Wednesday, June 14, 2006


2003, US, directed by Bryan Singer

Less focused than its predecessor, and perhaps a shade less political in the aftermath of 9/11, X2 steps up the sheer popcorn value with a couple of new characters - Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler is an especially strong addition - and several highly entertaining set-pieces. Although director Bryan Singer isn't able to inject the depth he clearly hankers after, he's adept at pacing the action, and as a consequence the film mostly justifies the two-hour plus running time. The us-against-the-world set-up is given a new twist this time around, forcing 'good' and 'bad' mutants to cooperate when faced with an especially nasty human (Brian Cox), with questions of loyalty abounding. Ian McKellen has some lip-curling fun - he teeters on the edge of self-parody, enjoying the vaguely Hannibal Lecter aspects of his imprisonment - but Patrick Stewart's role is underwritten this time around in favor of the younger set; their fight scenes show a clear post-Matrix influence. The conclusion is an odd combination of the deeply unsetttling wrapped in the guise of reassurance, but there's no doubting the atmospheric effect.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States