X2: X-Men United (PG-13)
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Well, I must say I liked the sequel more than the original, which itself was pretty good. The story starts with a teleporting mutant named Kurt Wagner (aka Nightcrawler; Alan Cumming) nearly killing the President of the United States, after a cool battle with all the White House security, during which we hardly saw anything but blue smoke. It turns out, though, that Nightcrawler's mind was being controlled by a military scientist named Col. William Stryker (Brian Cox), who has been studying mutants for decades, apparently. He considers it a disease, one which afflicted his son Jason, and which years ago he wanted Prof. Xavier to cure... which of course Xavier couldn't do, because it's not a disease. Now Stryker considers his son to be dead, though actually he's just... I don't know what to say. Barely conscious. But anyway, Jason could project illusions into people's minds, and Stryker is now producing a mind control drug from Jason's blood or something, to control mutants. When Xavier and Cyclops visit Magneto in his plastic prison, they're both captured by Stryker. He uses the drug on Cyclops, but Xavier is too powerful to be controlled by the drug, so Stryker uses Jason to control him directly. I digress. There's so damn much going on in this movie, it's hard to keep track of it all.
Wolverine, of course, has been off in Canada, at Alkali Lake, where he found... nothing. An abandoned base, with no answers or even clues to his past. So he returns to Xavier's school. Rogue is dating a boy named Bobby Drake (aka Iceman; Shawn Ashmore), who can freeze stuff, but they can't touch because of her power. Jean is still with Cyclops, but Wolverine is still interested in her. Um... the attack on the President was of course staged by Stryker to enflame public opinion against mutants, and also to get the government to authorize action against them. This action takes the form of a full-on special-ops raid of Xavier's school.
Most of the kids escape through underground tunnels, but some are captured. Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, and another student, John (aka Pyro), who can manipulate fire, escape together, and head for Boston. Because, that's where Jean and Storm have been looking for Nightcrawler, who joined them. The three of them rejoined Wolverine and the others after a battle between Pyro and a bunch of cops, at Iceman's parents' house.
Um... Mystique managed to free Magneto in rather an inventive fashion. Then after everyone on the X-Jet get attacked by jet fighters, they are joined by Magneto and Mystique, to work together against Stryker, whose base is underground at... Alkali Lake. And apparently he was behind whatever happened to Wolverine in the past, and could have answered all his questions. He also has a bodyguard, Lady Deathstryke (Kelly Hu), who has the same abilities as Wolverine, which naturally means they'll have a major fight. Anyway, Stryker has set up Cerebro at his base, and Jason is making Xavier locate and kill all mutants. Until Magneto stops him and changes the plan, to kill all non-mutants.
So then the X-Men have to stop that. So much for 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend,' eh? Well, it's a complicated war... at least 3-sided, y'know? It's ironic that the mutants people should really fear are the ones who sort of agree with them, that there should be a war, while the ones they always end up attacking are the ones who don't want a war, and want to protect humanity from the mutants who do. Whatever, war gets averted in the end, when, after all the immediate crises have been dealt with, the good mutants pay a little visit to the President....
I hope I'm not forgetting anything, and not giving too much away. Oh yeah, Pyro joins Magneto's side. And then there's one very important detail I'm leaving out, about someone else... but I mention it in my review of the third movie....