X2 (film)


X2 (film)

Infobox Film
name = X2


caption =
director = Bryan Singer
producer = Tom DeSanto
Avi Arad
Bryan Singer
Ralph Winter
Lauren Shuler Donner
writer = Screenplay:
Michael Dougherty
Dan Harris
David Hayter
Story:
David Hayter
Bryan Singer
Zak Penn
Comic Book:
Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
starring = Hugh Jackman
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellen
Famke Janssen
Brian Cox
Alan Cumming
Anna Paquin
Halle Berry
Shawn Ashmore
James Marsden
music = John Ottman
cinematography = Newton Thomas Sigel
editing = John Ottman
Elliot Graham
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = May 2, 2003
runtime = 133 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $110 million
gross = $407.56 million
preceded_by = "X-Men"
followed_by = ""
amg_id = 1:278281
imdb_id = 0290334

"X2" (also known in promotional materials as "X2: X-Men United", "X-Men 2: X-Men United", and "X-Men 2") is a 2003 superhero film based on the fictional characters the X-Men. Directed by Bryan Singer, it is the second part of the "X-Men" film series, following "X-Men" (2000) and preceding ' (2006). It stars an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Halle Berry and Kelly Hu. The plot, inspired by the graphic novel ', pits the X-Men and their enemies, the Brotherhood, against the genocidal Colonel William Stryker (Brian Cox). He leads an assault on Professor Xavier's school to build his own version of Xavier's mutant-tracking computer Cerebro, in order to destroy every mutant on Earth.

Development phase for "X2" began shortly after "X-Men". David Hayter and Zak Penn wrote separate scripts, combining what they felt to be the best elements of both scripts into one screenplay. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris were eventually hired for rewrite work, changing characterizations of Beast, Angel and Lady Deathstrike. Sentinels and the Danger Room were set to appear before being deleted because of budget concerns. Filming began in June 2002 and ended that November. Most of the filming took place at Vancouver Film Studios, the largest soundstage in North America. Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas adapted similar designs of John Myhre from the previous film. "X2" was released in the United States on May 2, 2003 and became both a critical and financial success, earning eight nominations at the Saturn Awards and grossing approximately US$408 million worldwide.

Plot

Nightcrawler, a teleporting mutant, attempts to assassinate the President in the White House, but he fails and escapes. Wolverine reappears after discovering nothing at Alkali Lake, while Storm and Jean find Nightcrawler with the help of Professor Xavier and Cerebro. Cyclops and Professor X visit Magneto in his plastic prison to see if he had any part in the attack on the President. Reading Magneto's mind, Professor X discovers that a covert government operative, William Stryker, has been extracting information from Magneto. A trap is sprung and Cyclops and Professor X are captured by Stryker and his assistant Yuriko Oyama. A military raid of the X-Mansion begins, with the soldiers sedating every student they find, some escape, while Wolverine finds Stryker, but is unable to find anything about his past.

Impersonating Senator Robert Kelly and Yuriko, Mystique gains information about Magneto's prison and provides a means for him to escape. Wolverine, along with Rogue, Iceman and Pyro, heads to Iceman's home in Boston. After a 9-1-1 call by Bobby's brother Ronnie, the police arrive just as the group is about to leave, ensuing into a dispute with Pyro. The X-Jet arrives to pick them all up, and the X-Men team with Magneto and Mystique. Magneto has learned Stryker orchestrated the attack on the President and has been experimenting on mutants, using a drug injected directly into the back of the neck to control them. Jean reads Nightcrawler's mind and determines that Stryker's base is located at Alkali Lake, inside the dam. He has also stolen enough equipment from Xavier's own Cerebro unit to build a second Cerebro, with which he plans to kill all the world's mutants.

