X2 - X-Men United DVD: Review By justincase

  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
I'm not a comic-book geek and I'm no real afficionado of the X-Men, but this movie doesn't disappoint, regardless of your outlook. Sure, if you're a true fan-boy, the film will deliver you to the gates of heaven. Even if you're a middle-aged (or older) cinephile with a couple-hours to kill, though ... this film should make you smile.

The plot goes something like this:

After an attempt on the President's life by a wayward and misguided (to say nothing of "mind-controlled") Nightcrawler (that's an X-Men character...not a worm), the X-Men unite alongside their enemies to foil a human set on starting the first mutant vs. human war.

For an off-the-rails action picture (or at least that is what you'd expect from a super-hero flick), this sure has a lot of character back-story drama. Maybe the message behind the X-Men is the more important thing here... You know: "We're all unique and important - blah - blah...". NAH!

This is a fun movie. This is also a serious movie (not the plot, necessarily, but the characters and their relationships). The character drama is riveting, well-acted and has a great supporting message for our youth. That said, you can still just throw this in the player and watch it a couple times.

In this second outing, we spend a lot of time understanding the mutants and how their powers impact their lives. We spend even more time with the personal relationships between the mutants and what that means for the bonds they form. Yeah... this is important stuff in the whole scheme of things. The X-men have much more depth and breadth than any other comic-to-film franchise I can think of, mainly because of the array of characters and the complexities of their living among the humans. Yeah, Peter Parker and Clark Kent have their "drama", but X-men is loaded with it.

The only thing I'd like to see is some more X-type action. I want to see things blowing up. I want to see bad-guys getting taken-out. I want to experience more X-men powers. I want to ... well, you get the picture. After the opening sequence, I thought I was in for a pulse-pounding 2 hours of adrenal-gland pumping excitement. When we hit the first real character-driven scenes I really found myself falling back to earth.

The film plays out at just over 2 hours. While it does drag a bit in sections, you should hang-in there and you'll be well rewarded.
As you know if you've read my other reviews, I'm not much into special features. They did manage to stack 2 discs in the little keep-case, so you can bet there are hours of mind-numbing goodies in there for you if you're into them. The list reads like this:

* Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)

* DTS Surround Sound, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound

* Commentary by Brian Singer and Tom Sigel

* Commentary by Lauren Schuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, and David Hayter

* Theatrical trailer(s)

* Doc*mentary - "The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men" - Making of X2

* 11 featurettes: "The Secret Origin of X-Men," "Nightcrawler Reborn," "Evolution in the Details - Designing X2," "United Colors of X," "Wolverine Deathstrike Fight Rehearsal," "Introducing the INCREDIBLE NIGHTCRAWLER!," "Nightcrawler Stunt Rehearsal," "Nightcrawler Time-lapse" (branch from Make-Up), "FX2 - Visual Effects," "Requiem for Mutants - The * Score of X2," "X2 Global Webcast Highlights"

* 11 deleted scenes

* Still galleries

* Widescreen anamorphic format

* Number of discs: 2

My suggestion... if you want to read more about the special features, check out the following 2 MovieWeb reviews:

Steve Gibbs: X2


Carl Lazarevic: X2

These guys take you deep into the features on the disc.

Why'd I give the Special Features on the disc a 4.0 (higher than the "standard" 3.0 that I dish-out)? Damn... just check out what Steve and Carl had to say about the special features. If the special features were that impressive, they must be worth a "bump" from my standard... right?
Bottom line is that this was a very decent follow-up to the first picture. Better, in fact, than the first.

Very few films raise the bar with each successive sequel, though, so we'll have to see how they treat the franchise in the future.

I do think that they have to keep a core group of characters in the films... something they've done well here, but with the "universe" of X-Men to choose from, it will be a difficult task going forward -- made even more difficult by the fact that the returning stars only had a 1-sequel addition in their contract...which has now been fulfilled. Now that Halle Berry has been in a James Bond pic and may even have her own spy-sequel in the works for her character there, you can bet she'll be more expensive the next time they try to rope her into bending the weather as Storm. Wolverine's Hugh Jackman is also getting much pricier...

But -- even if they destroy the franchise or just make the characters too random for the "early" fans to follow... there will still be a bunch of comic-book die-hards that will pay the price of admission and a bunch of new "fans" to bring to the table going forward.

It'll be very interesting to see how it plays out.

I give it a BLIND BUY rating of 5.0. You knew that I would. Let me repeat it for those of you who have not yet read it... I BUY EVERYTHING. I take the good and the bad, the gold and the crap. This one was definitely going to end up on my shelf (right next to the first one). This said, I didn't by 'v1.5'. Why? I don't know. I'm only going to let those hacks over at Fox work me over just so much. I'll pay them for the movies, but not those damn special-release added-feature festivals meant to pony out a few more bucks from the hapless schmuck that just has to have everything be better than the other guy. Once I own a movie (and I pretty much buy on release-day -- that's always on the TUESDAY of the release-week, for those of you that don't yet have that figured out), I'm not going to buy it again just for a few "special features" (and you all know how I feel about special features anyway).

I rate the movie a 4.5 -- but only because I felt like it was a little slow in parts. C'mon... I'm here for an action flick and you're giving me character drama... I know I said it was a good message and all, but save it for the art-house stuff and the dramatic fare. I want to see sh*t blowing up. A 4.5 is still a great rating and I did say I liked the character drama... Maybe next time they could just pick the pace up a bit through those sections.

Buy it. Watch it. You won't be disappointed.

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