Follow TV Tropes


Film / X2: X-Men United

Go To
"Mutants. Since their discovery, they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, often hatred. Across the planet, debate rages: Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain, or simply a new species of humanity, fighting for their share of the world? Either way, it is an historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity's defining attribute."

The second movie in the X-Men Film Series after X-Men, X2: X-Men United (sometimes promoted as just X2) involves mutants who are being mind-controlled somehow, starting with Nightcrawler attempting to assassinate the President; government operatives then kidnap Cyclops and Professor X.

The X-Men investigate and find out that the two are related: the soldiers are under the command of Col. William Stryker (Brian Cox), who is using a mutant to project false images into other mutants' minds. By brain-washing Professor X into overpowering the "Cerebro" telepathy machine, he intends to kill all currently-living mutants. Magneto and his Brotherhood Of Mutants ally with the X-Men to stop this from happening (hence the subtitle of the movie: "X2: X-Men United"). Meanwhile, Wolverine delves into his past involvement with the "Weapon X" project, which (of course) Stryker was in charge of.

Not to be confused with the series of sci-fi videogames by the name X, whose second entry is entitled X2.

Followed by X-Men: The Last Stand.

X2: X-Men United contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

     A - H 
  • Abusive Parents: William Stryker lobotomized his mutant son Jason and reduced him to a wheelchair-bound source of mind control serum. He even stops referring to his son by name, calling him "Mutant 143." Xavier is horrified that William would do this to his own son, but William claims that his son is already dead, just like the rest of mutantkind.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Bobby Drake's strained relationship with his family after he reveals to them that he's a mutant provides some dramatic heft to the story.
  • Actionized Sequel: X-Men had a few fight scenes, but much of the screen time was devoted to explaining mutants and setting up the character relationships. This film, however, had several fight scenes and let Wolverine really cut loose.
  • Action Prologue: The film opens up with a prolonged action scene where Nightcrawler defeats all security forces within the White House all by himself.
  • Actor Allusion: Brian Cox is responsible for creating an amnesiac killing machine, something he also did in The Long Kiss Goodnight. He also is implied to drown when the dam collapses. In the latter film his character is last seen dead underwater.
  • Adaptational Nationality:
    • The Australian Saint-John (pronounced "SIN-jin" in Commonwealth countries) Allerdyce from the comics has been adapted to an American without the "Saint" in his given name.
    • Colossus also appears to have gone from Russian to American.
  • Adaptational Super Power Change: In the comics, Nightcrawler teleports to the Hell dimension (where his Dad is from) then back to the world in the location he wants to be. In this movie, he pretty clearly dissolves into particles that relocate and then reform into him.
  • Aerial Canyon Chase: Lacking a conveniently placed canyon with which to perform this, Storm uses her weather manipulating powers to create one from tornadoes, giving the X-Men a chance to escape. It has the added benefit of making sure the inevitable crashes aren't actually fatal for their pursuers, but also the downside of allowing a clean missile lock.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Halfway through her death scene, the mind-control serum wears off and Deathstrike is allowed a few tragic seconds of clarity to realize where she is and what's happened to her; the look on her face says it all.
    • Just before getting out of the second Cerebro, Xavier looks sadly at the lobotomised Jason, clearly regretting the way the boy ended up.
  • The All-Solving Hammer: Magneto accuses Wolverine of this mentality when discussing how to work the spillway mechanism.
    Magneto: What do you intend to do? Scratch it with your claws?
  • All There in the Script: The movie never namedrops "Lady Deathstrike," although she is called Yuriko and she's still called Deathstrike in the promotional material.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Colonel Stryker's forces take over the X-Men mansion.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Stryker claims that he and Wolverine were partners before Wolverine lost his memory.
    Stryker: You were always an animal, Wolverine. I just gave you claws.
  • And I Must Scream: Stryker's mind control serum makes the victim obedient, but their real self is still in there, fully aware and incapable of controlling their own body. Look at the sheer horror on Deathstrike's face when the serum controlling her briefly wears off. Particularly when she looks at her hands and remembers the pain of being bonded with adamantium, likely because she was being controlled during that, as well. Scott similarly tells Jean he couldn't stop himself from trying to kill her. Or the way Magneto painfully tells Charles that Striker made Magneto tell him "everything" about Charles and the school.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology:
    • When discussing the mutant gene, Pyro says that it is passed on by males. If the gene was on the Y chromosome, then there would be no female mutants. Then again, no one states the mutant gene is specifically in the Y chromosome. John isn't exactly studious, though, so this can be Hand Waved as him making up a lie just to irritate Mr. Drake.
    • The iron injected into the prison guard wouldn't have gone unnoticed, least of all by the guard himself. Iron infusions have a high risk of anaphylactic shock, so the amount of iron Mystique injects should have produced near instant symptoms, followed by death. Also, the body tends to bind iron with other substances in the body, and once that happens, it becomes so unmagnetic that if Magneto was powerful enough to remove it, he wouldn't actually need it as the plastic of his prison would be more magnetic.
  • Artistic License – Military: During the dogfight scene, the Air Force F-16 pilots order the X-Men to divert their plane to Hanscom Air Force Base. Hanscom Air Force Base is a non-flying base that doesn't have a runway. Planes use nearby Hanscom Field, which is a civilian air port. Plus, the military pilots fire their missiles at the X-Men's plane. Military pilots cannot fire their weapons over the territory of the United States without express permission from the President. This happens so often in fiction it practically deserves its own separate trope.
  • Ascended Extra: Bobby gets more screen time and a small arc in this compared to the previous film. Ditto for Pyro, who was a literal extra in this and now has an expanded role.
  • Asshole Victim: Mitchell Laurio. He's a thug who's shown to enjoy beating up an old man stripped of any powers that would allow him to fight back, so no one minds too much when Mystique sets him up for a death allowing Magneto to escape.
  • As You Know: Stryker lectures Wolverine about the handling of adamantium only to add that Wolverine knows that already.
    Striker: The tricky thing about adamantium is that if you ever manage to process its raw, liquid form, you gotta keep it that way. Keep it hot. Because once the metal cools, it's indestructible. But you already know that.
  • Director Vocabulary Calendar: For a laugh, watch the director's commentary some time and take a swig each time Bryan says "ultimately." If you make it all the way through, your liver will never recover.
  • Badass Bystander: One of the random kids at the school turns out to be Siryn. When the spooks invade the school, she starts screaming and everyone in the entire building starts bleeding from the ears. Likewise when the soldiers first attack, Shadowcat is shown phasing through her bed and the wall to quickly escape the soldiers on her own.
  • Badass Teacher:
    • At the end of X-Men, Magneto asks Xavier what happens when someone finds out about his mutant school, and Xavier replies that he has a great deal of pity for anyone who comes to the school looking for trouble. In this movie, he's proven right, when Wolverine kills a lot of black ops soldiers very efficiently and violently, plus Colossus hits a couple.
    • Although Professor X was probably referring to himself, since Stryker's forces only attacked when they knew that Xavier wasn't there, having incapacitated him first. Xavier also claims that if he wanted to, he could make Wolverine spend the rest of his life believing he was a "six-year-old girl with pigtails," simply for ignoring his rules about no smoking in the mansion! He was joking that time, but imagine the carnage Xavier could cause if he ever got downright furious?! note .
