FEATURES : COLUMNS : REVIEWS : NEWS : FILM & TV : FORUMS : UGO

ABOUT




New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pérez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.
 








Movie Review:
X2: X-Men United
By Matt Singer

05.05.03


You have these images in your head as comic book reader. While comics are a highly visual medium, they are also an interactive one; even the best artist can only communicate so much on the page, and that’s where you come in. You pick how people’s voices sound, how they move, the motivation behind the dialogue. The excitement for the hardcore fans of these superhero characters is because the movie is - under the best circumstances - a way to bear out our own private super hero movies. The intensely personal nature of the medium is also the reason these geeks lash out so violently when things don’t appear quite as they “should;” in the comics world each reader is the ultimate director, thus their opinion is more important than anyone besides the actual creators.


Article continued below advertisement


The best thing you can say about X2 is that no matter who you are and how you saw the X-Men comics, there will be something in here equal or even vastly superior to your own vision. X-Men was immediately hailed as a creative success simply because it wasn’t a total disaster; most comic book adaptations besides the first two Superman and Batman films were awful. Rewatching it today it has its flaws and its charms, but it accomplished its task of getting anyone who wasn’t familiar with these characters up to speed and maintaining the interests of those who already knew what was going on by embracing the source material and understanding what made it so powerful and eternally popular. X2: X-Men United takes things a step further because the assumption is now everyone is on the same page and we can really get down to business at hand which is truly making a “comic book movie.” X2 may not be the best comic book adaptation, but it is probably the first one to truly take a comic book, and translate the pure experience of reading a serial super hero saga to the screen. New characters are introduced, our old favorites show off some new cool tricks, lives change, and we are left eagerly anticipating the next issue, or sequel as it were.

After the same Professor Xavier monologue, and a title sequence leading to what now appears to be the X-Men franchise official opening trademark - the doors of the Cerebro chamber spinning to the unlock position as the camera zooms into the door’s blue neon center - we are introduced to Alan Cumming’s outstanding portrayal of German blue-skinned Nightcrawler, during an assassination attempt on no less than the President of the United States. Director Bryan Singer’s liberal and ultra-cool use of Nightcrawler’s teleportation powers is exactly the sort of thing comic book fans relish in these movies, seeing a character they’ve loved for years not only come to life, but used in more imaginative ways than even comic books had been able to capture.

Refusing to dumb down the content for the audience, X2 features no less than four interconnected subplots running concurrently throughout the main storyline, as the X-Men are attacked by an army scientist named William Stryker (the perfectly fiendish Brian Cox), who has a personal grudge against mutants which poses a problem after he ascertains the location of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Meanwhile, the Wolverine-Jean Grey-Cyclops love triangle grows deeper (played by Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, and James Marsden respectively), Wolverine investigates more of his mysterious past, and Magneto (Ian McKellen) languishes in his plastic prison, yearning for a chance of escape.

To accommodate all the rich, comics-style subplots the running time of this sequel has swelled to over two hours, but there’s rarely a dull moment. Actors who were strong in the first film, like Jackman and McKellen, have grown more comfortable in their roles, and those who were weaker, like Halle Berry as Storm and especially Janssen (who’s never been better in anything I’ve seen her in), start to pull their weight. Really, everything in X2 is bigger and better: from the special effects, like Nightcrawler’s teleporting, to the fight scenes where Wolverine is allowed to be truly feral and vicious, particularly in the siege of the mansion and the climactic battle with Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), which is about as brutal as any PG-13 movie can get.

It’s amazing that Singer, who allegedly never read an X-Men comic before getting this job, has done as right by his source material as he has (According to what I’ve read, producer Tom DeSanto is a stickler for the comics continuity). In X2, he has made a movie that functions equally well as a straight summer action film and geek fulfillment. It’s really outstanding entertainment, nervy, exciting, slyly comical. It sets a high bar for the rest of the summer’s movies. For once, a movie’s excellent trailers didn’t sell a crummy movie; they barely hinted at the coolness in store.



 

 
E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend

 

 



 
Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.


CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent