From its frantic beginning to its slightly anticlimactic ending X-Men gets an above average score. At its peak X Men 2 is a frenzied heart stopping scorcher, yet it canít keep that pace up and some moments do sorely drag like an elite athlete caught in a cage.The X Men concept is a deep well to draw from - any sort of power that can be dreamt up can fit into the concept. This spells creative gold for the writers, but more significantly itís financial gold for movie studios.
Picking up almost immediately from where the first X-Men film left off, Professor Xavier (Stewart) and his mutant cohorts learn of a mutant attack that increases the groundswell in anti-mutant hysteria. Their search for this mutant perpetrator leads them to learn of a plot to rid the world of mutants altogether. Meanwhile, Wolverine (Jackman) is still keen to learn of his origins while both he and Rogue continue their struggle with their respective relationship attempts.
With less time spent on characters and more on action, this film puts its foot down hard on the action accelerator. Then it turns up the action turbo boost. Then it flicks the switch on the action nitro, and then builds it up from there.
The theme of acceptance of outsiders comes to the fore again. Common among comic books this film uses it as a main focus. It beats you over the head about it, really, but at least it provides an opportunity to generate some sympathy for the characters.
Of the characters, there are a few extra ones that turn up and a couple that were seen only briefly in the first film receiving more screen time. The most notable character being the tele-porting Nightcrawler who turns up from Germany.
The film reeks of its franchise status even more than the original. It felt just like an episode of a TV series with long-term arcs only moving slightly forward if at all. Wolverine moves a step closer to discovering his origin - but only one step - and Rogueís touchy feely problem is only reiterated.
With some of the action sequences being so good, when the action isnít actually on, the film does drag a little. You might start to feel a little uncomfortable in your seat as you impatiently wait for the film to get back into top gear.
Wolverine - played with a hint of wry humour by Jackman with pretty much the same expression through out the whole film - learns a bit more of his history as he discovers that his past is tied together with a Professor William Stryker.
The production design and effects are flawless. Whereas in an effects-heavy film, the effects can be so overwhelming that they draw you out of the story, in X-Men 2 you are still completely drawn into the action which the FX contribute, and add, to the drama and action.
Bryan Singer once again is at the helm after his efforts on the first film. This one has more success at its attempt at humour (although there are not as many attempts), and has the intensity turned up to Eleven. Singer keeps things rollicking along with sequences of genuine excitement and thrills.X-Men 2 is a commendable and successful effort. The director and actorsí availability may hurt this franchise in the future, but the film itself bodes well that this franchise still has mutant legs. Action fans will be satisfied with this effort.