  • Bait the Dog: Magneto and the Brotherhood team up with the X-Men in an Enemy Mine battle against a racist, genocidal military colonel. Magneto's more or less leading a rescue mission to save Professor Xavier, and the two teams fight together so well (the movie's even subtitled "X-Men United") that you can't help but cheer him on and start to wonder if, all things considered, he's really such a bad guy. And then he proceeds to remind the audience that yes, he really is a villain, when instead of rescuing him, he tries to use the captive, brainwashed Xavier to kill every non-mutant on Earth.
  • Beam-O-War: Jean Grey used the shield variation against Cyclops' eye beams while he is mind-controlled. This is used to show how much stronger Jean Grey is here than she was in the first film.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • William Stryker has the classic villainous goatee.
    • Mitchell Laurio may be more on the 'asshole' side rather than the 'genocidal' side, but there's no denying he's an unshaven sadist.
  • Bed Trick: Mystique shape shifts into Jean Grey in an attempt to sleep with Logan. One could probably say it was subverted, since Logan found out pretty much in the first minute when he felt a scar he previously had left on Mystique. The novelization claims he identified her by scent before she even entered his tent, but he played along until he got bored/annoyed/angry, it's not especially clear which.
  • Beeping Computers: Lots of beeping sounds can be heard when Mystique breaks into Stryker's office and skims through the documents on his computer.
  • Beneath Notice: Mystique disguises herself as a janitor. In fairness, it was the building's actual janitor. People could have easily mistaken her for the janitor they knew, although it does cause the real one to do a Double Take when he sees her.
  • Big Bad: Colonel William Stryker, who subjects Magneto to Cold-Blooded Torture and learns about Xavier and the Cerebro in the process. He then orchestrates a terrorist attack on the White House to induce mutant-hating hysteria on the country leaders, securing himself funds to create a duplicate of the Cerebro, which he intends to use to wipe out every mutant in the world. Ironically,in the final act, Magneto hijacks and alters Stryker's machine to propel his own ideal of eradicating mankind.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • When Rogue and Bobby are cornered by two members of the SWAT team, Wolverine comes in flying and helps them escape the school.
    • Magneto, of all people, when the Blackbird is about to crash into the forest.
    • When our heroes need to get away from the bursting damn but the helicopter is gone, Rogue gets her big entrance as she pilots the Blackbird into view to pick up the team.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Kurt occasionally lapses into his native German.
  • Blatant Lies: Bobby Drake presents Wolverine to his parents (who think he's been attending a normal prep school) as "Professor Logan." This in itself is borderline, but when the Drakes ask Wolverine what he teaches, he replies tersely, "Art." The trailers for the film played this to maximum effect by intercutting the question and the response with a shot of Logan, claws extended, screaming and leaping towards the camera. Also on the part of the trigger-happy cops who claim they don't want to hurt the mutants right after shooting Wolverine in the head.
  • Blessed with Suck: Jones can change television channels by blinking, but he never sleeps.
  • Blood Iron: Magneto escapes his prison by ripping the iron out of a guard's blood and fashioning it into a couple of pellets. Most of it is an iron solution Mystique injected into the guy earlier, but some would have been his own.
  • Bloodless Carnage: This is in full force, where Wolverine slashes, impales, and generally slaughters about a dozen of Stryker's soldiers storming the school, with not a single drop of blood spilled.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: Storm and Jean have a brief fight with Nightcrawler in a cathedral.
  • Bloody Murder: Mystique smuggles metal into the government's plastic prison (where Magneto is being held) by injecting a security guard with some sort of iron-rich solution.
  • Blunt "No": When Mystique reveals that a large portion of the energy from Alkali Lake's dam is being sent to Stryker's version of Cerebro, Storm asks if she can shut it down from where the group currently is. Mystique curtly replies "No," staring into the camera with an 'I'm surrounded by idiots' look. note 
  • Bond One-Liner: Magneto when he kills Mitchell Laurio.
    Magneto: Mr. Laurio, never trust a beautiful woman, especially one who's interested in you.
  • Bookcase Passage: Xavier's School for the Gifted is shown to have secret passages hidden along the hallways.
  • Bookends: Closes with Jean Grey (in narration) giving the same spiel about evolution that Professor X narrates over the opening of the first film.
  • Brain Bleach: William Stryker reveals that his wife drilled a hole in her temple to 'bore out' the illusions projected by their son, Jason.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Lady Deathstrike is mind-controlled by Stryker and she comes out of it for a brief moment only for Stryker to forcibly reapply another dose of mind-control.
    • Nightcrawler is also brainwashed by Stryker.
    • Cyclops is also brainwashed and attacks Jean during the climax.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Done to Nightcrawler with a mind-control serum in to make him kill/try to kill the President (it's not clear if he was meant to succeed or die in the attempt). He snaps out of it and escapes when a bodyguard shoots him. This is also done to Cyclops later in the movie and had already been done to Deathstryke.
    • Also Charles Xavier, by William Stryker's mutant son Jason, who is himself Lobotomized and Crazy.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Mystique plays a critical role in breaking Magneto out of his plastic prison, by injecting iron into the bloodstream of one of the security guards so that he can kill the guard by extracting it from him and use it both as a weapon and a transportation method.
  • Brick Joke:
    • When Logan volunteers to open the doors to Stryker's base, Magneto says "What are you going to do, scratch [the controls] with your claws?" This is exactly how he closes the floodgates at the end.
    • Near the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to one of Xavier's students, Artie, whose only apparent mutation is that he has a blue forked tongue. For most of the movie, Artie is just another of the students, until near the end when he and Wolverine get separated from the others during the escape from Alkali Lake. Artie is consequently present for Wolverine's final confrontation with Stryker, and crowns Wolverine's "The Reason You Suck" Speech by sticking his tongue out at him.
  • Call-Back: When the mutants are flying to Alkali Lake, Magneto and Mystique sarcastically say that they like the white parts of Rogue's hair. Those parts were turned white by Magneto's machine during the climax of the first X-Men movie.
  • Camping a Crapper: One of Magneto's guards is seduced, drugged, and injected with iron in a toilet stall. This leads to his death when Magneto extracts the metal from his veins. Ouch.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Multiple characters point out the inherent problems faced by Iceman and Rogue.
  • Captain Obvious: Stryker and a mook at the dam base.
    Stryker: Can you override the spillway mechanism?
    Mook: Everything's controlled from inside that room. That's why the doors are so thick.
    Stryker: Oh?! Really?!
    • Bonus points because Stryker had built the damn base, and has worked there longer than that Mook, probably all his current Mooks.
  • Casting Gag: Two voice actors from X-Men: Evolution (which was airing at the time) cameo in the movie. David Kaye, who voices Xavier, appears as a TV announcer. Chiara Zanni, who voices Jubilee, is the tour guide in the White House.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Logan dreams of his past.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Nightcrawler repeatedly tries to introduce himself to people by saying "My name is Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich Circus I was known as the Incredible Nightcrawler," but always gets cut off before he can finish.
  • Chained to a Rock: Magneto chains Colonel Stryker to a concrete slab, where he is later smashed by a wall of water from a shattered dam.
  • Character Tics: Pyro has a compulsive need to open and close his lighter. His habit irritates Mrs. Drake.