Stryker gains control over Professor Xavier through his son, Jason Stryker, who is able to project powerful visions in the mind, blinding a person to reality. Professor X is instructed to use Cerebro to find and kill all existing mutants. Mystique infiltrates Stryker's base using a number of disguises. As the X-Men enter Storm and Nightcrawler pair off, searching for kidnapped students. Jean, Magneto, and Mystique are attacked by a brainwashed Cyclops on their way to rescue Professor X, causing damage to the generators that keep the dam from collapsing. The force of Jean's telekinetic blast awakens Cyclops from his brainwashing. Wolverine finds Stryker in an adamantium smelting room along with Lady Deathstrike. Wolverine and Deathstrike begin fighting, but it ends with Wolverine killing her. Wolverine finds Stryker on a landing pad, while Stryker attempts to bargain Wolverine with stories of his past. Wolverine leaves him for dead, stabbing him and chaining him to the helicopter wheel.

Mystique, disguised as Stryker, uses Jason to convince Professor X to kill all humans. Magneto and Mystique use Stryker's helicopter to escape Alkali Lake, chaining Stryker to concrete rubble, and are also joined by Pyro. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler teleports Storm inside of Cerebro, where she frees the Professor from his telepathic illusion. A malfunction aboard the X-Jet prevents it from taking off, and the dam finally bursts. The flood gets stronger, drowning Stryker. Jean leaves the jet and creates a telekinetic wall in order to stop the wave, and at the same time raises the jet above the flood waters; all the while surrounded by a corona of fire. Jean activates the X-Jet's primary engines, before releasing the torrent of water down on herself. The X-Men are able to supply the President with files from Stryker's private offices, and Professor X warns him that humans and mutants must work together to build peace, or they will destroy each other through war. The film ends with a voiceover by Jean Grey on the process of evolution. The camera floats over Alkali Lake, showing a vague shape of a Phoenix in the lake.

Cast

*Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine: A mutant who lost memory of his life before he was grafted with an indestructible adamantium skeleton. Wolverine is a loner, but is in love with Jean Grey and acts as a father figure to Rogue. He wields three blades that come out of his fists, has a keen sense of smell, the ability to heal from almost any injury and is a ruthless and aggressive fighter. Jackman underwent a strict workout regime, gaining an additional twenty pounds of muscle for the role. [cite news|author=Stax|title="X-Men 2" Will Be About...|publisher=IGN|date=2001-12-08|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/316/316777p1.html| accessdate=2008-03-09]

*Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier: A powerful telepathic mutant confined to a wheelchair who founded a School for "Gifted Youngsters", Xavier is a pacifist who believes humans and mutants can live together in harmony. He uses the Cerebro device, designed by Magneto and himself, to track and locate mutants across the world. A natural genius, Xavier is regarded as an authority on genetic mutation.

*Ian McKellen as Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto: Once Xavier's ally, Magneto now believes mutants are superior to humans. Magneto wields the ability to manipulate metal magnetically and wears a helmet that renders him immune to Xavier's powers. Imprisoned after his scheme in the first film, he is drugged by William Stryker for information over Cerebro, before making his escape and forming an alliance with the X-Men to stop Stryker. He has demonstrated sophisticated knowledge in matters of genetic manipulation and engineering. The character's helmet was slightly redesigned as McKellen found wearing it uncomfortable in "X-Men" (2000). [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0591281/s Louise Mingenbach] , United Colors of "X2", 2003, 20th Century Fox]

*Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey: A teacher at Xavier's school and the X-Mansion's doctor, Jean has begun to experience a growth in her telepathy and telekinetic powers since the X-Men's battle with Magneto. She is in love with Cyclops, even though she is attracted to Wolverine.

*Anna Paquin as Marie / Rogue: A girl who can absorb any person's memories and abilities by touching them. As she cannot control this power, Rogue can easily kill anybody and thus is unable to be close to anyone.

*Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake / Iceman: Rogue's boyfriend, he can freeze objects and create ice. His family is unaware that he is a mutant and simply believe he is at a boarding school. After returning home, Bobby reveals to them what he actually is, much to his brother's derision.

