X2 is maybe the most important superhero film of the century. The first X-Men and the first Spider-Man proved movies could replicate the magic of comics. X2 proved movies could surpass them, as in incredible sequences like Nightcrawler’s White House siege, which not only recreated the character’s signature teleporting but made it look cooler in fluid motion than it ever could as a bunch of static panels on a page. The dam that bursts in the movie’s climax is like the proverbial floodgates opening as the Hollywood Superhero Gold Rush truly begins. Nothing was the same after X2.
My only quibbles: As fun as Brian Cox is in the role, Stryker is a fairly one-dimensional villain. And the more years that go by, the more it’s clear it was a huge mistake to put the characters in Matrix black leather rather than do timeless interpretations of their costumes. Just let them be superheroes! Own it.