  • Circus Brat: Nightcrawler spent most of his life with the Munich circus before he was kidnapped by Colonel Stryker.
  • Clash of Evolutionary Levels: Subverted in dialogue, where the "Cro-Magnon exterminated Neanderthal" theory is mentioned as having been discredited. In the actual film, the trope is played straight as a board.
  • Collapsing Lair: Striker's Elaborate Underground Base where he conducted experiments on mutants gets destroyed when the damn burst, as a result of Phoenix causing Jean's telekinetic powers to go overboard while she's trying to defend herself from a brainwashed Cyclop, causing her to launch a kinetic wave that shook the entire base and fractured the dam.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Subverted during a conversation between Magneto and Pyro.
    Magneto: What's your name?
    Pyro: [with slight hesitance] "John."
    Magneto: What's your real name, John?
    Pyro: [grabs a small amount of fire from the lighter Magneto is holding and lets the fire rest in his hand] "Pyro."
  • Coming-Out Story: Referenced when Mrs. Drake asks her son Bobby, "Have you tried... NOT being a mutant?" Bobby's mother is played as the main "mutant-phobe" in this scene, saying things to Bobby that are now probably thought of as cliché—telling Bobby that the family still loves him, asking him when he first knew he was a mutant, referring to her son's gifts as "this [complicated] mutant problem" (to which Logan defensively replies, "What mutant problem?"), and basically being extremely uncomfortable with Bobby's confession. All in all, if you replace "mutant" with "homosexual" in the context of this scene, it still makes sense. This concept has now spawned its own trope. See also Gay Aesop below.
  • Commonality Connection: Bobby and Logan have a little chat about their inability to be close to the woman they have strong feelings for.
  • Compartment Shot: A shot from inside the fridge opened by Wolverine at Bobby parents' house.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Mystique does something similar to this with Lady Deathstrike and an office janitor though she doesn't say anything to the real janitor when she passes him. She later tries posing as Wolverine to infiltrate Stryker's base. But if there's one thing Stryker knows, it's his own work, and he isn't fooled.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Nightcrawler uses a trenchcoat, cap and dark glasses to sneak into the White House. Remember, your taxpayer dollars (assuming you live in the United States) go to the guys whose job it is to stop suspicious threats like this. Although it does help that he can, ya know, teleport past any checkpoint.
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • Beast making a hairless appearance.
    • Even more subtle than a brief cameo, in the second movie the real names of several mutants, including Gambit, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, were briefly seen on a computer screen as being some of the prisoners in a mutant prison. Three, Gambit, Banshee and Quicksilver, wound up appearing later (or rather, earlier) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The names of the five core New Mutants (Danielle Moonstar, Roberto da Costa, Rahne Sinclair, Sam Guthrie, and Illyana Rasputin) as well as Wade Wilson also appear.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Stryker's forces attack the mansion on the night when all the teachers are away but Logan happens to have returned from his travels.
    • Storm and Jean go to Boston to collect Kurt; later on, when Logan, Rogue, Bobby and Pyro are on the run, Bobby reveals his parents live in Boston and they head for the house to regroup.
    • Magneto and Mystique just so happen to be in the same area where the X-Jet nearly crashes, so that Magneto can save it.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Played with somewhat, when Jean Grey starts to lose control of her psychic abilities. Apparently she can usually tune out the garbage and focus on the particular thoughts she's looking for, but when her powers start to malfunction, she hears every thought of every person in the very crowded museum she's in. This gives her a headache, which causes her to involuntarily short out all the TV screens around her.
  • Could Have Been Messy:
    • Pyro fails to actually kill the cops, and Wolverine manages to avoid stabbing any humans unless they invade his home. Cue cheering when he is finally given an "acceptable" target.
    • Even when Stryker's men invade the school, Wolverine stabs about 10 dudes full in the chest with both blades, yet somehow spills no blood whatsoever.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Both director Bryan Singer and cinematographer Newton Thomas Siegel appear as guards in Magneto's prison. Singer gets his own pic, uniform and all, while the rest are given stock male photos. He also wheels the professor into the cell. The other security guards for Magneto's prison are all named after production staff.
    • Screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris also appear as surgeons on Wolverine's flashback.
  • Creepy Child: Jason Stryker, the son of Col. William Stryker, is a mutant with illusionist and mind probing powers who has been lobotomized by his father so that he follows his every word. When he tries to fool Charles Xavier into using Cerebro for him and Stryker, he creates a scenario in which he is represented as a young, slightly creepy girl who asks Xavier to look for all the mutants. The only thing letting on that they are one and the same is that they both share the same asymmetrical eyes.
  • Creepy Good: Nightcrawler attacks the white house and looks like a blue version of the stereotypical Big Red Devil, but his violence is the result of brainwashing and he's actually a noble, virtuous man.
  • Crushing Handshake:
    • Iceman does this to Wolverine by freezing the older mutant's hand when Rogue introduces them. Bobby is aware that Rogue has a crush on Logan, so he wanted to subtly assert his position as her boyfriend.
    • Deathstrike also does this to Senator Kelly/Mystique seemingly without meaning to. It's another hint that she's more than meets the eye. Kelly/Mystique even comment with "quite a grip" and he/she is rubbing their hand for a few moments as the scene continues.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Nightcrawler vs. The entire detail charged with protecting the U.S. President. Not through strength but his agility and teleportation power allows him to hit-and-run his way through every single agent, unarmed and unharmed until the very last minute.
  • Cutting Back to Reality: Used frequently during Charles Xavier's interactions with Jason Stryker: in the first demonstration of Jason's power, for example, Charles finds himself back at the mansion, standing happily at his desk... and then the background flickers ever-so-slightly. Cut to the real world, where Charles immediately yells at Jason to stop it. However, on the second attempt, the illusionist manages to fool Charles into believing in the scenario he's been presented with; as a result, the cuts back to reality from this point onwards are from Jason's perspective.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nightcrawler looks like a dark blue demon but is strongly religious and helps the good guys.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of Magneto's scenes involve him saying something sarcastic.
    • When breaking out of prison:
      Magneto: (after draining one of his guards of all the iron in his body) Mr. Laurio, never trust a beautiful woman, especially one who's interested in you.
    • And again when keeping the Blackbird from crashing:
      Magneto: (to Mystique) When will these people learn how to fly?
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: In this case: death of the Cathetus. The Love Triangle between Jean, Cyclops and Wolverine gets untangled when Jean dies.
  • Demoted to Extra: Cyclops is captured fairly early on and doesn't come back until the end.
  • Destroy the Security Camera: Stryker yells for his team to "take out these cameras!" after Mystique gets into his control room and turns them against him.
  • Disappointed in You: Xavier is disgruntled by Pyro's mischief at the museum.
    Professor X: The next time you feel like showing off, don't.
