FFlashback: X-Men 2 (2003)

Our look-back at the X-Men franchise continues with the second – and perhaps still the best – installment, X-Men 2 

 

The One Where: The X-Men are forced to team up with Magneto to face an even greater threat – General William Stryker, a man hellbent on destroying every mutant on the face of the Earth. A man with ties to Wolverine’s tragic past…

Star Turns: There are few weak links in the cast this time around, with the regulars building on their performances from the first movie and the newcomers proving welcome additions. It is such a shame Alan Cumming never made a reappearance as Nightcrawler, as he plays the character well and his abilities make for one of the standout sequences of the series in the film’s opening scene. Brian Cox portrays Stryker as suitably formidable but also unhinged, and he remains the best X-Men baddie outside of Magneto.

Best Moments: The action scenes are some of the best of the series here, as Bryan Singer is on top form in the director’s chair. Apart from the White House sequence, you have the raid on the X-Mansion and then the great final fight with Lady Deathstrike. There are great smaller-scale moments too, like the clever and funny scene where Bobby ‘comes out’ to his family.

Verdict: The biggest problem with the weaker X-Men films is that they don’t manage to effectively balance the ensemble of characters – often everyone else has to make way for Logan. In X-Men 2, however, all the characters get a decent crack at the whip. Yes, Wolverine is still at the centre of the story and he is still the most interesting, but his teammates play a significant role. If only the following film had learnt from this one’s successes…

X-Tra Fact: A number of easter eggs to X-Men comics are hidden throughout the film. Stryker’s computer features files on the likes of Gambit, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Banshee and Mr Sinister. Dr Hank McCoy also appears on TV at one point – though without his signature blue fur.

 

What do you think of X-Men 2?

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