X2: X-Men United (2003)



Critic Consensus: Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor -- and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.

Movie Info

When a failed assassination attempt occurs on the President's (Cotter Smith) life by the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), it's Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his School for Gifted Youngsters who are targeted for the crime. While Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Storm (Halle Berry) try and locate the assassin, Cyclops (James Marsden) and Xavier (also known as 'Professor X') seek answers from their old foe Magneto (Ian McKellan) in his glass cell...Little do they know they're … More

Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality and brief language)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Dan Harris, Michael Dougherty, Daniel Harris, David Hayter, Bryan Singer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 25, 2003
Box Office: $214.8M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


as Wolverine

as Magneto

as Jean Grey

as William Stryker

as Nightcrawler

as Senator Kelly

as Yuriko Oyama

as Kitty Pryde

as Professor Charles Xa...

as President McKenna

as Little Girl 143

as Jubilee

as Steven Drake

as Madeline Drake

as Ronny Drake

as Mitchell Laurio

as Museum Teenager No. ...

as Museum Teenager No. ...

as Cop No. 1

as Cop No. 2

as Plastic Prison Guard

as Federal Building Cle...

as Federal Building Cle...

as Stryker Soldier Lyma...

as Stryker Soldier Smit...

as Stryker Soldier No. ...

as Stryker Soldier No. ...

as Stryker Soldier Wilk...

as TV Host

as Dr. Hank McCoy

as White House Agent

as Oval Office Agent Ca...

as Oval Office Agent Fa...

as White House Checkpoi...

as White House Tour Gui...

as News Reporter

as News Reporter

as News Reporter

as News Reporter

as Stryker Soldier

as Stryker Soldier

as Stryker at Age 40

as Augmentation Room Do...

as Special Ops Agent

as F-16 Fighter Pilot

as Chief of Staff Abrah...

as Loading Bay Stryker ...

as Loading Bay Stryker ...

as President's Secretar...

as Steven Drake
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for X2: X-Men United

All Critics (224) | Top Critics (45)

There's little zest, less grace and, particularly in the writing, no creative spark to ignite the imagination.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

The plotting seems dangerously self-interested, being concerned almost exclusively with the survival of the mutants themselves, and, behind the succulent effects, the tone is oddly hectoring.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Bigger and more ambitious in every respect, from its action and visceral qualities to its themes.

Full Review… | April 15, 2009
Top Critic

The emotional spectrum has widened, too, encompassing buoyant mirth and heroic tragedy.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Bigger and badder than No. 1, but still a blast.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

'X' hits the spot.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Big Picture Big Sound

Audience Reviews for X2: X-Men United

X2: X-Men United not only improves on its predecessor in every way, it creates a stunning universe populated with incredible characters. Everything I loved about the original is here while its missteps have been corrected. This is truly a great film and one of the best sequels in recent memory. It begins with an incredible effects display as Nightcrawler takes out a whole security team. Then it builds on its story, tying in Wolverine's past with a psychotic military general set to eradicate mutants off the planet with an ingenious and diabolical scheme.
The action has been kicked up a few notches, complete with plane chases, sieges, and a Wolvering vs Lady Deathstrike fight that is just outstanding. With so many characters to follow it would have been easy to stumble with development. But every character has his or her own conflict to deal with, and it is resolved by the end. The film juggles its side plots incredibly well, even giving the villain a moment for us to sympathize. Expertly crafted to a fault, X2 is the X-Men franchise at its peak, in hopes that future installments will continue to amaze me the way this one has.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


So Toad and Sabretooth are dead and buried then it seems, guess they weren't that popular huh. Not surprising seeing as they were the worse characters from the last film. So after the unexpected smash of the original film we got this sequel adding more characters, more effects and a bit more much needed action.

Moving on from the first film we discover now that Magneto has been tortured into giving up vital information about Xavier's school for mutants by the nasty new bad guy William Stryker. Stryker and his team capture Xavier and plan to create another Cerebro so they can brainwash Xavier into wiping out all the mutants of the world with his mental powers. Now is the time...the X-Men and Magneto's naughty mutants must join forces to save all mutant kind.

