In 2003 the highly anticipated sequel to the 2000 release of X-Men kicked off the summer box office. It features the return of familiar faces from the first movie. It also introduces audiences to new villains and members of the X-Men. One is Nightcrawler who gets a fight scene in the opening minutes of the movie.
The movie tells the story of an attempt on the President of the United States. The media digs into the speculation that the mutants were involved. Mystique, who disguises herself as Senator Robert Kelly, would infiltrate an office to uncover a secret facility that is replicating Professor Xavier’s Cerebro.
The movie’s villain, Col. William Stryker, is behind the project. He launched a military raid to capture the mutants living in Professor Xavier’s mansion. Only four would escape regrouping with others. One of them is Wolverine who ran into Stryker. It would later be revealed that he created Wolverine in the Weapon X project. Stryker’s goal in this project is to capture Charles Xavier and use him to kill all the mutants with the help of his son, Jason who controlled Nightcrawler in the attack at the White House. He intends to do the same with Professor Xavier.
As Logan and the escapees of the mansion raid regroup with Storm, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler in Boston, they would form an unlikely alliance with Magneto and Mystique. They each head to Alkali Lake in Alberta where Logan (Wolverine) originally visits but found nothing.
The mixed team together rescues the captured mutants, defeats Stryker and Lady Deathstrike, and destroys the secret base.
The movie is a marked improvement from its prequel in many ways. Some themes stood out from the movie.
Forming Good Friendships
The movie saw two sets of friendships in the movie. We continue to see the friendship between Rogue and Logan being nurtured. The bigger one was that of Storm and Nightcrawler. The two heroes meet in an abandoned church (fitting for Nightcrawler’s character). They discuss faith and even team up to save Professor Xavier. The development stuck true to that of the comics.
Never Stop Seeking the Truth
Another storyline that emerged in the movie is Logan getting the answers about who he is and the events at Alkali Lake. He was even advised by Professor Xavier to let the mind discover things for itself. In the end, Logan learned the truth about his past.
For the X-Men, they also uncovered the truth behind the plot to assassinate the president. While it was easy to point fingers at their main nemesis Magneto, they knew that he couldn’t do it as he was incarcerated.
The X-Men even used it as a chance to help the president understand what happened and the culprits while pleading for humans and mutants to work together for peace.
Using Our Talents and Abilities for Greater Good
The X-Men comics can tell a lot about how to use our abilities right and not to use them. One character named Pyro uses his abilities to control flames to inflict harm on someone at the food court. Yet he uses it to protect his fellow team members while in danger.
Jean Grey was another character in the movie that stood out in the use of her abilities. In the movie, she struggled to focus as her telepathy was out of sync. She was able to use it to save everyone from imminent danger as she sacrificed herself to save everyone.
This sequel is one of the best. It has good development for each of the major characters and a good pace.
It still stands out after 20 years.