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X2: X-MEN UNITED

2003, dir. Bryan Singer
133 min. Rated PG-13.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry.

Review by Noel Wood

Well, what can I say? Every Summer movie season comes and goes with one release I particularly look forward to, and in the last two, that release has been one of the first films out of the gate. Oh, and the last two years, those films have been big time Marvel Comic adaptations Oh yeah, and for the last two years, those films have kicked ass.

    

Last year, I'm sure you'll recall, I was nuts over Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN, for which I at many times admitted my anticipation being greater than anticipation for the latest STAR WARS release. And it blew me away. No, it wasn't one hundred percent faithful to the comic, but it was still one of the best adaptations of a comic to ever make it on to celluloid. This year, that void was filled by the sequel to 2000's X-MEN movie, a movie that in its own right was far better than I had ever imagined even if it doesn't hold up on repeat viewings nearly as well as SPIDER-MAN does. X2, however, blows its predecessor out of the water in a lot of ways, and that's basically the point I'm trying to get at here.

For today's fun project, I've decided to take the words of those "legitimate" movie reviewers and then beat them over the head with them. Whoo, this might be fun.

    

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Made for (and possibly by) those with short attention spans, it lives in the present, providing one amazing spectacle after another, and not even trying to develop a story arc."

Eat me.

Hey, I like the way this is going already. Keep talking, Roger.

"Perhaps not coincidentally, the movie has a president who looks remarkably like George W. Bush. The film opens with one of its best scenes, as a creature with a forked tail attacks the White House and whooshes down corridors and careens off walls while the Secret Service fires blindly."

That "creature" is Nightcrawler. It ain't a secret, and it's not a spoiler if you say it. Your audience knows who the hell Nightcrawler is, so quit trying to be all "I'm smarter than my readers", Roger.

Oh, and Eat me.

    

"Odd, then, that Wolverine is one of the dominant characters even though his X-Acto knuckles seem pretty insignificant compared to the powers of Pyro or Cyclops."

Uhm, dude, Wolverine's mutant power isn't his blades. It's his healing power, that led to him getting the blades to begin with. You know, the scenes where the bullet pops out of his head and he recovers from multiple stabbings? YEah, that wasn't because he has blades. I'd say being able to heal is a lot cooler than shooting fire or not being able to control your laser eyes.

"How inconvenient if during sex your partner was accidentally teleported, frozen, slashed, etc. Does Cyclops wear his dark glasses to bed?"

Okay, Roger, really, Eat me. This is about the stupidest thing you've ever said EVER and I've read a lot of your reviews.

"[X2] lacks a beginning, a middle and an end, and exists more as a self-renewing loop. In that it is faithful to comic books themselves, which month after month and year after year seem frozen in the same fictional universe."

Hi, Mr. Ebert, what part of "sequel" do you not get? The movie picks up where the last one left off. Did you say the same thing about THE TWO TOWERS or RETURN OF THE JEDI, both of which start at a point you'd have had to have seen the previous installment to really get? And how you say it has no middle and end is a whole different story. Are you just saying shit to make yourself sound smart? Yeah, they set up another movie. THAT'S THE POINT.

    

"Perhaps in the next generation a mutant will appear named Scribbler, who can write a better screenplay for them."

OMGROTFLMFAO!!!!!1111oneone Roger Ebert made a funny and now maybe he'll go away and maybe even Eat me!

Conclusion on Roger Ebert: Eat me.

Mike Clark, USA TODAY

"But as Brian Cox's sidekick, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is so attractive that she's good-looking even when the special-effects people make her blue."

Huh? did this dude even watch the movie? At no point in the movie does Mystique ever work as Stryker's "sidekick". I think his credibility just went the way of the dodo bird.

Fuck this, I'm done with Mike Clark. Maybe I'd have more desire to continue if the USA Today website didn't have some weird protection from using copy and paste. Or if he hadn't proven he's an idiot in the second paragraph of his review.

Conclusion on Mike Clark: Clueless.

    

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

"Stryker (Brian Cox) is an ex-Army conniver who would use X powers to evil ends and has a kung-fu cutie named Oyama (Kelly Hu) to kick start any fight."