*Aaron Stanford as John Allerdyce / Pyro: A friend of Bobby and Rogue, Pyro has anti-social tendencies and has the ability to control (although not create) fire. Magneto tells him that "You are a God amongst insects; never let anyone tell you different." The filmmakers cast Stanford in the role after they were impressed with his performance in "Tadpole" (2002).

*Rebecca Romijn as Mystique: Magneto's henchwoman, she is a shapeshifter. Mystique is blue, naked and covered in scales, and she acts as a spy. She injects a prison guard with metal, with which Magneto makes his escape, and also sexually tempts Wolverine. Romijn's makeup previously took nine hours to apply, however, the make-up department was able to bring it down to six hours for "X2". [cite news | author = Rob Worley | title = Bryan Singer's Mutant Agenda | publisher = Comic Book Resources | date = 2003-04-21 | url = http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=2135 | accessdate=2008-03-09]

*James Marsden as Scott Summers / Cyclops: Jean's fiance, field leader of the X-Men, and a teacher at Xavier's Institute, he shoots uncontrollable beams of concussive force from his eyes and wears a visor to control them. Cyclops is taken prisoner by Stryker.

*Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe / Storm: An African mutant and teacher at Xavier's School who can manipulate the weather. Storm befriends Nightcrawler. Berry dropped out of Jennifer Lopez's role in "Gigli" (2003) in favor of this film. [cite news | author=Lew Irwin| url=http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2001-10-31#celeb4| title=Lopez Ousts Berry From "Gigli"| publisher=Internet Movie Database | date=2001-10-31 | accessdate=2008-03-07]

The following are new characters in the series;
*Brian Cox as Colonel William Stryker: A human military scientist who plans a worldwide genocide of mutants using Xavier and Cerebro. Stryker has experimented on mutants in the past, including Wolverine, and uses a serum to control them. Singer opted to cast Cox in the role as he was a fan of his performance as Hannibal Lector in "Manhunter" (1986).

*Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler: A kindly German mutant with a strong Catholic faith, yet ironically he has the appearance of a blue demon. Nightcrawler was used by Stryker in an assassination attempt on the President of the United States and gives help to the X-Men. He is capable of teleporting himself (and others) instantly from one location to another. On his body are many tattoos, one for every sin. Cumming had always been Singer's choice for the role, but Cumming could not accept the part due to scheduling conflicts. Ethan Embry had been reported to be in contention for the role, [cite news|author=Stax|title=Nightcrawler Cumming This Way|publisher=IGN|date=2002-05-30|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/361/361096p1.html| accessdate=2008-03-09] but the film labored in development long enough for Cumming to accept the part. Singer also felt comfortable in casting Cumming since he is fluent in the German language. [cite news|author=Rob Worley|title=That's Why They Call It The Blues: Stamos and Cumming Talk "X2"|publisher=Comic Book Resources|date=2003-04-23|url= http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=2147|accessdate=2008-02-18] The drawings of Adam Kubert were used as inspiration for Nightcrawler's makeup design, which took four hours to apply. For the scene where Nightcrawler has his shirt off, Cumming went through nine hours.Alan Cumming, Introducing the Incredible Nightcrawler, 2003, 20th Century Fox] To best pose as Nightcrawler, Cumming studied comic books and illustrations of the character.cite news | author = Rob Worley | title = "X-Men 2" | publisher = Comic Book Resources | date=2002-10-30 | url = http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=comics2film&article=1475 | accessdate=2008-02-18]

*Kelly Hu as Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike: A woman, who like Wolverine, has a healing ability, and is controlled by Stryker. She wields long adamantium fingernails.

*Michael Reid McKay as Jason Stryker / Mutant 143: William Stryker's son. He was sent to Xavier's school in an attempt to "cure" his ability to create illusions. Returning home, Jason tortured his parents until his mother committed suicide. His father lobotomized him and uses a fluid from his brain to control mutants. Xavier's mind is too strong for the fluid, however, and Jason is instead used in order to manipulate him in Stryker's genocidal scheme.

Although the character of Senator Robert Kelly was killed in the first film, Bruce Davison reprised the role for scenes where Mystique uses his persona to infiltrate the government. In other cameos, Katie Stuart appeared as Kitty Pryde, a girl who can walk through walls, Bryce Hodgson as Artie, Kea Wong as Jubilee and Shauna Kain as Siryn, who is able to emit loud screams that alert the students to Stryker's attack. Also in the final scene with Xavier, a girl is seen dressed in a Native American style jacket, as well as a blond haired boy dressed in blue, played by Layke Anderson. These were confirmed to be Dani Moonstar and Douglas Ramsey.Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, David Hayter, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, DVD audio commentary, 2003, 20th Century Fox] Daniel Cudmore appeared as Peter Rasputin / Colossus. Cudmore was set to use a Russian accent, but Singer dropped the idea for unknown reasons, and onset rewrites minimized the character's importance to a cameo. [cite news|author=Tim Nydell|title=Interview with Daniel Cudmore|publisher=Rock Bottom|date=2006-07-28|url= http://www.hitrockbottom.org/danielcudmore.html|accessdate=2008-03-09]

Jubilee, Psylocke and Multiple Man were to have cameos for the scene when Stryker and his troops storm the X-Mansion. Beast, Gambit and Marrow were to have appearances during the Dark Cerebro sequence. Gambit's cameo was actually shot, but the footage was not used in the final cut. Beast's scene was to show Dr. Hank McCoy transforming into his notable blue fur while Marrow was to be seen lying on a ground in New York City. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the film's writers, cameo in scenes of Wolverine's Weapon X flashbacks as surgeons. [cite news | author = Heather Newgen |title = "Superman Returns" Screenwriters Dougherty and Harris | publisher = Superhero Hype! | date = 2006-06-16 | url = http://www.superherohype.com/news/featuresnews.php?id=4393 | accessdate = 2008-04-21] Shaquille O'Neal wanted a role in the film but was ignored by the filmmakers. [cite news | author = Army Archerd | url = http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117851683.html?categoryid=2&cs=1 | title = Touchy topic addressed in upcoming pix | publisher = Variety | date = 2001-08-23 | accessdate = 2008-04-06]

Development

Writing

The financial and critical success of "X-Men" (2000) persuaded 20th Century Fox to commission a sequel instantly. Starting in November 2000,The Second Uncanny Issue of "X-Men": Making "X2", 2003, 20th Century Fox] Bryan Singer researched various storylines (one of them being the Legacy Virus) of the "X-Men" comic book series, choosing "" (1982) as the premise.cite news|author=Scott Brown|title=The Ne"X"t Level|publisher= Entertainment Weekly|date=2003-05-09|url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,449160,00.html| accessdate=2008-02-18] Singer wanted to study, "the human perspective, the kind of blind rage that feeds into warmongering and terrorism," [cite news|title=Comics 2 Film|publisher= Comic Book Resources|date= 2002-08-14|url= http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=comics2film&article=1397|accessdate= 2007-05-01] citing a need for a "human villain". Singer and producer Tom DeSanto envisioned "X2" as the film series' "Empire Strikes Back" (1980), in that the characters are "all split apart, and then dissected, and revelations that occur that are significant... the romance comes to fruition and a lot of things happen." [cite news|author=Chris Hewitt|title=The "X" Factor|pages=76|publisher=Empire|date=2003-03-28] Producer Avi Arad announced a planned November 2002 theatrical release date, [cite news|title="Fantastic Four": The Comedy?!|publisher= IGN|date=2001-04-28|url= http://movies.ign.com/articles/057/057515p1.html|accessdate= 2008-03-09] while David Hayter and Zak Penn were hired to write separate scripts.cite news|author=Stax|title=Lauren Shuler Donner Talks "X-Men 2" and "Constantine"| publisher=IGN|date=2001-06-15|url= http://movies.ign.com/articles/300/300581p1.html|accessdate=2008-03-09] Hayter and Penn combined what they felt to be the best elements of both scripts into one screenplay. [cite news|author=Stax|title="Closing In" on "X-Men 2"| publisher=IGN|date=2001-11-07|url= http://movies.ign.com/articles/315/315905p1.html|accessdate=2008-03-09] Singer and Hayter worked on another script, finishing in October 2001. [cite news | author = Michael Fleming | url = http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117854264.html | title = Aussie has bulk for "Hulk" | publisher = Variety | date = 2001-10-14 | accessdate = 2008-06-01]

Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris were hired to rewrite Hayter and Penn's script in February 2002, [cite news|author=Martin A. Grove|title= Fox's "X2" marks spot as presummer starts May 2|publisher=The Hollywood Reporter|date=2003-04-11|url= http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1863776|accessdate= 2007-04-15] turning down the opportunity to write ' (2005). [cite news|author=Stax|title=Magneto Escapes!|publisher=IGN|date=2002-05-08| url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/358/358779p1.html|accessdate=2008-03-09] Angel and Beast appeared in early drafts, but were deleted because there were too many characters. Dr. Hank McCoy, however, can be seen on a television interview in one scene. Beast's appearance was to resemble Jim Lee's artwork of the character in '. Angel was to have been a mutant experiment by William Stryker, transforming into Archangel. A homage to Dougherty's and Harris' efforts of Angel remains in the form of an X-ray on display in one of Stryker's labs. Tyler Mane was to reprise as Sabretooth before the character was deleted. [cite news|author=KJB|title=Tyler Mane Not in "Rollerball" Just Yet|publisher=IGN|date= 2000-08-10|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/034/034623p1.html|accessdate=2008-03-09] In Hayter's script, Lady Deathstrike was Anne Reynolds, a character who appeared in "God Loves, Man Kills" as Stryker's personal assistant/assassin. Singer changed her to Deathstrike, citing a need for "another kick-ass mutant". There was to be more development on Cyclops and Professor X being brainwashed by Stryker. The scenes were shot, but Fox cut them out because of time length and story complications. Hayter was disappointed, feeling that James Marsden deserved more screentime.

Rewrites were commissioned once more, specifically to give Halle Berry more screentime. This was because of her recent popularity in "Monster's Ball" (2001), earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress. [cite news | title = The "X-Men 2" panel | publisher = JoBlo | date = 2002-07-30 | url = http://www.joblo.com/sandiegocon2002/con12.htm | accessdate=2008-03-12] Sentinels and the Danger Room were also set to appear, but Fox cut down the film's production budget, deleting supposed action sequences. Guy Dyas and a production crew had already constructed the Danger Room set. In the words of Dyas, "The control room [of the danger room] was a large propeller that actually rotated around the room so that you can sit up [in that control room] and travel around the subject who is in the middle of the control room. The idea for the traveling is that if it's a mutant has some kind of mind control powers they can't connect."

Production

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner had hoped to start filming in March 2002, but production did not began until June 17, 2002 in Vancouver and ended by November.cite web|author=Greg Dean Schmitz|title=Greg's Preview - "X2: X-Men United"|publisher= Yahoo!|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20080109062934/http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/preview/1808406654|accessdate=2008-08-09] Over sixty-four sets were used in thirty-eight different locations. The film crew encountered problems when not enough snow was produced in Kananaskis, Alberta. An excessive amount of fake snow was then applied. [cite news | title = Let It Snow, Let It Snow | publisher = Internet Movie Database | date = 2002-11-13 | url = http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2002-11-13#film3 | accessdate=2008-03-12] The idea to have Jean Grey sacrifice herself at the end and to be resurrected in a third installment was highly secretive. Singer did not tell Famke Janssen until midway through filming.cite news|author=Rob Allstetter| title="X2" Update|publisher=Comics Continuum|date=2003-12-01|url= http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0312/01/index.htm| accessdate=2008-02-18] Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and two stunt drivers nearly died when filming the scene with Pyro having a dispute with police officers.

