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X 2: X-MEN UNITED

A weird, worried professor cries Wolverine in this sci-fi sequel. That’s because he wants Wolverine, everyone’s favorite mutant, to lend him a hand in the extermination of what appears to be a whole new breed of sinister mutants.

CAST: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox, Bruce Davison, Kelly Hu, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Katie Stuart

DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer

" ‘X2’ is 2 good 2 be 4-gotten. Brisk and involving with a streamlined forward propulsion, it's the kind of superhero movie we want if we have to have superhero movies at all…‘X2’ really wants to involve us in its characters' stories, to get us on its side and create belief that there is something tangible at stake in what these mutants are up to…the acting in ‘X2’ is better than average for this kind of movie, with Jackman being especially effective as the muscular, tortured Wolverine." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"‘X2: X-Men United’ is almost everything a moviegoer and a disciple of the acutely intelligent 40-year-old Marvel Comics series could want. It's scenic, confidently directed and performed, dutiful, faithful, revelatory, informative, and largely involving. Rarely, however, is it any fun…the 2-hour, 16-minute film is all work, tying up the loose ends of the first movie and hopefully clearing the way for a more incendiary third chapter… it's so obligated to keep moving forward that it feels more evocatively illustrated than thrillingly dramatized." --Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

"‘X2’ is as irresistible as movie-theater popcorn -- a lavish, reasonably intelligent, well-acted sequel with kick-butt effects that outdoes its predecessor, 2000's ‘X-Men,’ in almost every department…‘X2’ is partly a cautionary tale about the government trampling civil liberties during an ‘emergency’ -- a theme that couldn't be more timely. But for all of its considerable assets, ‘X2’ isn't going to be of huge interest to anyone who doesn't want to see a movie based on a comic book." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"… a rarity among comic-book movies. Like the opening half of the first Batman film, it captures the feel of a first-rate comic book. It puts the pop back into Pop Art: It blows viewers away with a blast of kinetic energy…Director Bryan Singer stitches his special effects into a crazy quilt of characters, and inspires his ensemble to make the crisis-riddled personalities both true-to-life and larger-than-life. The most emblematic figure may be Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' stunning bad-girl changeling Mystique, who normally walks naked in indigo-blue skin but can take on anyone's identity. The way Singer depicts her transformations, it's as if she's doing ultra-speedy 3-D painting over her own form…Singer has a hard time finishing the picture; the protracted climax is a letdown. But until then, ‘X2’ is a heartening success: its best effects are its characters." --Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

"The effects are not bad, though they fall far short of the sublimity achieved by either the ‘Lord of the Rings’ or the ‘Matrix’ movies…it succeeds pretty well in rising to the challenge that most sequels face: how to give the audience more of what it responded to the first time while feeding its appetite for novelty" --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Of the many comic book superhero movies, this is by far the lamest, the loudest, the longest …The primary deficiency might be called a lack of narrative clarity. Literally, for the first hour of this movie, you have no idea what it's about or what's at stake…The newest X is the Brit dervish Alan Cumming…he's the Man of Naugahyde with the gift of disappearing in a cloud of smoke and reappearing somewhere else a nanosecond later. He looks like a human bat, but somehow he's transformed into the cuddly cute one by movie's end. I never figured that out. But then I never figured anything out!" --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

 

"The old standbys from the first X-Men movie are on hand, including Hugh Jackman’s stiletto-armed Wolverine…As the shape-shifting Mystique, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos gratifyingly morphs into her very own svelte self in a scene that might have been filched from ‘Femme Fatale’…The best new addition to the corp is Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler. His pointy ears, yellow eyes, and blue skin make him the most creepily beautiful presence in the pageant." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"It's basically a winner: star-studded returning cast in white eyes and body paint, good effects, a sense of humor about itself…‘X2’ might also be called the most subversive mainstream movie to come along since ‘Toy Story’ took on labor relations…the heart of the film isn't in the devices or effects. It's in the characters… Singer has imbued his entire film with a sensual, if not exactly sexual, tension and only occasionally allows himself to lapse into the conventions of the action-figure movie." --John Anderson, Newsday

"The buzz is right: ‘X2’ is bigger, badder and better than ‘X1’… ‘X2’ is a summer firecracker. It's also a tribute to outcasts -- teens, gays, minorities, even Dixie Chicks. It's not without thought or feeling, except when its mind gets bent by the gods of box office. Then it's craven and empty. Success, meet compromise." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"This is a more impersonal movie--big and slick, so much so that when we lose one of the core group of mutants, presumably for good (although they tend to be resilient), not a tear will be shed…while the first movie made more direct allusions to McCarthyism, immigration and the power of hormones and teenage sexuality, ‘X2’ single-mindedly goes for a gay subtext…Mutants who ‘come out’ run the risk of alienating their families, being cut off, ridiculed and subjected to hate crimes…It seems too narrow an analogy for so sprawling an action movie." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News