X2: X-Men United (2003) – Bryan Singer


From apes, I move onto mutants with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book. Having previously covered X-Men for the blog, I leapt ahead to X2. Picking up a few months after the ending of the first film, director Bryan Singer expands on the world he helped bring to the screen in the previous film.

This time around Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) has been captured by William Stryker (Brian Cox) a vehement anti-mutant military mind, who isn’t above using mutants, including Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) to further his agenda. He also has a connection to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).

As the X-Men and their nemesis in the Brotherhood of Mutants realize the threat that Stryker and his people represent to mutant-kind, they have to stop fighting one another, unite and fight together to put an end to Stryker’s plans. But it may cost the X-Men more than they are willing to pay.

After setting up the world in the first film, this one is longer, and takes its time playing in the world that has been created. It’s top notch cast, which also includes Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, and Shawn Ashmore, brings the Marvel world to life, and has some fantastic set pieces. Each character also gets some wonderful moments, the film is long enough that they all get a moment in the spotlight.


As Stryker uses Xavier to track down the mutants of the world with the plan of exterminating them through the Cerebro device, Wolverine and the others head north to find their leader, and stop the evil military scientist, but not before Wolverine learns his connection to the man.

This is a solid Marvel film, and Singer and his team do a very nice job in its execution, showing us, over the course of two movies, what an enjoyable series they can be. Too bad, that now, there are just as many bad X-Men/spinoff films as there are good.

Where the story really does flounder, though they couldn’t know it at the time, is in the set-up, at the end of the film, for the much-loved Dark Phoenix storyline.

Like the Marvel Universe alongside Disney would later do, Singer casts as many strong actors in the roles as he can, and the actors become so associated with the characters, that they remain, even now, in danger of being stereotyped.

Nonetheless, this film is a strong entry in the Marvel universe, but I’ll be honest, I truly hope to see the X-Men made part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I also know that as long as the folks at Fox think they can make a good one, and they have made some solid stories, they’ll hold onto the rights.

This one was a lot of fun to revisit, the next one, may be a little tougher.





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