Michael Kamen, composer of "X-Men" (2000), offered his services to compose the film score, but Singer opted for fellow collaborator John Ottman, who also assisted in editing the film. [cite news|author=Stax|title=Kamen Settles "X-Men 2" Score|publisher=IGN|date= 2001-10-26|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/315/315441p1.html|accessdate=2008-03-09] Ottman established a new title theme, as well as themes specifically for Magneto, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Mystique and Pyro. Although Ottman tried his best to keep Kamen's basic approach of the previous film, Ottman also found inspiration from "". [John Ottman, Requiem for Mutants: The Score of "X2", 2003, 20th Century Fox] Minor compositions of Mozart's "Requiem" were used for the opening scene with Nightcrawler at the White House. [cite news| author=Jonathan Jarry|title=Music for Superfantastic Invaders| publisher=Soundtrack.net|date= 2007-06-27|url=http://www.soundtrack.net/features/article/?id=237| accessdate=2008-02-18]

Design and effects

Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and Singer credited "Road to Perdition" (2002) as a visual influence. Though Sigel filmed "X-Men" in the anamorphic 2.40:1 format, he opted to shoot "X2" in Super 35mm 2.35:1. Sigel felt the recent improvements in film stocks and optics increased the advantages of using spherical lenses, even if the blowup to anamorphic must be accomplished optically instead of digitally. Sigel noted, "If you think about it, every anamorphic lens is simply a spherical lens with an anamorphizer on it. They'll never be as good as the spherical lenses that they emulate."cite news | author = Jon Silberg | title = A Universe "X"-pands | publisher = American Cinematographer | date = April 2003 | url = http://www.theasc.com/magazine/april03/cover/index.html | accessdate=2008-03-10] Cameras that were used during filming included two Panaflex Millenniums and a Millennium XL, as well as an Aaton 35mm. Singer also used more zoom lens than he did in his previous films, while Sigel used a Frazier lens specifically for dramatic moments.

The Blackbird was redesigned and increased in virtual size from 60—85 feet. John Myhre served as the production designer on "X-Men" (2000), but Singer hired Guy Dyas ("X2" was Dyas' first film as production designer). [Guy Dyas, Evolution in the Details: Designing "X2", 2003, 20th Century Fox] For scenes involving Stryker's Alkali Base, Vancouver Film Studios, the largest sound stage in North America, was reserved.cite news| author=Rob Worley|title=Comics 2 Film|publisher=Comic Book Resources|date=2002-10-23|url= http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=comics2film&article=1467|accessdate= 2008-02-18]

Visual effects supervisor Mike Fink was not satisfied with his work on the previous film, despite the fact it nearly received an Academy Award nomination. Up to 520 shots were created for "X-Men", while "X2" commissioned roughly 800. A new computer program was created by Rhythm and Hues for the dogfight tornado scene. Cinesite was in charge of scenes concerning Cerebro, enlisting a 20-man crew. The Alkali Lake Dam miniature was 25 ft. high and 28 ft. wide. [F"X2" Visual Effects, 2003, 20th Century Fox] Cinesite created 300 visual effects shots, focusing on character animation, while Rhythm and Hues created over 100. [cite news|title=Comics 2 Film|publisher= Comic Book Resources|date= 2002-07-10|url= http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=comics2film&article=1362|accessdate= 2007-05-01]

Comic book references

One scene depicts Mystique going through files on Yuriko's computer. Bryan Singer purposely included various characters and hints of storylines in the "X-Men" comic book on Yuriko's computer screen. Singer "finds great difficulty in adapting all this stuff into a two—two and a half hour long movie".Bryan Singer, Newton Thomas Sigel, DVD audio commentary, 2003, 20th Century Fox]

Among the following mutant files are of Gambit, Cannonball, Husk, Silver Samurai, Garrison Kane, Magneto, Artie Maddicks, Multiple Man, Karma, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Proteus, Danielle Moonstar, Storm, Beast, Feral, Banshee, Black Tom Cassidy, Lila Cheney, Sabretooth, Sunspot, Polaris, Psylocke, Iceman, Blob, Skin and Wild Child. There are also folders seen on the desk, including Omega Red, Project Wideawake, Franklin Richards and Cerebro.