  • Distressed Dude: The X-Men have to rescue Professor X from Colonel Stryker's clutches.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bobby "comes out" with his mutant powers to his parents, who respond, "Have you tried ''not'' being a mutant?" Director Bryan Singer is bisexual and actor Ian McKellen is gay, and they assisted in writing this scene, basing it on a "coming out" conversation.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Magneto to Stryker when he finally gets a chance to get some payback for his treatment in prison. An earlier script was going to have Magneto kill Stryker (which would be more in character) and the X-Men find Stryker's body when they escaped from the facility—but that was changed for the sake of letting Wolverine have one last conversation with Stryker. And honestly, Magneto probably took quite a lot of enjoyment in leaving Stryker chained up to wait for death.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Storm calls down several tornadoes to get rid of some pesky jetfighters trailing the Blackbird.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Mystique attempts to do this to Wolverine by shifting to look like Jean. She's on top of him and they're shedding clothes before he realizes who she truly is. Plays on All Men Are Perverts when she proceeds to turn herself into Storm and Rogue, suggesting one of them might be what he "really wants." It's not quite so bad in the novelization, when Wolverine knows it's Mystique the entire time but chooses to play along for a while.
  • The Dragon:
    • Mystique is Magneto's primary dragon.
    • Lady Deathstrike is the dragon of William Stryker.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Played straight at the end with Wolverine's dogtags.
  • Dying as Yourself: Lady Deathstryke who is kept under the control of the villain by use of a formula which periodically has to be renewed; as indicated by her eyes changing color. Under his control she has a fight to the death with Wolverine which ends when he runs her through—moments before the formula wears off. We see her eyes change and she looks at him before dying.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Dr. Henry McCoy A.K.A Beast appears briefly on TV in the bar.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. When Magneto and Mystique team up with the X-Men to stop Stryker from killing every mutant in the world, Rogue must be restrained from using her powers on Magneto, who tried to kill her in the first movie.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The underground base becomes a plot element when the Spy Satellites actually detect the Cool Ship in its hangar underneath the Mutant Academy. William Stryker uses this evidence to convince the President to okay a commando strike on the school, secretly to further his plan to wipe out all mutantkind. Stryker's also got an Elaborate Underground Base of his own.
  • Elemental Absorption: Rogue absorbs Pyro's powers and uses them to put out the fires he had created, though she doesn't directly absorb the fire.
  • Enemy Mine: The entire point of the film: the X-Men team up with Magneto and Mystique to stop a human villain from killing all mutants. Right up until Magneto and Mystique decide to invert the attack and have all the non-Mutants killed instead.
  • Enfant Terrible: Jason Stryker was one. It's revealed that he used his powers to torment his parents, eventually driving his mother to kill herself over it.
  • Epic Fail: Yuriko finds a janitor inside an office with vital information that requires her own fingerprints to enter, but she lets him out without too much fuss. Surprise, he was actually an enemy agent, and now he has the location of Magneto's cell!
  • Evil All Along: Magneto, who, right after saving the mutants of the world, can't resist seizing the opportunity to use Stryker's technique against humanity.
  • Evil Cripple: Jason Stryker Mind Raped his parents so severely that his mother took a power drill to her temple to get the images out. He was experimented on by his father, a mutant-phobe, and turned into a living Lotus-Eater Machine in a wheelchair in contrast to Charles Xavier, who is with the good guys. While Jason's condition is portrayed sympathetically, but his appearance is definitely intended to be creepy, and both his past actions and some of his present demeanor are definitely evil.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Pyro explains how his powers work to Magneto. That's right, tell the guy who controls magnetism that you're useless without your metal lighter. He does switch sides later on, but it still is pretty stupid to tell anyone how your powers work.
  • False Flag Operation: The opening of the movie has Nightcrawler jump several federal agents and attempt to attack the president of the United States on the premise of "Mutant Freedom Now!" (which is written on a strip tied to a knife he leaves behind when he escapes). In reality this is the work of Stryker's mind control in an effort to incite anti-mutant sentiment.
  • Fan Disservice: Mystique tries using her powers to shift into various women to seduce Wolverine. It's straight-up fanservice until she turns into Rogue, who in this movie series takes the "young protégée" place that girls like Jubilee and Kitty Pryde have had, and then into Stryker of all people.
  • First-Name Basis: Professor X and William Stryker use each other's given names because Jason Stryker was once Xavier's student.
  • Flat Character: We know nothing about Lady Deathstrike before she was brainwashed by Stryker.
  • Flipping the Bird: Mystique gives one to Stryker and his team as she is sliding towards the control room.
  • Footsie Under the Table: Mystique uses the foot under the table approach while seducing a prison guard in a bar so she can later use him to free Magneto.
  • Foreshadowing: When Professor X is having difficulty trying to get a lock on Nightcrawler, Logan flippantly asks if he can't just concentrate harder. Xavier replies dryly, "If I wanted to kill him, yes." Later Stryker gets Jason to brainwash Xavier into doing precisely this—only on a much larger scale.
  • Forgiveness: Nightcrawler tells Storm that he didn't hate people who were scared by him when he was working at the circus; he pitied (and this probably implies that he also forgave) them instead.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Wolverine realizes that Mystique is disguised as Jean Grey by feeling the scars on her belly rather than by her smell, which he was established to be able to do in the first film when she tried the same trick with Storm.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: William Stryker's computer desktop is a treasure trove of shout outs. You'll see folders marked things like 'Victor Creed', 'Omega Red', 'Maximoff (2)', 'Project: Wideawake', 'Franklin Richards', and so many more!
  • Gay Aesop: When Bobby "comes out" to his parents and his brother as a mutant, his mother asks "Have you tried... NOT being a mutant?", despite the fact that Bobby did no harm to anyone, merely freezing a cup of coffee to show them his powers (his brother also calls the police and claims that Bobby and several other mutants are holding his family hostage). Shares a similar parallel with homosexuals in which they do nothing to actually deserve discrimination, but the public perception of them is what drives their reputation. Logan, who is watching the situation unfold, also takes offense as Bobby's family (unaware that Bobby isn't the only mutant in the room) unjustly discriminates against his kind. See also Coming-Out Story above.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: At the end of the movie a dam bursts and threatens to wipe out the X-Men. Jean Grey make s heroic sacrifice to save th others from it.
  • Glamour Failure:
    • Despite ShapeShifting, Mystique can't seem to hide the scars Wolverine left behind on her.
    • Likewise, Stryker isn't fooled when Mystique masquerades as Wolverine. One thing he knows better than anyone is his own work.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: During Jason Styker's initial attempt to trap Xavier within an illusion of the mansion, he looks to be trying to make everything as happy as possible, even giving him the ability to walk again. Xavier appears to be almost buying it... right up until the background flickers ever-so-slightly, whereupon he turns around and yells at Jason.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Wolverine. Especially getting shot in the head at practically point blank.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Implied. After Bobby showed off his power, Ronnie seems to be more envious than outright spiteful.
  • Handy Cuffs: William Stryker has Wolverine handcuffed with special cuffs which bind his arms and hands in such a way that his claws are pointed toward his face, making sure the only thing Wolverine can cut is himself. Unfortunately, it isn't Wolverine but Mystique in his form, and she quickly shapechanges out of the cuffs.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: Evidently, all Wolverine needs to hotwire Cyclop's car is to ram his claw into the ignition lock.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?:
    • Trope Namer. Bobby Drake's parents find out that he's a mutant and have pretty much exactly this reaction, complete with his mother asking him if he's tried "not being a mutant?" The filmmakers consulted Ian McKellen for the scene due to his experience being gay during much less forgiving times.
    • This pops up a second time. When Nightcrawler asks Mystique why she doesn't use her shapeshifting powers to blend in with normal humans, she replies, "Because we shouldn't have to."
