|Producer(s)|| Tom DeSanto|
Lauren Shuler Donner
|Starring|| Patrick Stewart|
|Release Date(s)|| April 20, 2003|
May 2, 2003 (USA)
|Next Film||X-Men: The Last Stand|
X2 (often promoted as X2: X-Men United, or internationally as X-Men 2) is a 2003 American superhero film, based on the fictional characters the X-Men. Directed by Bryan Singer, it is the second film in the X-Men film series. It stars an ensemble cast including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Brian Cox, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, James Marsden, Halle Berry and Kelly Hu. The plot, inspired by the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, pits the X-Men and their enemies, the Brotherhood, against the genocidal Colonel William Stryker (Brian Cox). He leads an assault on Professor Xavier's school to build his own version of Xavier's mutant-tracking computer Cerebro, in order to destroy every mutant on Earth.
Development on X2 began shortly after X-Men. David Hayter and Zak Penn wrote separate scripts, combining what they felt to be the best elements of both scripts into one screenplay. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris were eventually hired for rewrite work, changing characterizations of Beast, Angel and Lady Deathstrike. Sentinels and the Danger Room were set to appear before being deleted because of budget concerns. Filming began in June 2002 and ended that November. Most of the filming took place at Vancouver Film Studios, the largest production facility outside of Los Angeles in North America. Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas adapted similar designs by John Myhre from the previous film. X2 was released in the United States on May 2, 2003 and became both a critical and financial success, earning eight nominations at the Saturn Awards and grossing approximately $407 million worldwide.
At the White House, agents escort several visitors through the building. One of them steps behind. The man starts to disarm the agents through the building, revealed to be Nightcrawler, a teleporting mutant, and tries to assassinate the President of the United States, but he fails and escapes after being shot by a Secret Service agent, leaving a note demanding "mutant freedom now". Wolverine heads to Alkali Lake but finds nothing left of the base. Logan returns to the school, reunited with Rogue, her boyfriend Iceman, Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey. He is requested by Professor Xavier to watch over the children at the school, while Storm and Jean find Nightcrawler with the help of the professor and Cerebro.
Cyclops and the Professor visit Magneto in his plastic prison to see if he had any part in the attack on the President. Reading Magneto's mind, the Professor discovers that a covert government operative, William Stryker, has been extracting information from Magneto. A trap is sprung and Cyclops and the Professor are captured by Stryker and his assistant Yuriko Oyama. A military raid of the X-Mansion begins, with the soldiers sedating every student they find. However, the plan backfires when Wolverine strikes back and kills a large number of Stryker's men, while Colossus, Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and most of the students escape through a series of hidden tunnels in the school. Wolverine confronts Stryker, who fails to shed any light on his past. Iceman returns, saving Wolverine by creating a wall of ice between him and Stryker, and they both escape through one of the tunnels. Stryker's soldiers had already succeeded in sedating six students and managed to break inside Cerebro.
Impersonating Senator Robert Kelly and Yuriko, Mystique gains information about Magneto's plastic prison and provides a means for him to escape, but also finds a plan about another Cerebro, and learns that Stryker is building a second one. Wolverine, along with Rogue, Iceman and Pyro head to Iceman's (Bobby Drake's) parents' home in Boston, where he reveals his powers to his parents. After a 9-1-1 call from Bobby's jealous brother Ronny, the Boston Police Department arrive just as the group is about to leave. Pyro uses his fire manipulation powers to fend off the police, but gets carried away and is prevented from causing further damage by Rogue.
The X-Jet arrives to pick them up, and they are quickly targeted by two Air Force fighter jets. They manage to force the pilots to eject with the help of Storm and Jean; however, they are hit by a missile which threatens to crash them. Only due to the sudden intervention of Magneto do they survive. The X-Men then team up with Magneto and Mystique. At their camp, Mystique attempts to seduce Logan by taking the form of Jean Grey, although her scars from their previous fight gives her away, leading her to shape shift into Rogue, Storm and then William Stryker. Magneto learns that Stryker orchestrated the attack on the president to confirm an attack on the X-Mansion, and has been experimenting on mutants, using a drug injected directly into the back of the neck to control them. Jean reads Nightcrawler's mind and determines that Stryker's base is located at Alkali Lake, inside the dam where he plans to kill the world's mutants by building a second Cerebro.