Okay, he at least got it right that Oyama/Lady Deathstrike is the enforcer for Stryker, but what the fuck is a "kung-fu cutie"? You think you could be a little more offensive in your ethnic stereotypes, Dick?

"Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), whose powers include walking through walls, vanishing in a plume of fume and reciting the 23rd Psalm in a German accent."

Since when can Nightcrawler walk through walls? That's Shadowcat's power. He teleports, and if you'd have paid attention, he can't really do it blindly, which means that what he does is significantly different than "walking through walls".

"The yummy Romijn-Stamos could start her own Las Vegas mime act: Blue Man Boobs."

Oh GOD, I love it when reviewers try to make jokes.

"[Stewart and McKellen] are both forced to sport the goofiest headgear in fantasy-film history."

Magneto's helmet should have been made to look a little more like it does in the comics I'll grant you, but it's nowhere near as goofy as the Green Goblin's fiberglass mask from SPIDER-MAN. And there isn't really anything goofy about the Cerebro interface. I can name about a dozen goofier things off the top of my head, most of which appeared in Patrick Stewart's other franchise.

Conclusion on Richard Corliss: Probably has a small penis.

    

Anyway, that's about enough of other peoples' views, because, well, as you can see, the word of those "legitimate" reviewers is usually about as relevant as jokes about O.J. Simpson.

I've outlined my feeling on this movie kicking ass. So why exactly did this movie kick ass, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Maybe I'll even make a haphazard list like I used to do in the old days.

- Wolverine is back and still rules. I still can't believe that they nailed the character so well in the first one, and they do a great job of keeping with that. He chomps cigars, he says "bub", he has that standoffish attitude, but now he's got a little more sypathy for his fellow mutants.

- Nightcrawler rules. I was really worried that they were going to fuck him up, but they did an almost flawless job of capturing him. They even made him more interesting thatn I had hoped, much less expected. Alan Cumming did a tremendous job. And I don't think they could have done a better job of capturing the onamotapoeia of "BAMF!" if they had tried.

- They took some liberties with Lady DeathStrike, but she served as a perfect foil for Logan in the final battle. And well, it's Kelly Hu, so that's always a plus. She was a bit underutilized, but serves her purpose in the script.

- Mystique gets pushed more in the foreground, and she in turn becomes a much cooler villain. The fact that they forced the Brotherhood to team up with the X-Men for this storyline made for some interesting interactions. Oh, and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' cameo as herself is pretty cool too.

- Magneto breaking free of his plastic prison was THE MOST KICK ASS scene I've seen in a long time. Oh, and Ian McKellan better not ever die, because he IS Magneto (And Gandalf, but they've already shot all those).

    

- Bones thrown to the fanboys, with cameos from Hank McCoy and Sebastian Shaw, as well as a lot of "blink-and-you'll-miss-them" references to characters like Gambit and Archangel.

- Iceman and Pyro putting together a nice little dichotomy with Pyro showing that he's gonna be a real badass soon.

- Colossus! I mean, he's only in it for like four seconds, but Colossus is in it and he pulls out his steel skin and everything!

- Bobby Drake/Iceman's "coming out" scene with his parents is really well-done, and is as funny as it is intense.

- Very limited use of Cyclops. Shit yeah.

- Stryker comes off very well in the movie, thanks to character actor Brian Cox. He's really good at playing super-goddamned-evil. And his "methods of persuasion" manage to avoid coming off as stupid.

- They actually made Jean Grey, who was a big disappointment in the first movie, into a total badass here, and [spoiler alert] she'll be more of a badass in the next movie. Oh yeah.

- The Music! The Editing! The Interaction with all the Kids! Artie's Tongue! This movie kicks all kinds of ass.

    

I could go on, but I'll let that speak for itself. This is basically what the first X-MEN movie wasn't. Without having to worry about origins and introductions, we're able to get straight to the action and start seeing mutant mayhem. Oh yeah, and even though it's like 2 and a half hours long, you'll feel like it's half that length.

X-celsior.

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