  • Hell Is That Noise: Cassidy's screaming has several layers of disortion to it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jean Grey. When the Blackbird is frozen at Alkali Lake with the dam about to burst in mere minutes, she steps off the jet and uses her now heightened telekinesis to break the ice and allow the jet to lift off, at the same time psychically restraining her teammates to keep them from stopping her. She frees the jet seconds before she is seemingly crushed beneath tons of rushing water.
  • Hide Your Otherness: After Artie sticks out his dark, forked tongue at a girl who is eating ice cream, Storm chides him with "Not here."
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Magneto works with the X-Men without much protest or animosity to save mutant-kind, but once he foils Stryker's plan he reminds us that he is the Big Bad of the series and turns Strkyer's Cerebro on normal humans.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Stryker's mutant-killing machine is ultimately turned on humans instead, which naturally includes Stryker himself. It gets shut off before it can do the job, of course, but it was long enough to make sure Stryker never escaped.
  • Honey Trap: Mystique seduces one of the guards from Magneto's Tailor-Made Prison, then roofies him so she can inject him with an iron solution that Magneto uses to escape.

     I - Z 
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Earlier, Xavier has a minor but understandable one. He notices that Deathstryke is starting to regain control. He's smart enough not to say anything, but the fact that he keeps glancing over to her alerts Strkyer, allowing him to give her another dose of serum to keep her obedient.
    • The fight at Bobby's house is one for the cops. There have to be half a dozen of them, and despite the fact that they have their weapons in hand and trained at the mutants, none of them open fire on Pyro once he starts slinging fire around. This when they had already demonstrated willingness to use deadly force (on Wolverine, so it doesn't count, but they didn't know that).
  • I Have No Son!: When Xavier asks William Stryker how he could think of lobotomizing his son, he replies "my son is dead", but before he orders him to launch his attack against all mutants, he says "Make me proud, son."
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: This is the fate for Jean Grey at the end of the movie for both Cyclops and Wolverine - though Cyclops, being married to her, takes it a lot harder. Of course she comes back with an appropriate Face–Heel Turn.
  • Immune to Drugs: Wolverine gets shot with Instant Sedation darts and doesn't stop charging. A moment later he yanks the darts out and shakes his head as if to clear it, but continues on like nothing happened.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: After Storm turns the X-Jet by 360 degrees, a nauseated Pyro mutters, "Please don't do that again," and Wolverine chimes in with "I agree."
  • Indy Hat Roll: Mystique slides under a door while flipping off the men shooting at her.
  • Inexplicable Cornered Escape: Mystique shapeshifts into Lady Deathstrike in order to gain access to Colonel's Stryker's office. While she is sifting through his computer files, the real Lady Deathstrike approaches the office. On her entering Mystique is gone. A couple of shots later we see her moving behind Lady Deathstrike, now in the shape of a janitor pretending to be cleaning out bins.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • The military guys use Instant Sedation darts on the students when they invade the school. While they knock out the children instantly, Cyclops was protected by the armor under his clothing and multiple darts fail to have any effect on Wolverine. Justified by his larger body mass, Healing Factor, and adrenaline as well, since he doesn't show any effects while killing the immediate threat. After all the enemies in his vicinity are neutralized, he pulls the darts out and shakes his head, indicating he was becoming at least a little woozy or disoriented. Removing the source of the sedative lets his healing eliminate the rest of it in his body.
    • Mystique's drugged beer also takes effect the second Mr. Laurio downs the last of it, where the pills have settled.
  • Ironic Echo: Magneto sarcastically comments: "Wolverine, whoever goes into the dam needs to be able to operate the spillway mechanism. What do you intend to do? Scratch it with your claws?" Later on, that's exactly what he does (well, a bit more than scratch) to save all the protagonists from being drowned by the flood approaching down the spillway — smash a fist full of claw into the mechanism.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Magneto says this almost verbatim to Pyro in ("Is that what they say?"), regarding him being "the bad guy". It wasn't a lie, so much as a point of view.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Stryker yells "Shoot it!" in reference to Wolverine (sort of).
  • It's All About Me: Magneto calls Wolverine on this (lampshading the obvious to fans)...
    Magneto: Mystique has discovered plans of a base that Stryker's been operating out of for decades. Only we don't know where it is. We thought one of you might.
    Wolverine: The professor already tried [to look for hints about Stryker in my mind].
    Magneto (sighs): Once again, you think it's all about you.
  • It's the Only Way: Jean Grey sacrifices herself, supposedly because it's the only way to save the team; there has been considerable debate among fans about the multiple other ways they could have survived, or ways she could have saved them that would not have involved her death.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Mystique shapeshifts into a janitor to get in and out of a government facility with information on Magneto's prison guards. She employs Obfuscating Spanish when challenged. "Estoy echando la basura. Garbage." Leads to an amusing scene where she walks by the actual janitor, who's dumbfounded to see himself walking by (and is also an example of Making Use of the Twin).
  • Jerkass:
    • Ronnie calls the cops on Bobby and his friends under the pretense that they were holding his family hostage, seemingly out of pure jealousy over his brother's powers.
    • Pyro is much more vicious than his fellow X-Men even before he is swayed by Magneto's words and decides to join the Brotherhood. He is understandably enraged when a startled cop accidentally shoots Wolverine, but his reaction is to escalate the conflict by declaring he is the most dangerous mutant of all, before incinerating the man and hurling fireballs at the rest of the police.
    • Mitchell Laurio is an insecure, sadistic slob who physically and mentally torments Magneto while the old man is completely helpless in the plastic prison.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Ronnie alerts the police to the mutants' whereabouts, lying that he and his parents are being held hostage, and receives no direct comeuppance for this action. Downplayed in that he is visibly traumatized when Pyro starts murdering the cops he had called, his family life will never be the same now that he's betrayed his brother, and he obviously was among the people who were tortured and potentially killed when Magneto modified the Dark Cerebro. Though his parents may have called him out on it, since the police were being rough with them.
    • Magneto and Mystique get away scot-free after the attempt to Kill All Humans, with Pyro in tow.
  • Karmic Death: Magneto gets revenge on Mitchell Laurio for brutalising him by pulling metal from his body that Mystique placed there.
    Mister Laurio, never trust a beautiful woman, especially one who's interested in you.
  • Kill All Humans: Magneto tries to wipe out all humans by reversing the polarity of Stryker's mutant-killing technology.
  • Kubrick Stare: Magneto greets all visitors in his plastic prison by looking at them this way.
  • Large Ham: The scene where a drugged Magneto talks to Xavier comes to mind.
  • Large Ham Title: The film gives us "Kurt Wagner... but in the Munich Circus I was known as The Incredible Nightcrawler!"
  • Last-Second Villain Recovery:
    • The climactic battle between Wolverine and Lady Deathstryke seemingly ends with the former finally managing to overwhelm the latter's Healing Factor by plunging her into the laboratory water tank where Wolverine was first implanted with adamantium, apparently electrocuting and/or drowning Deathstryke in the process. For a while, Wolverine is left lying on a platform above the tank, exhausted and recovering from his wounds... and then Deathstryke bursts out of the water and begins lancing him with her claws, coming dangerously close to actually killing Wolverine despite his own Healing Factor. Wolverine only manages to survive this encounter by grabbing one of the nearby adamantium syringes and stabbing Deathstryke in the chest with it, implanting her with a dose of adamantium that kills her once and for all.
    • Non-combat example: William Stryker is ambushed by Wolverine, stabbed in the side, and chained to the wheel of his getaway helicopter so that he'll be in the path of the flood when the dam breaks. However, once Wolverine leaves to help the others, William is able to use the snow to slip himself out of his chains... but just when it looks like the bigoted scientist can get free so he can enact his next scheme, Jason Stryker (under orders from Magneto) turns the power of Dark Cerebro on humanity, leaving William in a paralyzed, dying heap in the snow. Then Magneto himself catches up with him...
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Subverted, Magneto and Mystique at the beginning seem to be less evil that Stryker,but in reality they intend to use the captive, brainwashed Xavier to kill every non-mutant on Earth.
  • Lightning Reveal: Towards the end, when the Oval Office lies in darkness due to a storm outside, the X-Men amongst the spectators are revealed to the president when a lightning strikes.
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike both have the adamantium claws/fingernails. And bones. And a supercharged Healing Factor. They'll be at this all day.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: An unusual example is seen in the film, as Jean Grey telekinetically holds back a giant wave of water to allow the rest of the team time to escape from it, dying in the process.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Jason Stryker is a mutant with this power, who uses it on Professor Xavier in an effort to break his will. At one point, he shows Xavier a vision where he is able to walk again.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Siryn, one of the students has this power. She wakes up as Stryker's men are sneaking around and screams, which alerts everyone else in the mansion.
  • Market-Based Title: The film's simply called X-Men 2 in the UK, France, Brazil, Finland and several other countries.
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: Magneto escapes from his plastic prison by reshaping iron that was smuggled via an unwitting Mitchell Laurio's blood into three balls that he projects back and forth at great speed to demolish the plastic walls. When the prison's bridge is retracted, he reshapes one of the balls into a platform to cross the ravine with the two other balls levitating around him. He then uses said balls to destroy the door.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Logan confronts Stryker, asking why he took his memory, Stryker simply claims he was "always an animal. I just gave you claws." A few minutes later, when the dam alarm goes off, Stryker tries to convince Logan into leaving with him, calling him a survivor. Logan just snarls "I thought I was an animal."
  • Mind-Control Device: Stryker keeps mutants in his thrall with the help of a drug made from a psychic mutant's spinal fluid.
  • Mind Rape: The backstory of Col. Stryker involves his telepathic son, Jason, mind-raping him and his wife with hallucinations so horrific that the wife took a power drill to her temple to get the images out.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Colonel Stryker has Lady Deathstrike as his dragon; the Special Forces under his command are lead by Sergeant Lyman.
  • Morphic Resonance: Mystique's human form she uses to seduce Laurio is wearing a blue dress with a scale design. This makes it resemble the skin of her true form.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Colossus who is shirtless and buff for most of his screen time. He also only goes into metal mode when he's attacked, allowing his normal torso more screen time.
  • Mundane Utility: When Logan wants a cold drink, he gives a Dr. Pepper to Bobby "Iceman," who uses his powers to chill it.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Rogue isn't too pleased at one of the jerks at the museum obviously staring at her cleavage.
  • Mythology Gag
    • After Magneto saves the Blackbird from crashing, he snarks "When will these people learn how to fly?", referencing the fact that several of the X-Men are capable of unaided flight in the comics (including Jean, Storm and Rogue, who are actually inside the Blackbird at this point).
    • Magneto snarks that "Once again you think it's all about you" when Logan assumes that the villains need his memories to find Stryker's base, as a nod to Wolverine Publicity.
    • Mystique and Nightcrawler have one scene together. Likely a nod to their mother-son relationship in the comics, which may or may not be the case here.
    • Magneto floats in the middle of a circle, a device meant to kill all mutants, and changes it: now, instead of targeting all mutants, it will be used against everybody else. There was a similar scene in the first arc of Ultimate X-Men, in 2001.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: William Stryker's genocidal desires peg him as one.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Jean Grey starts exhibiting some new powers as the Phoenix struggles to break free. At first, they are just an extension of her telekinesis, such as disrupting electronic equipment, but by the climax she already has omniscience, which lets her predict the moment when the dam burst, and can also suppress other mutant's powers, since she interferes with Nightcrawler's teleportation to stop him from coming after her. Only the latter is present in the sequel, as she manages to disable Cyclops' eye beam during their reunion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Colossus' voice was dubbed, apparently to add to his Arnold Schwarzenegger resemblance.
    • Though never acknowledged as such, the nameless President of the United States who narrowly survives Nightcrawler's assassination attempt at the beginning of the film is clearly George W. Bush.
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Colonel Stryker tells his men to kill anyone approaching the Cerebro room, because Mystique is in play.
    Kill anyone who approaches. Even if it's me.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: Implied non-verbally. Rogue is forced to flee to Bobby's parents' house in her nightdress, and ends up changing clothes with Bobby in the room. He politely turns his back while she undresses, but can be seen briefly sneaking a peek at her from behind. (Given that she doesn't ask him to leave the room entirely, it comes across as intentionally flirtatious—particularly since the two share their first kiss shortly afterward)
  • No-Sell:
    • Magneto performs a No Sell of his own, thanks to his telepathy-blocking helmet: while the mind-controlled Xavier is attacking the mutants of the world with his powers, Magneto is completely immune to the psychic attack that has literally every other mutant on Earth writhing on the ground in agony. For good measure, once he's managed to temporarily disable Cerebro and stop the attack, he finds himself face to face with Jason, who makes one final attempt at telepathically attacking him- to no avail; cue horrified stare from Jason, as Magneto smugly taps the side of his helmet by way of explanation.
    • Lady Deathstrike shoots Cyclops with a sedative dart gun, however, his X-Men uniform and thick coat shield him from it.
  • Not Right in the Bed: Mystique disguises herself as Jean Grey to seduce Wolverine. In addition to the changed behavior, Wolverine immediately spots the ruse because of his Super-Senses.
  • #1 Dime: Wolverine throwing away his dog-tags at the end shows how he's decided to leave his past where it lays and move on to the future.
  • Oblivious Janitor Cut: Gets egregious, when a janitor walks past Mystique disguised as him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Unless it's an emergency, Rogue generally tries to avoid using her powers willingly, as she's utterly terrified of killing someone with them. However, Magneto and Mystique mocking her new skunk stripe that they indirectly gave her in the first film enrages Rogue so much that she immediately takes off her glove with the intention of trying to harm them, only being stopped by Bobby.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The film goes by a few different titles, perhaps because "X-Men United" sounds like a soccer team to viewers outside of North America. This movie and Deadpool 2 are the only entries in the franchise with a number in its name.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "I used to think you were one of a kind, Wolverine. I was wrong."
      Wolverine: (as Deathstrike whips out her claws) Holy shit.
      • Followed by another one after he realises Deathstrike also shares his Healing Factor.
    • Magneto and Mystique have the smiles wiped right off their faces when Rogue, furious at their teasing about the white stripes in her hair (which they are directly responsible for) gives them a Death Glare as she starts to pull a glove off.