Closer inspection reveals that Stryker is keeping files on Pyro, Sabra, Dr. Ceclia Reyes, Synch, Penance, Nightcrawler, Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, Copycat, Deadpool, Cyclops, Dazzler, Fenris, Jamie Braddock, David North, Sunfire, Boom Boom, Mimic, Dr. Nathaniel Essex, Toad, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, Kitty Pryde, Sauron and Forge. There are also files on Alpha, Beta and Gamma Flights, Weapon X, Project Wide Awake, Dept H, the Brotherhood, Graymalkin, Zero Tolerance, Massachusetts Academy, Blackbird, the Danger Room, Legacy, Morlocks, Xavier's School, Omega Red, Cerebro, the Salem Centre, Franklin Richards, Kevin McTaggart and Trash.

Reception

Release

The first cut of "X2" was rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America, due to more violent scenes concerning Wolverine when Stryker's army stormed the X-Mansion. Very few seconds were cut to secure a PG-13 rating. [cite news | author = Rob Worley | title = "X"-Producers: Lauren Shulder-Donner and Ralph Winter Talk About "X2" | publisher = Comic Book Resources | date = 2003-04-28 | url = http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=2181 | accessdate=2008-02-18]

"X2" opened in America on May 2, 2003, accumulating $85,558,731 in its opening weekend in 3,749 theaters. The film grossed $214,949,694 in North America, while earning $192,607,919 worldwide, coming at a total of $407,557,613. "X2" was financial success since it recouped its production budget three times. [cite web|title=X2: X-Men United (2003)|publisher= Box Office Mojo|url=http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=x2.htm|accessdate=2008-03-05] "X2" debuted simultaneously in ninety-three countries, the largest North American and international opening ever at the time. [cite news|author=Brian Linder|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/400/400483p1.html|title= This Weekend at the Movies: "X2" Debuts|publisher=IGN|date=2003-05-02|accessdate= 2008-03-09] In addition, the film is the fifth highest grossing film based on a Marvel Comic book, [cite web|title=Marvel Comics Movies| publisher=Box Office Mojo|url= http://boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=marvelcomics.htm|accessdate=2008-03-05] and was the sixth highest of 2003, [cite web|title=2003 Yearly Box Office Results|publisher=Box Office Mojo|url=http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2003&p=.htm|accessdate=2008-03-05] also earning $107 million in its first five days of DVD release.

"X2" had a video game tie-in on ', which has nothing to do with the events of the film, although Patrick Stewart voiced Professor X. ' bridges the storyline between "X2" and "". Specifically, it explains Nightcrawler's absence from "The Last Stand". Chris Claremont wrote a novelization of the film, which left out its secretive cliffhanger. [cite book | author = Chris Claremont | title = X-Men 2 | publisher = Del Ray Books | month = March | year = 2003 | pages = 416 | url = http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780345461964 | isbn = 978-0-345-46196-4]

Critical response

Based on 215 reviews collected by "Rotten Tomatoes", "X2" received an average 87% overall approval rating; [cite web|url= http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/x2_xmen_united/|title=X2: X-Men United|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes| accessdate=2008-03-06] the film was more balanced with Rotten Tomatoes' thirty-seven "Top Critics", receiving an 81% approval rating. [cite web| url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/x2_xmen_united/?critic=creamcrop&name_order=asc|title=X2: X-Men United: Top Critics|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes|accessdate=2008-03-06] By comparison, "Metacritic" calculated an average score of sixty-eight from thirty-eight reviews. [cite web|url= http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/x2xmenunited?q=X2:%20X-Men%20United|title=X2: X-Men United (2003): Reviews|publisher=Metacritic|accessdate=2008-03-06]

