May 7, 2011

Queer Review: X2: X-Men United (2003)

X2: X-Men United
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Zak Penn, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, and David Hayter
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming

X2: X-Men United continues the adventure started in the first X-Men movie. There are new mutants and villains, such as Nightcrawler (alan Cumming) and Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) joining the cast. Ultimately, X2: X-Men United is a bigger, bolder version of its predecessor.

X2 opens with a memorable sequence with Nightcrawler attempting to assassinate the President of the United States. This gives William Stryker (Brian Cox) the reason he had been waiting for to obtain authorization to lead an assault on Professor X's School. Soon, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) has been captured by Stryker, and the X-Men team seperated from their leader must join forces with the recently escaped Magneto (Ian McKellen) - who had been imprisoned at the end of the previous movie. All the while clues indicate that Stryker has plans that present a grave danger for both mutants and mankind.

The Queering
As sequels go, X2 can be seen as a bigger, badder version of the first movie. Many of the same strengths and weaknesses are present here. Bryan Singer's sense of style is just as strong here, as it was in the first movie. The large cast, while still keeping proceedings interesting, continues to hinder character development and identification. On the other hand, Stryker, while played with panache by Brian Cox, makes for a much less interesting villain then Magneto.

X2 starts out strong with Nightcrawler bamfing his way through the white house and has a few memorable sequences in the middle, such as Pyro losing control of his power to manipulate fire. The climax however, is somewhat muddled, and a key character's death fails to leave any significant impact.

However, Singer does a good job of continuing to highlight the queer subtexts, which are much stronger here than in the first movie. There is a notable scene where Iceman comes out of the closet to tell his parents that he is a mutant which many queers will be able to relate to.

Overall, X2: X-Men United is of the same quality as the first movie, therefore I strongly recommend X2 as well.

The Rating


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