    • Jason, who's spent the entire movie playing Xavier like a fiddle, has a moment of panic when Magneto proves immune to his illusions.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Mozart's "Dies Irae" underscores Nightcrawler's attack on the White House.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Kelly's and Stryker's conversation in the hallway. To Stryker, Kelly seems to be trying to de-escalate the situation after the attempt on the president's life. Of course, Kelly is really Mystique, so the question about Stryker trying to start a war is really not rhetorical.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Hugh Jackman's delivery of "You don't wanna go that way, trust me" sounds mildly Australian.
  • Opposed Mentors: Pyro had the choice between Magneto or Xavier. This is often the case with some characters in the comics too.
  • Parental Abandonment: Judging by the sad and envious expression on Pyro's face when he stares at the Drake family photos, it's strongly implied that John's parents have disowned him (or they may have died when he was very young).
  • Party Scattering: Near the beginning, Prof. X and Cyclops are captured at the same time, but taken to different areas where different things happen to them. Storm and Jean go after Nightcrawler and eventually run into Magneto. The government kidnaps several mutants and take them to their facility. Wolverine and a few of the students escape the mansion and hide out at Iceman's house for a while. They come back in the third act.
  • People Puppets:
    • Professor X freezes hundreds of people in a large museum.
    • During the finale, Jean Grey is able to use Xavier (a fellow psychic) as a conduit to communicate with Scott.
  • Phlebotinum Bomb: Cerebro is redesigned to kill only mutants..and then redesigned to kill only non-mutants.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Magneto pulls the pins from a squad of soldiers all at once using his powers.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Stryker's mind-control serum is derived from chemicals secreted by the brain of his own son, Jason; though still alive and still capable of using his impressive powers of illusion, Jason's been given a lobotomy to make him more pliable and is confined to a wheelchair- complete with a shunt in the back of his head used for collecting the fluid.
  • Power Incontinence: Mystique's shapeshifting goes haywire once Xavier's psychic attack on the mutants intensifies.
  • Power Perversion Potential: The film had Mystique shift into various women to try and seduce Wolverine. It seemed to be working, too... until she shifted into someone he thought of like a daughter.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Pyro: You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about in the news? I'm the worst one.
  • Product Placement: Logan searches for beer in the mansion. After learning there is none, he settles on, of course, a Dr. Pepper. Later at Bobby's house, he raids the fridge for beer. Several bottles of Dr. Pepper can be seen inside the fridge.
  • Psychic Radar: It's already been seen in the previous film that Cerebro amplifies Xavier's powers to give him greater range and accuracy. Here he uses it to allow him to track even a mutant who can teleport and it's further revealed that he can use it to sense the location of every mutant or every human on the planet. Concentrating hard enough will give them all a really serious Psychic Nosebleed... followed by death.
  • Psychotic Wink: Magneto performs one after admonishing the (dead) guard for unwittingly aiding in his escape.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Nightcrawler is a devout Catholic who questions if his demonic appearance is a curse from God for some misdeeds that he must atone for.
  • Removing the Earpiece: Wolverine does this when the rest of the team are discussing their plan and he realizes if it goes the way they're hoping it will, he won't get a chance to confront the guy who holds the information about his past. When they next look up, he's gone.
  • Revealing Injury: Wolverine recognises a disguised Mystique by the claw-marks he gave her in the previous film.
  • Say My Name: Professor X desperately yells "SCOTT!!!" when he realizes that Stryker has set up a trap for him.
  • Scare Chord: Pyro's leitmotif contains some scarechords, most evident when he uses his powers on the policemen.
  • Scars are Forever: Mystique has scars from Logan stabbing her in the previous film. Even when she shapeshifts, they're still there, though she is able to shapeshift clothing over them.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Mystique and a prison guard. Sure, she drugged and injected him with iron, so that Magneto could rip it from his blood and escape, but he got to make out with Rebecca Romijn. Lucky bastard. This trope is basically lampshaded when Magneto tells the guard that he should never trust a beautiful woman — especially one who's interested in him.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: The deleted scenes show that Jason didn't just make Xavier think he was back at the institute, he made him think that he succeeded in convincing Jason to let him escape from the Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Screaming Woman: Subverted, when the soldiers attack, a girl starts screaming. She's Siryn, and screaming is her superpower. She nearly defeats the soldiers that way, and although she still gets knocked out, her scream wakes up all the other mutants and gives them a chance to escape.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: While waiting in the X-Jet with Rogue and Bobby, Pyro decide to ignore Wolverine's order to stay put, and join the Brotherhood.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Stryker has Magneto locked up in a plastic prison, where without his powers he's a defenseless, elderly man. One guard takes advantage of this to physically abuse him at every opportunity. As the saying goes, "you can catch the devil, but you can't hold him long." At some point in their worst nightmares, the guards must have considered what was going to happen if Magneto got access to any amount of iron. Magneto's Roaring Rampage of Revenge when that very thing happened demonstrated that mercy from him wasn't on the table...
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The rule-abiding, Nice Guy Iceman juxtaposes the rebellious, Jerkass Pyro. At the museum's food court, John is being rude to a young man who asks to borrow his lighter, and Bobby tells his friend to knock it off, plainly disapproving of John's annoying behaviour. When the police order the mutants to get on the ground, Drake immediately obeys, but Allerdyce attacks the officers with giant fire balls.
  • Sequel Hook: The final shot of the film is an orange bird-like silhouette shining underneath Alkali Lake, foreshadowing the rise of the Phoenix.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Briefly. Due to being forced to flee the mansion in the middle of the night, Rogue winds up at the Drake house in her nightdress, and is forced to change into some of Bobby's mother's old clothes. There's a brief shot of her from behind as she slips out of her nightdress to change before Bobby politely turns his back, with the camera following suit.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Interestingly done, where Rebecca Romijn played Mystique in disguise—sans blue makeup.
  • Shapeshifter Showoff Session: Mystique "reintroduces" herself to Wolverine by posing as Jean and sneaking into his tent for a booty call. Halfway through their initial kiss, however, Wolverine notices the scar he gave her in the previous film; knowing that her cover is blown, Mystique immediately reverts to her true form, then tauntingly asks what he wants while shifting between various other shapes - first Jean, then Storm, then Rogue, then Stryker - before Wolverine finally tells her to get out.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Mystique shapeshifts through a couple of persona when Cerebro-2 almost kills her. She survives, though.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Mystique seduces a guard by taking the form of a hot blonde so she can use him in Magneto's escape from prison. She later uses it on Logan by trying to seduce him in the form of Jean Grey. Logan catches her, and she goes through several other forms, including Storm, Rogue and even Stryker (though that one was a taunt rather than a seduction), but he tells her to leave.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: Mystique seduces Wolverine. He's fairly surprised when she mimics Storm, a little conflicted at Jean Grey's appearance, but profoundly creeped out when he sees her shapeshift into Rogue (essentially a movie version of his traditional underage female sidekick). Turning into Brian "Original Lecter" Cox was just icing on the cake.
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Jason Stryker has differently-colored eyes, as does the illusory little girl he creates.
  • Ship Tease: Nightcrawler and Storm. It doubles in content if you read the novelisation.
    Nightcrawler: I'm not going anywhere, Ororo.
    Storm: I like it when you say my name...
    Nightcrawler: I like saying your name...
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: Col. Stryker tells his mooks that after he leaves, they are to shoot anyone who comes down the corridor, even if it was him. He knew that Mystique was on-site.
