X2: does everyone have blue skin now, or is it just me?
So Friday, I finally got around to seeing X-Men 2 with Marcus.
I really liked it, I actually found it far more cohesive than the first film and the plot was much less silly – though still terribly comic-book (what else was it ever going to be?). I did like the fact that this the X-Men/Magneto’s Brotherhood factions had an enemy in common, but the way they responded to that threat remained quite different. The set-up of the Phoenix storyline for X3 wasn’t bad, with the combination of Jean Gray’s (Famke Janssen) apparent hike in power-levels and self-sacrificing presumed death. (Has anyone in the action genre ever died by drowning, ever?)
Alan Cumming turned in a credible and engaging Nightcrawler, and the religious overtones to his character were far more sympathetic than the comic-book pre-Chandler-Bing wise guy routine. The selection of biblical quotes and corny dialogue about “faith” could have been better chosen, though. (And the much trumpeted Wolverine/Lady Deathstrike fight scene just didn’t live up to Nightcrawler’s raid on the Whitehouse, but at least no-one on screen mentioned "Lady Deathstrike" by that name).
I must say I found the blossoming Rogue (Anna Paquin)/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) romance rather touching; and the subtexts to the Magneto (Ian McKellen)/ Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) relationship just get more interesting (she has utter confidence in him, he sees her as semi-dispensable).
Among the many things Marcus and I agreed on was that Cyclops (James Marsden) remains a complete embarrassment. I mean, Cyclops always is, has been and will be – but it’s bizarre that his complete lack of charisma translates so well to screen. I think the answer in the end is simple: we just can’t see his eyes or eyebrows – eliminate those and all empathy with a character is gone. The actor is just reduced to pouty over-acting with their lower face. Although maybe that's all Marsden is capable of, hard to tell.
And yes, this is another film that confirms Ian McKellan is simply a god.
PS Is it just me, or was the grimy, slimy industrial-chic gloom of the villain's underground lair just a trifle overdone? (And when will goons learn not to carry grenades when you're up against a guy with magnetic powers? Stoopid, stoopid military goons.)