Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bryan Singer retrospective - X2 (2003)

What comes after a massively commercially successful comic book adaptation? Why, the sequel of course! And basically all my comments regarding Singer's X-MEN go double for X-2. In general, Singer does a fine job in creating a slick, entertaining summer blockbuster movie full of spectacular set pieces. At the same time he remains faithful to the original books. Without the need to do all the character establishment heavy lifting, Singer even has room to develop characters and emotional relationships. The love triangle between Cyclops, Jean Grey and Wolverine is developed and Singer sensitively introduces the Jean Grey/Phoenix theme. Singer even gets to probe the intellectual heart of the books with a classic scene in which a teen mutant called Iceman "comes out" to his family. Best of all, the classic conflict between "good" and "bad" mutants is complicated by the insertion of a human arch-villain called William Stryker (Brian Cox) - hell-bent on mutant genocide. Cox is yet another impressive actor added to the roster, and more than makes up for the sub-par performance from Halle Berry and the fact that Cyclops is once again short-changed. The same flaws persist - too many characters, too much material - but it's hard to pin them on Singer. Indeed, despite the proliferation of characters, he does as well as one can imagine in still crafting a coherent movie.

All in all, X-2 was a stylish, entertaining, intelligent comic book movie - a more satisfying feature than the already impressive X-MEN.

X2 went on release in 2003.

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