X2: X-Men United movie reviewX2: X-Men United review

X2: X-Men United

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X2: X-Men United
Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry
Running Time: 2:05
Country: USA
Year: 2003
Web: Official Site
After a mutant made an attempt on the life of the President of the United States, the mysterious General Stryker takes advantage of this attack and society's fears to revive the anti-mutant movement. The X-Men manor is attacked and the Cerebro machine is diverted to locate and destroy all the mutants. X-Men and Magneto join forces to face this new threat.

The adaptation of comics, even if it is still perceived as an event, has become a sub-genre of its own in American fantasy cinema. With an extensive number of titles available—mostly at Marvel—the line isn't close to being exhausted, benefiting from technological progress in order to be brought to life in a credible manner.

Following the example of Batman, the father of all these new kids, X2 marks a new stage. Where Tim Burton went for eccentric spectacle, Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects) paradoxically succeeds thanks to a self-effacing approach, establishing a standard of conventional quality stripped of any personality.

X2 takes over where the first opus left us, continuing its vast metaphor on racism, manipulation of the masses and aggressive mechanisms of repression. Above all, it synthesizes the obsession of success of the adaptation inherent to this specific sub-genre; an obsession which leads to an original result. To protect itself from a double comparison to the comic and the first picture, the film takes refuge in an ironic mutation, where the adaptation appears more Darwinian than cinematographic; one can summarize it as follows: to avoid criticism (from the fans of course, not from us), one should not adapt X-Men but instead make it a full-fleshed comic of its own (another way of saying that to survive in cinema, one should not hesitate to mutate).

The success of X2 thus lies in this capacity to build a story which could have held its own place in the X-Men universe. For that reason, the film is written, edited and directed according to the narrative threads inherent to each comic: development of the characters and their relationships in the middle of a general plot, fights implicating several characters, simultaneity of the actions of each member of the group, credible use of powers without falling into heroic invincibility; this structure allows synthesizing 15 years of the series in a single episode. As a result, it's surprising to appreciating X2, not as a film but as a Comic of huge proportions.

In this game of mutation, X2 resounds like a traditional X-Men that would have been drawn by a John Byrne or a Jim Lee and written by Chris Claremont (the creator of the X-Men mythology and its gigantic metaphor on racism and exclusion who is curiously absent here). One is far from the aesthetic and script risks taken by Bill Sienkiewicz and Barry Windsor-Smith (the author of Weapon X, the essential spin-off covering the origins of Wolverine).

But this does really not matter. X2 offers an infallible answer to the question of the adaptation experienced by the Studios: to be only an outgrowth of an already existing and prevalent universe, thus satisfying the fans. Singer succeeds here, creating a work of reference while paradoxically locking himself up in the gilded cage of a blockbuster director which, unless your name is John McTiernan, definitively risks consuming his creativity.

If you're looking for a work inspired from comics and that still tries to be a film, watch the convincing but flawed Spider-man or the excellent Blade II .

  Raki Gnaba

     X-Men: The Last Stand

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