Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 3 out of 37
  1. 89
    An altogether more viscerally engaging film, from its relentless pacing and slam-bang effects work to the fine, appropriately heroic score by John Ottman. That the movie has an obvious gay subtext neither adds nor detracts from the film’s smashing popcorn appeal.
  2. 88
    Captures the feel of a first-rate comic book. It puts the pop back into Pop Art: It blows viewers away with a blast of kinetic energy.
  3. 63
    It's scenic, confidently directed and performed, dutiful, faithful, revelatory, informative, and largely involving. Rarely, however, is it any fun.
  4. A follow-up with as much artistic integrity, complexity, humor and well-designed action as the original.
  5. 70
    As in the first movie, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are trotted out periodically to add a little gravitas.
  6. 75
    Perhaps in the next generation a mutant will appear named Scribbler, who can write a better screenplay for them.
  7. This movie lets the characters and tropes borrowed from the original Stan Lee comic live and breathe.
  8. A diverting mix of insight and spectacle, human and superhuman. This machine is built for kids, but rarely do words like "noble," "Hollywood" and "rawkin'" all apply to one movie.
  9. X2 sparkles with a lightness of spirit that was missing from ''X-Men.''
  10. Reviewed by: Jim Agnew
    What the movie needs more than anything is a script. The story is very disappointing and near the end, things start to get weirder and weirder.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Singer's approach to X2 is very much of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school, resulting in a movie that, even at its best -- a thrilling jailbreak scene that's the closest thing in either X movie to a rousing set piece -- seems tame and unmemorable.
  12. Brisk and involving with a streamlined forward propulsion, it's the kind of superhero movie we want if we have to have superhero movies at all.
  13. 75
    A sleek, rousing contraption, a comic-book movie with a sense of playfulness, a welcome streak of humor and just the right touch of gravity.
  14. A substantial improvement over "X-Men," in many ways, especially in visual and specialeffects departments.
  15. The best new addition to the corp is Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler.
  16. 75
    As irresistible as movie-theater popcorn - a lavish, reasonably intelligent, well-acted sequel with kick-butt effects that outdoes its predecessor, 2000's "X-Men," in almost every department.
  17. As it is, most of X2's action is restricted to the Northeast Corridor, with a climactic face-off in the western Rockies, where, in typical blockbuster fashion, everything goes kablooey and ka-bam.
  18. 67
    An engaging spectacle of energy and special effects built around a doomy mood and an ensemble cast vigorously pursuing a story line that isn't nearly as snazzy as the dressing.
  19. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    One of the things that makes this movie such a great rush is that while you’re watching it, it seems a good deal more subversive than it really is.
  20. 75
    Visually, X2 is a sight to behold, with impressive special effects and a dynamic sense of place.
  21. 75
    A summer firecracker. It's also a tribute to outcasts -- teens, gays, minorities, even Dixie Chicks. It's not without thought or feeling, except when its mind gets bent by the gods of box office. Then it's craven and empty.
  22. 70
    In some ways, X2 is an obvious improvement on its predecessor: It looks more expensive, and its special effects seem to swoop out of nowhere...But "X-Men" was undoubtedly the most elegiac comic-book adaptation of the past few years.
  23. The movie is overplotted, a soulless maze of special effects and relentless action.
  24. It also boosts the punch of the movie that so many of its action scenes evoke the Iraqi War news footage of the past month, and the "X-Men" premise -- people persecuted because their difference makes them seem threatening -- carries even more relevancy and weight than it did three years ago.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    My chief complaint is that these mutants are a little--well, vanilla. I wish the X-Men had a touch of kinkiness to go with their weird abilities.
  26. 80
    Directed with depth, efficiency, and wit by Bryan Singer, the film suffered only from a tendency to seem like a setup for an even bigger movie...Fortunately, bigger usually equals better here, and when it doesn't, it equals just as good.
  27. There's a continuing delicacy to [Singer's] direction that gives the audience room to breathe and reason to linger. This may not be a grownup movie but -- unlike the Star Wars franchise or the Batman sequels -- it is a movie that grownups can watch minus the requisite bottle of Excedrin.
  28. Mr. Singer and his collaborators grasp that comic books, for all their obligatory fights and explosions, are at bottom about their brave, troubled, impossibly muscled characters.
  29. 60
    There are simply too many characters to get a handle on, and the sheer proliferation of special effects offers Singer a license so unfettered that most of the mutants act not according to their natures but purely on the ground of what, at that juncture, looks most groovy. [12 May 2003, p. 82]
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Wants to contain multitudes -- high ideals and high tech, the poignant and the silly. Doing so, it becomes a lexicon of modern filmmaking. It could be its own creature: Super-Generico. That's not the worst thing for a movie to be, but it's not quite Marvel-ous either.
  31. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    The combat visuals that follow are as powerful as those of any war film.
  32. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The longer the movie goes, the more its 133 minutes prove wearing. The story tries to develop a love angle between Jackman and Janssen, but it doesn't begin to take. And the finale is particularly weak.
  33. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    About twice as good as the original...bigger and more ambitious in every respect, from its action and visceral qualities to its themes.
  34. 80
    Funny, reasonably crazy, and unpretentiously faithful to its source.
  35. All the same, X2 and recent action adventures like it constitute a mutation in their own right: fast-paced, slow-witted movies in which the impact is the message; impersonal movies that deny any need for characterization; disjointed movies that make no apologies -- and pay no penalties -- for making no sense. Their special gift is giving little and getting a lot.
  36. The fantastic and at times deliciously nihilistic world of X2 is fully, believably three-dimensional.
  37. Of the many comic book superhero movies, this is by far the lamest, the loudest, the longest. Good Lord, what an epic sit. My rear end deserves a medal...I wish I could say it wasn't so, but for most of us, this "X" marks a splat.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 334 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 103
  2. Negative: 3 out of 103
  1. MatthewL.
    Mar 14, 2004
    Excellent, better than the first film...
  2. Sep 21, 2011
    "X2" is a rare movie that bests its prequel "X Men" with stunning visuals, violent but watchable fighting sequences, and its ability to add"X2" is a rare movie that bests its prequel "X Men" with stunning visuals, violent but watchable fighting sequences, and its ability to add new characters and develop their own stories. Full Review »
  3. Jul 29, 2013
    Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor and a benchmark forTightly 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. Full Review »