Roger Ebert felt the storyline did not live up to its potential and was critical of plot holes. He was impressed, however, by how Bryan Singer was able to handle so many characters in one film. In addition, Ebert felt the film's closing was perfect for a future installment, giving "X2" three out of four stars. [cite news | author=Roger Ebert|url= http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030502/REVIEWS/305020306/1023 | title=X2: X-Men United | publisher=RogerEbert.com|date=2003-05-02|accessdate=2008-03-06] Kenneth Turan of the "Los Angeles Times" felt it was rare for a sequel to be better than its predecessor. Turan observed that the film carried emotional themes that are present in the world today and commented that "the acting was better than usual [for a superhero film] ". [cite news|author=Kenneth Turan|url= http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-turan2may02,0,4985395.story|title=X2: X-Men United | publisher=Los Angeles Times|date=2003-05-02|accessdate=2008-03-06] Peter Travers of "Rolling Stone" felt Hugh Jackman heavily improved his performance, concluding "X2" is a summer firecracker. It's also a tribute to outcasts, teens, gays, minorities, even Dixie Chicks." [cite news|author=Peter Travers|title=Mutants Gone Wild|publisher=Rolling Stone|pages=70|date= 2003-05-29|url=http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/5947779/review/5947780/x2_xmen_united|accessdate=2007-08-12]

Mick LaSalle of the "San Francisco Chronicle" was critical of the storyline, special effects and action scenes. [cite news|author=Mick LaSalle|url= http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/05/02/DD45234.DTL|title=The Inhuman Touch| publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|date=2003-05-03|accessdate=2008-03-06] Joe Morgenstern of "The Wall Street Journal" specifically referred to the film as "fast-paced, slow-witted". [cite news|author=Joe Morgenstern|url=|title=X2: X-Men United| publisher=The Wall Street Journal|date=2003-05-02|accessdate=2008-03-06] Stephen Hunter of "The Washington Post" quoted, "Of the many comic book superhero movies, this is by far the lamest, the loudest, the longest". [cite news|author=Stephen Hunter|url=|title="X-Men United": Missing a Why, It Spawns Zzzzs| publisher=The Washington Post|date=2003-05-02|accessdate= 2008-03-06] Richard Corliss of "Time" argued that Singer depended too much on seriousness and that he did not have enough sensibilities to communicate to an audience. [cite news|author=Richard Corliss|url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030505-447216,00.html|title=Pumping Up For The Sequel| publisher=Time|date=2003-04-27|accessdate=2008-03-06] "Empire" called "X2" the best comic book movie of all time in 2006, [cite web|title=The 20 Greatest Comic Book Movies|publisher=Empire|url=http://www.empireonline.com/features/comicbookfilms/10-1.asp#comicbookfilms| accessdate=2006-10-20] while "Wizard" named the film's ending as the twenty-second greatest cliffhanger of all time. [cite news |author=Jake Rossen|title=The Top 25 Cliffhangers of All Time!|publisher=Wizard|pages=23-8 |date=2007-08-05 | accessdate=2007-08-05] In May 2007, "Rotten Tomatoes" listed "X2" as the fifth greatest comic book film of all time. [cite web|title=Comix Worst to Best|publisher=Rotten Tomatoes|url= http://www.rottentomatoes.com/features/special/2007/comic/?r=5&mid=1122256|accessdate= 2008-03-10]

"X2" won the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. In addition, Bryan Singer (Direction), Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty (Writing), and John Ottman (Music) all received nominations. It also received nominations with its costumes, makeup, special effects and DVD release, coming to a total of eight nominations. [cite web | title = Past Saturn Awards | publisher = Saturnawards.org | url = http://www.saturnawards.org/past.html#film | accessdate = 2007-04-14] The Political Film Society honored "X2" in categories of Human Rights and Peace, [cite web|url=http://www.geocities.com/~polfilms/x2.html|title=X2: X-Men United|publisher= Political Film Society|accessdate=2008-03-12] while the film was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). [cite web | title = The Hugo Awards By Year | publisher = Hugo.org | url = http://www.hugo.org/hy.html#94 | accessdate = 2008-03-12]

References

External links

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* [http://marvel.com/movies/X-Men X-Men on Marvel.com]
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*" [http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/x2xmenunited?q=X2 X2] " at Metacritic


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