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X-Men 2

The time has come for those who are different to stand united  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

“X-Men 2 is an intellectual study into the competing doctrines of evolutionist and creationist views of human history”. Not bad for a comic book movie. The reviewer was, I assume, having a laugh. 

 X2 sees the return of the friendly (and not so friendly) mutants from the first instalment, once again facing persecution from the world’s human population. An evil government scientist (aren’t they all?) initiates a mutant assassination attempt on the US president in the hope of provoking a crushing military campaign to wipe out the mutants once and for all. The chief assassin is a painted Alan Cumming; so yes, ok, it’s daft.

Two things set the X-Men films apart from other comic book franchises. One is good acting (just take a look at the cast list). The other is simply not taking itself too seriously. A film based on a comic is not going to be an “intellectual study” and the X-Men franchise wisely doesn’t try.  Instead it focuses on entertainment.

The villains are comically two-dimensional - we are given cursory motives for their evil, but basically they are just bad people. You can boo and hiss every time they appear if you like (although the rest of the audience won’t appreciate it – Ed). The good guys are easily identified too. Even when they seem to be involved with evil you know that it’s just weaknesses in their character showing through, weaknesses that make them real enough to care about and involve you in the story.

The scriptwriters are also willing to kill. Not a positive attribute in the world in general, but in action cinema essential to keep you interested.  When a character is faced with a life threatening situation there is some real tension: while an improbable escape is still the odds-on favourite, a much more probable death is at least a possibility.

Unusually, X-Men 2 is better than its prequel, with more laughs (Hugh Jackman’s facial expressions and one liners are truly great), a more involving plot and better special effects (well, they had a lot more money this time).  Entertainment? X2.

Stuart Jarvis

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)