By: The Dweeb
As is the case with a lot of franchise films, the second installment always has some big shoes to fill. A lot of them tend to fall flat, but in this case, the film is even better than the first. Few have accomplished this feat. Suddenly, during the summer of 2000 Fox had an unexpected hit on their hands with X-men, which in turn has unleashed a whole slew of comic book movie adaptations into the theatres ever since. Somebody please make it stop! The well has run very dry in Hollywood, as disappointment after disappointment has filled the comic book adaptation genre. But X2 has remained the rare jewel in a sea of mediocrity.
I think Singer and company learned a few things about franchise films and sequels. The first, naturally, is continue with the great writing. Obviously that’s the first key to make any film. X-men has been around for so long that it has become this very complex beast, and the writers did a great job of taking the whole thing and boiling it down to the main themes that underlie this series. The overall tone of the film is still serious, but with a dash of humor it just makes this film tick. There is also a nice balancing act between all the exposition and action in the film, which keeps the pace going well. In case you missed it, the main point of the X-men is to show that racism and bigotry is pretty stupid. Its ironic that the X-men are fighting for the human race which in turn hates them as well.
Secondly, its important to keep the same cast together. All the major characters are back, and they also add a few others. I was hoping to see some more added than just Nightcrawler, but we only get a glimpse of some other major X-men characters making some cameos throughout the film. Seeing Colossus in action would have been pretty cool, maybe for next time. I only wish that we could have seen more evil mutants in the film, this time they are a side note as the main baddie is human scientist.
All of the actors are again playing the roles in fine form. Its obvious that the fan favorite and the film writer’s favorite is still Wolverine. He plays a more significant role in here and we get to see a glimpse of his back story. Hugh Jackman has made the role for himself now, he’s a great match. They don’t sugar coat this guy either, he goes around killing a whole bunch of people in one of his berserker rages. Brutal.
The film also depends heavily on special effects to tell the story. They didn’t cheap out on us either, its definitely much better than the first film. There’s lots of CGI and Wire-fu in this movie, but its not overkill. I liked the way the Nightcrawler ‘bamf’ sequences turned out, better than I could have imagined from the comic books.
The DVD package for X2, like the first one is excellent. The sound and video transfer is very good. Colors are crisp and the sound has a great mix. Particularly good is the scene where Magneto (Ian McKellen) uses the metal spheres to break out of his plastic prison. There are also a lot of extra features, mostly documentaries related to the production, trailers and they also include 2 commentary tracks. Lots of stuff to look at for sure. Fox, you have yourself another winner!