by Greg Muskewitz
A not too-hot-on-the-heels three-years-after sequel to the mostly solid comic book movie X-Men, Bryan Singer again returns to direct from the pages of the mutants, an evolved human regular mankind is all too frightened to accept.(Some might call it mutophobia, this time more likened to homosexuality than the link the first tried to forge with Jewish persecution; Mother — just learning her teen offspring is a mutant — to son: “We still love you. But I feel like it’s my fault.”) Steps are saved in the previously established characters (Professor X, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Magneto, Mystique, et al.) with only a halfhearted effort to develop anything new with Wolverine’s origins (the comic would have never dealt with it, nor provided so many answers, so soon), the connection that brings the few new introductions into this issue. Yes, the roles of Iceman (Iceboy?) and Pyro (a new actor filling in) are furthered from the cameos of the first, but the main introduction is that of Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, in typical Cumming extravagance and cutsie-pootsieness. (This round’s cameo, Colossus, hardly counts for anything.) Instead, the force of evil that necessitates the good and evil mutants to team-up (tag teams already?) is a non-mutant general and his defect mutant son, and as far as I’m concerned — although my half-dozen select X-Men comics don’t qualify me as an expert — are two wholly new creations with no provenance in the comic. The towel-in-the-ring appearance, and destruction, of Deathstrike, doesn’t even deserve note. In a roundabout way, it strikes me as extremely lazy to muster up two wimpy new creations rather than browsing the rogue’s gallery of possibilities for a serious foe, a worthy contender. And who says this installment must connect so directly to the first? This is the space of cinema, not comics, and the notion of an issue per movie is too prodigal; a movie acts as the enclosure of a three- or four-part series. The new James Bond doesn’t pick up on the faultline of the last. The special effects are just as solid and well-done, most notably the two blue mutants and their abilities, though the effects lack the awe, and ultimately the accomplishment of the adventure, from the first. On other new horizons, Storm has lost her “tribal” accent, Rogue has lost her southern accent, Jean Grey has a new hairstyle, and James Marsden and Anna Paquin have become even more unctuous — if that’s possible, even for a comic book movie.
"A shortcut title, a shortcut movie."
With Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Famke Janssen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Brian Cox, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford and Kelly Hu.[See it if you must.]
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7417&reviewer=172
originally posted: 12/28/03 21:38:28