Everything kicks off nicely with the cool introduction of new character Nightcrawler, who is performed with a likeable heartfelt sincere persona by Alan Cumming. Its a good start to the film because not only do we get a slick sexy 'Matrix' style ass-kicking sequence courtesy of the Crawler, but this guy looks good, he's accurate to the source material and simply feels very fresh and original especially with that German accent. The one thing I don't get about this guy is the fact he can only teleport when he can see where's he's teleporting too. Surely when you teleport to anywhere you can't see where your going right? so what difference does it make?

This film clearly tries for the 'Empire' tone by making everything quite dark with lots of pending doom and gloom. As we all know the film also ends on a downer with major character Jean Grey kicking the bucket, new boy Pyro switching to the dark side and Wolverine discovering some of his bleak past plus having to fight another similar mutant. In general the whole team are feeling like shit come the end of the day plus they no longer appear to be safe in their 'Wayne Manor-esque' home.

But not only this we also get a much more violent film than the safe fast cut first flick. When Styker's men storm Xavier's mutant school armed to the teeth with automatic weapons we see Wolverine tear into some real hack n slash action as he rampages through the building slicing n dicing soldiers left right and centre (finally!). We also see a hint of mutant power from some younger students at the same time. Of course there is no blood or guts anywhere in the film but we do see Wolverine piling into bad guys impaling them pretty good with no cuts. This sequence to me shows another possible Nazi angle again as a community of 'different' people are invaded, rounded up and taken away from their home by armed soldiers, not even women and children are left.

I liked how the story develops Pyro Iceman and Rogue together as they come to terms with their powers plus adolescence. The scene where Iceman outs himself to his parents is a cute scene with very real message which some folk will relate to. Some nice little touches of humour admittedly but its all very tame and easy going. The fact Iceman is obviously the good guy and Pyro is obviously the quick tempered bad guy feels a bit too simple, amazed one isn't wearing blue and the other red whilst fighting over Rogue. I didn't really like the inclusion of Lady Deathstrike though, she felt unnecessary and merely there just for a showdown with Wolverine at the end...which she ultimately was as she did nothing else the entire time. She's in and out quick, a sidekick that's killed off neatly, only there for the visuals and adding to the character roster. The fight was also completely lacking in any excitement because we know neither of these characters can be hurt, this being a problem with these films at times, invincible people fighting each other.

Although I must admit I liked the concept of Stryker using his mutant son to control other mutants with a serum from his brain and the fact he induces Xavier into almost killing off everyone. OK sure the fact they managed to built another Cerebro seemed far fetched as I thought that was a special contraption that only Xavier and Magneto could devise but none the less it worked.

I don't deny the film is dark but maybe it tries a little too hard? I'm not trying to nit pick but it does feel a bit forced especially when Grey didn't really have to die as far as I can tell. The jet wouldn't start due to a malfunction, so Grey goes outside and protects the jet from the tidal wave of water whilst using her powers to start up the jet. Why didn't she just start the jet up from inside or am I missing something here? I think I am missing something aren't I...??? Anyway it kinda felt odd that she dies in this way as if to try and create this iconic emotional death which I didn't really feel, it just seemed like a daft waste (and to kick start the Phoenix plot).

Everything does feel a bit clockwork to be honest, there aren't any major surprises really (you can see things a mile off) but none the less it does hold your attention to the end. The visuals are on the whole much smoother and glossier than the first film, the actors are really getting into their respective roles, multiple characters are handled well by Singer and the film is also a highly positive encouraging shout out for gay people, teens, underachievers, outcasts, bullied people and any minorities on the whole. Although I still don't get how that highly advanced metal detector that scanned everything on and in the human body didn't pick up all that iron in the guards bloodstream, oh well.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


More super heroes. More action. More ambitious. More fun.

Nikhil N.
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

X2: X-Men United Quotes

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– Submitted by Ben W (2 years ago)

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