The Masked Reviewer was absolutely beside
himself in rage when he discovered that the title for this sequel to
X-Men (2000) was changed to X-2: X-Men United because
of a secret deal between 20th Century Fox and United Airlines.
Isn't it bad enough that big companies have bought out most of the
classic sports arenas, like the Fed Ex Orange Bowl and the Staples
Center? Do they have to buy our movies for their relentless
marketing schemes? What's next, Spiderman 2: Battle for
Starbucks? When Harry Met Sally II: Ford Motor Company?
The Magic and Howard Story: Johnson & Johnson? House of 1000
Citicorpses? Terminator 3: Rise of the International Business
Machines? The Last Temptation of Chrysler? At
least they could've picked a better corporate sponsor, like X-2:
X-Men Exxon (and on).
Of course, the Masked Reviewer's rage eventually subsided when he
realized that United Airlines had nothing to do with the film.
They weren't even the official airline of X-2. The Masked
Reviewer hopes this slight oversight won't result in a wiping out of his
frequent flier miles.
X-2: X-Men United is based on the Marvel comic book, the X-Men. The
marketing department touts the film as X-2, which might make
things confusing when the next film comes along. X-3 is too
much like XXX. What will they do?
People who loved X-Men
are going to love X-Men 2. Why? It's more of the
same. Since most of the main characters were introduced in the
first film, they can get right into the
action. And, they do. There are a few new characters that
are introduced, but we find out enough about them through the course of
the film. There's no need to stop and chat -- X-Men 2 is
about stuff happening. And it does.
People who didn't like X-Men might want to pass by X-Men 2,
since it's very similar in many ways, including most of the cast from
the original and a similar theme. If you found the characters in
X-Men to be dull, uninspired, and their super-powers to be
not quite up to snuff ("I think that guy's super power is the ability to
find good parking spaces at the mall..."), you may want to pass on
Readers of the comic books will have a better grasp of what's going
on, and will be more likely to enjoy the film than readers of, oh, let's
say "Mary Worth". Of course, some rabid fans of the comics will do
nothing but gripe about the inconsistencies and divergence from the
comics, chanting "worst adaptation ever!" but they
should realize that no one cares what they think (unless a hard drive
Sadly, the Masked Reviewer is forced to admit that he is the target
audience for this film. He read the comic in his youth, and the
film reminded him of happy times. That's the only thing he didn't like about
it. It made the Masked Reviewer look in the mirror,
and see the nerd he is. But, at least he's not alone.
There are several new characters introduced, all of whom will be
familiar to fans of the comic books. For the casual fan or people
only familiar with the first movie, this might be a lot to keep track
of, but they do a fine job of keeping track of which mutant does what.
Fans will appreciate that Wolverine in this film is much more like
the bad-ass comic book version. He uses his claws. What's
the point of having an animalistic troublemaker with an
indestructible skeleton and razor sharp claws if he's never going to
It seems like someone is missing out on a good promotional package by
not releasing these films in late December. "X-Men 3 : X-Mas."
In fact, if they could get themselves an X rating (preferably for a
little girl-on-girl-on-girl X-plicitness between Famke Janssen, Halle
Berry and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), that would be most X-cellent. X
is an often maligned letter, and it's nice to see it getting it's fair
The action in X2 is good, and the plot moves along punctuated
by some fine action scenes. The special effects are good,
though nothing new.
It does feel at times that there are too many characters in the film.
It's clear that efforts were made to give everyone some screen time and
equal importance to the plot, but there are more than two dozen principle
characters. Most of the focus is on Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, but
that's okay with me, bub.
The downsides of the film would have to be the opening credits and
music. The music from the first film was not memorable at all.
It lacked a catchy tune. It may be the same theme this
time around, it's hard to tell, because it's entirely forgettable.
The credit sequence was similar to the first film as well. Fans of
the comics or the first X-Men should check out this sequel.
If you missed the first one but have to check out X-2, rent the
People who are expecting a kids' movie should be aware that there's a
bit of violence, but nothing too bad. Actually, billions of people
almost died at one point, but it's okay, they didn't. Not to ruin
anything. You knew that wouldn't happen.
Those of you with delicate sensibilities and who are easily
offended should know that the "s" word is used when someone says "Holy
shit". Also, at one point a character holds up one finger,
for a purpose other than to indicate "one". But relax,
already. If you can watch people getting shot in the head and
slashed and blasted, you can handle someone making a gesture and saying
something that happens every day (especially if you're a cab driver in
Vegas, number 43C21...use your turn signal, moron!).
Some have said that the X-Men
are so popular as comic book heroes
because they tell stories that matter, using the hatred of mutants as a
metaphor for prejudice and racism in our society. The first
X-Men had a mutant in a World War II concentration camp, which
some people found to be a tad objectionable. At least 6 million
people didn't die for nothing; it was an important plot point in the
A side note for those of you who enjoy all the superhero movies: it should
be a matter of concern that The Fantastic Four, scheduled for
release in 2005, is slated to be directed by Peyton Reed. Peyton
Reed directed Bring It On and Down with Love, in addition
to several short-lived TV versions of films (like Love Bug, Back to
the Future, and Grosse Point Blank). Peyton Reed ain't
no Bryan Singer. Hopefully it'll be okay.
They can keep banging out action packed sequels as far as the Masked
Reviewer is concerned. No great cinema here, just fun diversion.
Rumors that the Masked Reviewer will be joining the X-Men can not be
confirmed at this time.
Expectation from the Title: The prequel to XXX or the
true story of whiskey jug labelers in the 20's. Or, maybe some
spin-off of Malcom X.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
It's nice to see a group of people sticking together and helping
each other out.
The Pros: It's fun and exciting and does everything it tries
to do well. Exciting, easy to follow plot, lots of mutant powers
The Cons: The music and opening credits.