Mutant sequel excels

Kyle Carritt

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

This mutant-filled movie addresses some of the focus problems of the first film by putting a lot of the spotlight on fan-favorite Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). The sequel follows Wolverine’s quest to find out more about his origins and learn who decided sticking metal in his bones was a good idea.

And much to the fans’ delight, director Bryan Singer also decided to give Wolverine a license to kill and actually put his claws to good use in this movie.

But the Wolverine storyline actually ties in to the main thrust of the movie as his creator, William Stryker (Brian Cox), is also looking to play into the environment of paranoia by helping the government wrangle mutants and later turn X-Men leader Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) against his own kind.

This plot joins the X-Men with some of their adversaries from the first film to prevent the destruction of mutantkind and leads to fairly linear and understandable plot that the first movie struggled to find.

But there is still plenty of exposition for “X2.” Most notable is the introduction of the transporting Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming). The blue-skinned German gets a compelling backstory (attempting to assassinate the president) and a surprising amount of depth from his background of religious guilt, but still unyielding hope.

And while the sequel gets to up the action and focus of the first, there are still flaws in the system. A lot of mutant powers are still a little undefined and there’s still a lot of characters to juggle with a few (Storm, Cyclops) having nothing to do with the plot. But for fans of the comics, there’s a lot of action and beloved characters to be happy with.

The DVD features also give a lot of respect back to their comic fans. There’s plenty of featurettes detailing how the X-Men went from illustrated pages to expansive film, some deleted scenes which are a little closer in execution to comic book lore and also the evolution of the newly introduced Nightcrawler.

But the fun in the extras comes from the people behind the scenes getting to talk about their film. Singer and Tom Sigel, his cinematographer, have a very natural chemistry on their commentary and Sigel has some enjoyable deadpan humor throughout the track.

And while production designer Guy Dyas has a pure glee in describing his sets in one featurette, it’s costume designer Louise Mingenbach who provides one of the most surreal appearances ever in a DVD extra. Mingenbach constantly criticizes Singer for the logistics of the movie not allowing for more costume flexibility, mourns over the costumes that were barely seen and refers to Xavier as “fancy pants” all in a very spacey tone of voice.

It’s heart like that which fails to come through on the rest of the extras. There’s interesting featurettes such as a time-lapse of Nightcrawler’s makeup process, but most feel too calculated and lacking the raw fun and emotion of Dyas and Mingenbach’s explanations.

Like the movie, the features aren’t perfect, but there’s a great sense of development and improvement all over “X2.”

“X2: X-Men United” : B

DVD features: B,”Matthew T. Olson”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email