Through his son, Jason, Stryker gains control over the Professor. His son is able to project powerful visions in the mind, blinding a person to reality, and through this the Professor is brainwashed to use Cerebro to find and kill all mutants. Mystique is able to infiltrate Stryker's base by impersonating Wolverine. Storm and Nightcrawler search for the kidnapped students. Jean, Magneto, and Mystique are attacked by a brainwashed Cyclops while trying to rescue the Professor and in the process cause damage to the generators that keep the dam from collapsing. The force of Jean's telekinetic blast clashing with Cyclops' optic blast awakens him from his brainwashing, but also cracks the dam due to its strength. Wolverine simultaneously finds Stryker in an adamantium smelting room, where he recovers his memory; 15 years prior, Stryker filled his body with adamantium, but also erased his memory, and he escaped. Stryker himself arrives, along with Yuriko, who is revealed to be Lady Deathstrike. Wolverine manages to defeat Deathstrike and then finds Stryker on a landing pad, where Stryker attempts to bargain Wolverine for his life with stories of his past.
Storm and Nightcrawler find the children and break them out of their cell. Magneto and Mystique manage to kill the rest of Stryker's men by setting off their grenades, and Magneto stops Jason and the Professor before the mutants are killed. While disguised as Stryker, Mystique uses Jason to convince the Professor to kill all humans; she and Magneto, along with their new initiate, Pyro, then use Stryker's helicopter to escape Alkali Lake, chaining Stryker to concrete rubble. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler teleports Storm inside of Cerebro where she creates a snowstorm to free the Professor from his telepathic illusion.
They all then flee the base as water engulfs it, only to discover that Magneto, Mystique, and Pyro—who had earlier been convinced by Magneto to join them—had escaped on the helicopter. Fortunately, Iceman and Rogue arrive with the X-Jet and everyone gets on board. The dam bursts completely, flooding the landscape and killing Stryker. A malfunction aboard the X-Jet prevents it from taking off; Jean sacrifices herself by leaving the jet and creating a telekinetic wall as a shield against the flood. She activates the X-Jet's primary engines before releasing the torrent of water down on herself, presumably killing her.
The X-Men are able to supply the President with files from Stryker's private offices, and the Professor warns him that humans and mutants must work together to build peace or they will destroy each other through war. The next scene returns to the school, with Professor Xavier, Cyclops, and Wolverine talking about Jean's past. They are then interrupted by Colossus and a large number of the students who are supposed to be in Xavier's next class. While they leave, Wolverine tells Cyclops that Jean made a choice and that it was him, which relieves Cyclops a good deal.
The film ends with a voice-over by Jean Grey on the process of evolution (a speech originally made by the Professor in the introduction of the first film). The camera floats over Alkali Lake, showing a vague shape of a 'Phoenix' flying above it, hinting at her survival.
- Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) (first appearance)
- Brotherhood of Mutants
- Colonel William Stryker (first appearance historically) (death)
- Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama) (only appearance) (death)
- Mutant 143 (Jason Stryker) (first appearance historically)
- Xavier's Students
- Mitchell Laurio (only appearance) (death)
- Dr. Shaw (first appearance) (cameo) (computer screen, TV or hologram)
- Dr. Hank McCoy (first appearance historically) (cameo) (computer screen, TV or hologram)
- Madeline Drake (first appearance)
- Ronny Drake (first appearance)
- William Drake (first appearance)
- Mutants in Stryker's Files
- Alison Blaire
- Alpha Flight
- Andrea von Strucker
- Andreas von Strucker
- Angelo Espinosa
- Beta Flight
- Calvin Rankin
- Cecilia Reyes
- Claudette St. Croix
- Nicole St. Croix
- Danger Room
- Danielle Moonstar
- David North
- Department H
- Dr. Nathaniel Essex
- Everett Thomas
- Franklin Richards
- Fred Dukes
- Gamma Flight
- Garrison Kane
- Guido Carsello
- James Madrox
- Jamie Braddock
- Kenuichio Harada
- Kevin MacTaggert
- Kyle Gibney
- Lila Cheney
- Lorna Dane
- Maira Callasantos
- Massachusetts Academy
- Maximoff (2) (Peter Maximoff and Wanda Maximoff)
- (Toad) Mortimer Toynbee
- Muir Island
- Omega Red
- Paige Guthrie
- Project Wideawake
- Project X
- Rahne Sinclair
- (Gambit) Remy LeBeau
- Robert da Costa
- Ruth Bat-Seraph
- Salem Center
- Samuel Guthrie
- (Banshee) Sean Cassidy
- Shiro Yoshida
- Tom Cassidy
- Vanessa Carlyse
- (Sabretooth) Victor Creed
- Wade Wilson
- Xi'an Coy Mahn
- Zero Tolerance
- Patrick Stewart - Professor Charles Xavier
- Hugh Jackman - Logan / Wolverine
- Ian McKellen - Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
- Halle Berry - Ororo Munroe / Storm
- Famke Janssen - Jean Grey
- James Marsden - Scott Summers / Cyclops
- Anna Paquin - Marie / Rogue
- Rebecca Romijn-Stamos - Raven Darkholme / Mystique
- Brian Cox - Colonel William Stryker
- Alan Cumming - Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler
- Bruce Davison - Sentor Robert Kelly
- Shawn Ashmore - Bobby Drake / Iceman
- Aaron Stanford - John Allerdyce / Pyro
- Kelly Hu - Deathstrike
- Katie Stuart - Kitty Pryde
- Daniel Cudmore - Peter Rasputin / Colossus
- Michael Reid McKay - Jason Stryker / Mutant 143
- Kea Wong - Jubilation Lee
- Shauna Kain - Theresa Rourke
Although the character of Senator Robert Kelly was killed in the first film, Bruce Davison reprised the role for scenes where Mystique uses his persona to infiltrate the government. Also, Katie Stuart appeared as Kitty Pryde, a girl who can walk through walls, Bryce Hodgson as Artie, Kea Wong as Jubilee and Shauna Kain as Siryn, who is able to emit loud screams that alert the students to Stryker's attack. Also in the final scene with Xavier, a girl is seen dressed in a Native American style jacket, as well as a blond haired boy dressed in blue, played by Layke Anderson. These were confirmed to be Danielle Moonstar and Douglas Ramsey. Daniel Cudmore appeared as Peter Rasputin / Colossus. Cudmore was set to use a Russian accent, but Singer dropped the idea for unknown reasons, and onset rewrites minimized the character's importance to a cameo.
Jubilee, Psylocke and Multiple Man were to have cameos for the scene when Stryker and his troops storm the X-Mansion. Beast, Gambit and Marrow were to have appearances during the Dark Cerebro sequence. Gambit's cameo was actually shot, but the footage was not used in the final cut. Beast's scene was to show Dr. Hank McCoy transforming into his notable blue fur while Marrow was to be seen lying on a ground in New York City. Hank McCoy appears on a television during the scene where Mystique drugs Magneto's prison guard. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the film's writers, cameo in scenes of Wolverine's Weapon X flashbacks as surgeons. Brian Singer, the film's director, cameos as a security guard in a scene where Professor X and Cyclops go to see Magneto. Shaquille O'Neal wanted a role in the film but was ignored by the filmmakers.
X2 opened in America on May 2, 2003.
X2 was released on DVD in widescreen and full frame formats in 2003. The two-disc DVD includes over three hours of special features:
- The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men: Making X2 documentary
- 11 featurettes
- Nightcrawler Attack: Interactive multi-angle Scene Study
- 11 deleted and extended scenes
- Galleries: characters, locations and sets, mutant X-rays, Nightcrawler circus posters, on-camera graphics, the unseen X2
- Theatrical trailers
- Audio commentary by director Bryan Singer and cinematographer Tom Sigel
- Audio commentary by producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, and writers Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter
- History of the X-Men featurettes
- Pre-production, production and post-production featurettes
- Deleted scenes
- Behind the scenes still galleries
X2 was also released on Blu-ray, and in addition, was released as a Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy combo in 2011 with special features.