Set a few years after the first film, X2 was released on May 2, 2003, in the summer of sequels. In a surprise turn, it soon toppled the sure-fire hit The Matrix Reloaded in both critic and fan reviews. It’s not difficult to see why. In one of those rare occurrences in the hype of Hollywood, X2 was better than its predecessor in every single way. A better story, better effects, and better acting from the cast — from Jackman to Berry, everyone took it up a notch.
Unlike most comic book films, where you get a new story with a new villain, in X2 we are taken back to the events of the first film. Wolverine is still in Alberta searching for the answers to his past, Magneto is still in his plastic prison and Professor Xavier is still fighting the good fight and teaching his mutant students. The real villain of the piece, General William Stryker, has taken it upon himself to kill all mutants. It makes for an interesting turn, throwing the human element into the sequel, especially after the very much unneeded Sabertooth and Toad in X-Men. Wolverine is still one the main characters, and I think the film is better for it. One of the main problems people had with the first one was the fact that many of the characters simply weren’t used enough. But X2 still manages a cool introduction, giving Nightcrawler a stylish debut, and it manages to keep it’s intelligence all the way through. Oh, and it manages to give us some really masterful scenes, particularly Magneto’s prison escape scene.
So how does the DVD hold up? Well, I’m not one of those who is picky about his DVDs, so maybe you should take that into account. But X2, like X-Men 1.5, delivers a high class disc. The picture is every bit as clean, bright and crisp as its predecessor and the sound tops the original. Then we come to the features — with 2 discs, you’re bound to have something special on there, and this one delivers everything you’d expect from a blockbuster DVD. The Singer commentary is both informative and entertaining, though there’s some fluff which I can hardly believe got on the disc. So, the set designer talks about the carpet in the mansions hallway for about 3 minutes, and boring bit about how the tornado effects where created. But it is cool hearing from the cast, in both the production featurettes and the web interviews. As with most of the Marvel DVDs, Stan Lee has his word on the creation of the X-Men. Chris Claremont, easily the X-Men’s most memorable writer, also gets his say on both the comics and the film. We are also given a set of nice featurrettes on everything from John Ottmans’ score to the costume designer telling us what went into the X-Suits. Simply put, if you enjoyed the movie, you’d be a fool not to enjoy the disc.
X2: X-Men United will be released on November 25.