I really liked X-Men, it was one of the few comic adaptations that made it big, and also made it right, but it wasn’t complete by any means. It felt loose, there were areas left unexplored and unexplained to the detriment of the story, and some characters were merely window dressing for the mains.
Although it was a good movie and a great superhero movie, it could have been better. So I was keen to see if X2 had managed to do it this time. Word of mouth had it that it was good, but I didn’t realise just how good.
They’ve fixed everything in X2. Every character has a place, and there is even space given for the young Mutants of Xaviers school, where we see new Mutants, and ones we know from the comics such as Colossus, Ice Man, Pyro, and the exciting thing is that they’re being set up for their place in any future movie.
Overall the story is excellent, and I won’t go into any of it suffice to say that it raises the ante considerably from the first movie, and provides a vehicle for where the two sides fighting for Mutants are brought together to help each other. This whole thread of the movie is written and conceived perfectly, even down to the final act of Magneto. It’s perfect for his character and retains true to the universe of the Mutants.
The characters from the first movie are expanded on, Wolverine is pulled back slightly from the limelight and we turn more to Jean Grey, Storm and Mystic, and the new character of Nightcrawler. This is welcomed, and as I said, it really does play fair with all characters. There’s never a sense that some are there merely for eye candy, they have a place in the movie.
The acting is excellent and surprisingly restrained and real for such a movie subject. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Brian Cox are superb in their roles as friends and adversaries. Backed up by the remaining cast with Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen worthy of particular mention for their performances, Janssen looks beautiful and gives a great performance as Grey.
The weakest links are slight blemishes and really require some serious investigation, Cyclops slightly wooden style and the slightly bland performance of Halle Berry who seems to fail to capture the true anger and strength of the Storm character.
I was also surprised by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos who showed some fine acting, and I don’t mean the obvious guys, and Alan Cummings who is the most badly used actor I have ever seen, this is the first time I’ve managed to see him act out of his typecast or a terrible role. I really could go on picking out the actors, but I’m getting tired of the links!
The strongest part of this entire movie is the story, unusual I would think in a movie that is science fiction, comic based and relies heavily on special effects. It’s a perfectly crafted tale and weaves its threads together at the right moments, offering you just enough information to keep you thinking but not enough to make you feel force fed or that the story is dumbing itself down for you. There are twists in the tale, but none of them are huge enough to detract from the rest of the story, or to weight themselves so heavily that if they’re done badly the story cracks at that point.
Anyway, I’m over analysing it now. The story is excellent, the acting is really good and very restrained for this type of movie. All in all it makes for the perfect superhero or comic adaptation to date, and I do include Spiderman in that sentence. Truly as a movie fan there’s not much I can find wrong with this film, and as a comic fan there’s not much I can find wrong with the adaptation.
The first DVD provides two interesting commentaries, by no means are they great, but they do provide some interesting insights into the making of the movie. The second DVD has a plethero of extras examining so many different parts of the movie through conception, to production to post production. There’s a really interesting multi angle analysis of the Nightcrawler attack on the President in the opening scenes showing the completed sequence against trials and varying computer maps, and some very good documentaries about the effects, sets, costumes and score behind the movie. The quantity of extras is high, I would have loved the quality of the commentaries was slightly improved.