Patrick Stewart (Professor X) and his X-Men — led by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine — are back in “X2,”  where the stakes are raised when a government agent has used a mutant to attack the White House in order for the president of the U.S. to approve of harsher methods to reign in the freedoms of mutants.   With that “false flag” operation bearing fruit, the U.S. military sends in troops to Stewart’s mansion to remove, question, detain, and possibly torture and kill the mutants who live there; and to use Stewart’s very powerful computer called Cerebro to kill every mutant on the planet.

We are treated to a very suspenseful and infuriating sequence where the military tranquilizes every child mutant they see, while Jackman — the only adult mutant at the mansion — goes into berserker mode as he stabs, cuts and slices the soldiers to give the children time to escape.  Unfortunately, the slicing and dicing isn’t gruesome or bloody, thanks to the PG-13 rating.  All X-Men movies should be rated R, damn the kids!  Anyway…we see a few future X-Men using their powers to get away from the enemy, such as Colossus, a large mutant who can turn his body into steel; and his transformation into his metal body is one of my most memorable, movie moment of “X2.”  It was a shot that lasted only a couple of seconds, but for an X-Men fan, it was a very nice surprise to see one of the more favorite characters of the X-Men world.

With the mansion completely taken over by the U.S. military, Jackman and a few other mutants are on the run, trying to find the other X-Men who are on various missions.  Eventually the X-Men, with the help of Ian McKellen (mutant Magneto), locate a secret, underground, military base that the mutant children have been taken to.  The X-Men and “evil” mutants unite in order to storm the base and rescue the children.  But McKellen has an ulterior motive for joining the X-Men, one that will destroy all humans and bring a quick end to the mutant/human war.

“X-2” is one of those rare, second movie in a series that is better than its predecessor.   Not much better, but better.  The story is more interesting, and the pacing is faster.  Of course, I still feel that this movie doesn’t do justice to the X-Men of the comics; but I found myself more entertained with this second movie than I was with the first.

Oh, I almost forgot.  My most memorable, movie moment of “X2″…that would be the scene when McKellen escapes his plastic and glass prison.   SPOILER ALERT here.  McKellen senses one of the guards has too much iron in his blood, so he extracts the iron through the man’s skin, producing thousands of tiny wounds that make the guard bleed out.  The microscopic iron float like a cloud in front of McKellen, who fashions them into 3 ball bearings that he uses to destroy his prison and kill the other guards.   That was a frightening and cool scene!

Which group of mutants would I join?  Stewart and his X-Men, or McKellen and his Brotherhood of Mutants?   None of the above.  Both groups have good and bad aspects to them, and rather than conform to any group’s ideals which I do not completely share, I’d rather be by myself.  Plus I don’t like taking orders, anyway.