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X2: X-Men United

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Since director Bryan Singer introduced the sci-fi fantasy "X-Men" (1999), created by comic book artist Stan Lee, this sequel ignites immediately with a complex plot and a new villain.

X-Men are mutants, the next link on the evolutionary chain. But amidst suspicion and prejudice, they're considered misfits and outcasts because each was born with a unique power. Savage Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is searching for his past, seeking retribution while finding romance with telekinetic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). At the same time, Rogue (Anna Paquin) chills out with Iceman (Shawn Ashmore). There's also the seductive shape-shifter Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Storm (Halle Berry) and Cyclops (James Marsden). They live at a School for Gifted Children in upstate New York run by telepathic Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who guides them to utilize their respective gifts for the good of mankind, protecting a world that fears them. Xavier's nemesis is the evil Magneto (Ian McKellen) who advocates mutant supremacy, telling irresponsibly inflammatory Pyro (Aaron Stanford), a rebellious new recruit: "You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you otherwise."

After an attempted assault on the President of the United States by a mutant, a Presidential advisor, Col. William Stryker (Brian Cox), sets out to wreak genocidal revenge on Xavier and all mutants - united. There are two newcomers: teleporter Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and menacing Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) who must, inevitably, fight with Wolverine. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "X2" is an exciting 8. With a nod to "The Empire Strikes Back," it's an action-packed superhero saga with a timely message about tolerance and sacrifice.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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