characters and reworks them for a less forgiving audience than the faithful comic fan...mainstream America. Yes, the movie is highly stylized, and there are plenty of tidbits to get the comic fan-boys drooling, but X2 can stand alone as a good fantasy / sci-fi flick too.
Most of the cast of the first flick are back here, and there are some significant newcomers. Of the old timers, Wolverine and Jean Grey are the characters best explored, and once again Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen are really great in the roles. Jackman’s become quite the star since his first time as Logan, but he slipped back into character nicely. I do wish he was shorter, but that would just be nit-picking.
Shawn Ashmore had a small role as Bobby Drake, the future Iceman, in the first flick, and his role was expanded nicely here. He had some nice scenes opposite Anna Paquin’s Rogue.
Of the newcomers, Kelly Hu is making quite a splash as Yuriko, and she did a nice job, but the newcomer that stands out nicely, both in character and performance is Kurt Wagner, The NightCrawler, as portrayed by Alan Cumming. Did he look like the comic book? Well, maybe. Kinda-sorta.
But I loved what they did with the character, and Cumming’s understated performance was great. Also great was the way that they handled Nightcrawler’s teleportation.
Very, very cool.
I do have some problems with X2. It did drag a bit, and then there’s the overall look. DAREDEVIL was gritty. Spider-Man was colorful, the Blade flicks were dark. But the best way to describe the overall look of the X flicks, unfortunately, is antiseptic. They’re very neat and clean and shiny and polished. I mean, it’s highly stylized, but yeah, antiseptic.
But still, this was a way cool movie. I would say it was even better than the first.
And if you have even a bit of fan-boy in you, and you know who you are, you saw a glimpse of what may come, and damn it, it was impressive, eh?