“X2: X-Men United” was directed by Bryan Singer, who directed the previous film and also co wrote the story. A majority of the main cast have all returned for the sequel including Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Jansson, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin & Shawn Ashmore. New cast members include Brian Cox, Alan Cummings, Aaron Sanford, Kelly Hu and Daniel Cudmore. Despite his character being killed in the previous film, Bruce Davidson reprises his role as well as “Senator Robert Kelly”.
After an attack on the White House by a brainwashed mutant, the Government gives military scientist, William Stryker (Cox) permission to investigate a private school that holds mutants. Meanwhile, Logan (Jackman) returns back to the Mansion. While Cyclops (Marsden) and Professor Xavier (Stewart) are off to visit Magneto (McKellan) to see if he knows about the White House attack, Storm (Berry) and Jean Grey (Jansson) have located the brainwashed mutant, a teleported named Kurt Wagner, codenamed Nightcrawler (Cummings). Logan is left to watch the house and the children. That night, the mansion is attack by Stryker and his men. While Colossus (Cudmore), manages to rescue most of the children, some are taken away. Logan is stunned when he comes face to face with Stryker who refers to him as Wolverine. Stryker informs him that he knows a lot about Logan’s past. Logan escapes with Rogue (Paquin), Iceman (Ashmore) and Pyro (Stanford). Cyclops and Xavier are attacked and captured by Stryker’s assassin, Lady Deathstrike (Hu). While Logan his group are trying to find Storm and Jean, Magneto is freed by Mystique (Romijn-Stamos). Now, in order save Xavier, Cyclops and the other children mutants, the X-Men must do the unthinkable and joins forces with Magneto to stop Stryker from destroying all mutants.
This was great film. The way they added more characters and gave more depth to already established characters like Wolverine and Iceman was incredible. This was by far the best film of the original trilogy. Great performances from the new cast like Cox and Cummings. Although some fan favorites were left out such as Beast, Gambit and Quicksilver, what we got here was too good to pass up or change. My complaint with this film would have to be the some of best characters from this film were no longer used like Lady Deathstrike or downgraded completely like Nightcrawler. These characters are great here but not used properly or even at all elsewhere.
After the success of “X2”, Fox released the third and final chapter in this trilogy in 2006. “X-Men: The Last Stand” was major disappointment but that kind of stems from a major changes in direction, tone and writing. 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was supposed to kick off a series of spin offs films for other characters like Storm and Magneto but after that also bombed, plans changed. The Magneto origin story was then changes into what would become 2011’s “X-Men: First Class”, a prequel to the original trilogy. It would also start a new prequel trilogy as 2014’s “Days of Future Past”, 2016’s “Apocalypse” and 2018’s “Dark Phoenix” would all serve as prequels to the original trilogy but would eventually mess the entire timeline up. Spin off such as 2013’s “The Wolverine” would have call backs to “The Last Stand”. 2020’s “The New Mutants” was the last “X-Men” film that Fox would ever make before they were purchased by Disney. Who knows what will happen with the X-Men going forward but one thing is for sure, “X2” is definitely in the top 5 of superhero sequels and X-Men films.