X2: X-Men United
Less story equals more action
America's favorite group of outcasts are back for a sequel. Picking up where the last film left off, Wolverine is back from trying to find out a bit more about his mysterious past while the X-Men are forced into hiding because of a new nemesis, Stryker. Stryker is a human who believes that all mutants are a threat to humanity and wants them all to eliminated. Magneto is still contained in his plastic prison until he manages to escape, and he's forced to team up with the X-Men to confront this new nemesis. Meanwhile, Jean Grey's powers are growing and Wolverine seems to have a strange connection with Stryker. Unfortunately, this film falls into the same trap as the first one which it features too many characters. Also, any character that has no association with Wolverine or Rogue is just there for space. Even with Storm's bigger role (supposedly), it seemed liked her scenes were rather unnecessary. However, for every X-Men fan out there, the fight choreography is a lot better (especially if you like Wolverine) and the special effects are great as well. It was very interesting to see the humans point of view this time. It allowed the viewers to understand why the humans feared and hated the mutants more clearly, and how deep the prejudiced goes. "X-2: X-Men United" isn't as good as its' predecessor, but it'll keep any fan happy.
I found Stryker's hatred towards mutants fascinating, and his role was a big key for the film. Stryker served two roles in the film, one was the antogonist for Wolverine, and the other to show the humans' point of view in the war between mutants and the rest of humanity. In the film, his son was sent to Xavier's school to become human again, but when his son returns to him still as a mutant. Stryker enslaves his own son and other mutants like Lady Deathstrike to aid in his elimination of mutants everywhere. Stryker's obvious hatred for mutants shows a side that was only discussed in the first film. In the first X-Men movie, it talked about humanity's prejudiced against mutants. However, this one shows the audience just how dark that racism is. Through Stryker, the audience is able to see how deep humanity's hatred and fear mutants is, thus allowing the viewer to feel a deeper connection to the theme of the film.
However, as for Stryker's second role in this film, it was mainly to serve as Wolverine's main nemesis. As it seems, Stryker has a estranged connection to Wolverine's past, so it makes for interesting protagonist and antagonist relationship. Even though Logan has no recollection of their relationship, it seems Strker does. It's made clear when Stryker says, "You were the one that volunteered. You were always a monster. We just gave you the claws." This scene and many others, help the viewer see a deep and confusing connection between the two that'll have audiences glued to their seat.
The fight scenes were great, and the use of special effects was tastefully done. In one scene, the viewer will be psyched when they see Wolverine fight an army of soldiers within the mansion or when he fights Lady Deathstrike. As it seems, if anyone was sad by the lack of action in the last one, then this one should make up for it. Sadly, though, the same can't be said for the character development.
Like the last one, unless the characters have any kind of deep connection to Rogue or Wolverine, then they're just there to occupy space. Even the cameos have no meaning. You'd have to be a comic book geek to keep track of them because the film never even mentions them after they appear in a few minor scenes. As for Storm, it seems like her role was unnecesary. After months of Halle Berry asking for a bigger part for this movie, it seems like the writer's just wrote a "half-baked" part just for her. In the many scenes she's in, it's with Nightcrawler, and they mainly just talk about hope, faith and fear. Which is kind of funny, because throughout the rest of the movie, everything else has almost no relation to what she's doing. As for Nightcrawler, his role is overblown. Before seeing this, everyone I knew told to me about how this guy almost stole the film from Wolverine. However, the guy was only in the film for about ten minutes. How can he steal the movie if he's hardly there?
The X-Men are back for another box office hit. Featuring great fight scenes and special effects. It may not be as good as the first one, but it'll keep any fan entertained.