  • Shooting Superman: After using their tranq darts on some of the students, two of Stryker's men are confronted by Colossus. The big guy activates his power, but the agents try firing anyway. After the darts bounce off of him, Colossus throws the agents through a wall.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mystique scrolls through a list of mutants on a computer, searching for Magneto. All of those names are from the comics. While all of those names were in a single folder, Franklin Richards had a folder all his own.
    • Both Magneto and the Professor reference The Once and Future King at separate points. Erik is seen reading it in his cell at the beginning, and Charles ends the film telling some of his students about it.
  • Shown Their Work: The screenwriters did research on how to blow up a dam for the climactic scenes of the movie; this went mostly unremarked upon in the film (though no doubt the director and effects artists got some use out of it), but was described at some length in the novelization.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Stryker's secret base is entirely lit in an unhealthy green light.
  • Single Tear: The wheelchair-bound Professor X sheds a single tear of joy when he's able to stand again on his own—but then he quickly realizes that he's in a Lotus-Eater Machine and tries to resist Jason's ability.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Discussed between Jean and Wolverine at one point:
    Jean: Women like to flirt with a dangerous man. But they don't marry him. They marry the good guy.
    Logan: I could be the good guy.
    Jean: Good guys stick around, Logan.
  • Skyward Scream: Logan does this in a flashback where he wakes up in a tank of water with no memories, covered in blood and metal claws shooting out of his hands.
  • Slasher Smile: Magneto sports one of these when he's breaking out of his plastic prison using iron balls that he pulled out of the blood of one of the guards. He's killing all the guards who've abused him, and the grin on his face is chilling. It's payback time.
  • The Sleepless: The kid who can change channels by blinking.
    Wolverine: Shouldn't you be asleep?
    Jones: I don't sleep.
  • Slip into Something More Comfortable: Downplayed and subverted. Rogue and Bobby kiss for the first time shortly after Rogue slips out of her nightdress to change clothes with Bobby in the room. While her new get-up is fairly modest and unremarkable, it does include a long pair of gloves—allowing her to touch Bobby without harming him.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Mystique slips a drug into Magneto's guard's drink in order to knock him out so she could inject enough metal in his body for Magneto to sense and manipulate to break out of prison.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: In the original movie, Magneto was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wanted to help humanity evolve in order for them to better understand mutants. After some months trapped in a plastic prison being constantly tormented by his guards, he has devolved into a full-blown villain, bent on driving the entire human race to extinction.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Siryn only gets two scenes in the film, but her second appearance has her using her sonic scream to disable the soldiers invading the mansion and alert everyone else. While some of the children get captured and she herself gets tranquilized, because of her alarm Colossus is able to rescue her and most of the students manage to escape via the evacuation tunnels, plus Rogue, Bobby and Pyro flee with Logan.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The novelization spares Jean Grey. She levitates the plane from the inside and gets saved with everyone else.
  • Spot the Impostor: The trope is averted when Stryker is able to recognize his "handiwork" on sight — it's enough to fool the soldiers, but somehow the Colonel can tell with one close-up look. Which actually isn't that surprising. Parents can tell the difference between identical twins even when others can't.
  • Spotting the Thread: Wolverine figures out Mystique isn't Jean because she has the scars where he stabbed her in the previous movie. Later in the same movie, Stryker takes one look at Mystique from across a large room and knows she's not Wolverine simply saying "I know my own work". In the novelization, it's her smell that alerts Wolverine even before he exposes the scars, but he plays along to try and find out what she wants.
  • Standard Snippet: Mozart's Dies Irae plays during the opening scene where Nightcrawler is bamfing through the White House, and it's arguably the most memorable music moment in the entire movie.
  • Stealth Pun: William Stryker's son Jason is given the new name "Mutant 143." "143" is another way to say "I love you." If the Stryker family was devoid of anything, it was love - Stryker hates his son.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Magneto was a Lacerated Larry in the beginning: It is strongly implied that Stryker had arrived at Magneto's cell beforehand and injected him with the same brainwashing serum from his son to get him to lure Professor X into his prison so X could be captured.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: Colonel Stryker and Jason are left to die when the dam breaks and when the facility collapses, respectively. Lady Deathstrike is the only major antagonist to get an explicit on screen death, as she succumbs to her wounds following the battle against Wolverine.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: The mutant gene is said to be passed down from the father (but not explicitly stated to be located on the Y chromosome). Though given the tension of the scene, it seems likely that Pyro was simply exploiting Mr. Drake's ignorance to make him squirm.
  • Super Smoke: This film handles Nightcrawler's teleportation in a combination of this way and like his comic counterpart. He leaves behind very little evidence of his teleporting (whereas in the comic, it's basically a Nightcrawler-sized cloud) until his attack on the Oval Office antechamber, which is an enclosed space. Here he seems to almost dissolve into particles, then the particles rush to another location almost immediately and reconstruct into Nightcrawler, at least over short distances.
  • Super-Strength: Lady Deathstryke has both this and Super-Toughness, taking one of Cyclops optic blasts which knocked out the guard standing next to her before knocking him out with one kick, punching Wolverine across room, hammer-tossing the 6-feet, well-muscled and metal skeletoned mutant with enough force to crack concrete and one-handedly tossing him higher than 10 feet. Especially significant when you consider she has an adamantium skeleton as well.
  • Super Team: Jean Grey and Storm willingly ally with Wolverine and Nightcrawler, plus Magneto and Mystique (relunctantly) to stop Styker from committing mutant genocide.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: For a safe-haven built specifically for members of a persecuted minority group, Xavier's school includes surprisingly few security systems (apart from a hidden escape tunnel for making a quick getaway). As a result, Stryker's soldiers encounter remarkably light resistance when they storm the place, mostly forcing the students to defend themselves with their powers. Granted, Xavier might not see the need for particularly tight security since his powers allow him to sense most threats ahead of time, but it still comes off as pretty negligent.
  • Sword Sparks: Numerous sparks fly in Wolverine's battle with Lady Deathstrike. Notably, since sparks are made by little bits of metal flying off the blade, this should be impossible in an adamantium-on-adamantium duel, since adamantium is invulnerable.
  • Take That!:
    • Logan desperately tries to change the radio on the car when *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" plays after Pyro turns it on. Every passenger of the car also cringes in disgust and/or annoyance. note 
    • When Magneto says that he believes one of the heroes knows the location of Stryker's secret base, Logan angrily says that "the Professor already tried," clearly thinking that Magneto's referring to his own memories. Magneto was actually talking about Nightcrawler, and snidely remarks, "Once again, you think it's all about you," as a small dig at the fact that Wolverine, both before and after this film, tends to get the most focus when it comes to any and all types of X-Men related content.
  • Taking the Bullet: Subverted when Colossus covers some young students from gunfire, telling them to escape. And then proceeds to kick ass.
  • Tears of Blood: Flavor two example: When Lady Deathstrike fights Wolverine at the end, her defeat by having liquid adamantium injected into her makes it look as though she's crying tears of liquid metal.
  • Technopath: The film has a boy who changed the TV by blinking, and later controlled a computer display the same way. Don't know if he's up to turning a toaster into a lethal weapon, though.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The X-Men have to team up with Magneto and Mystique in order to prevent William Stryker from wiping out mutantkind in its entirety. Magneto and Mystique betray them once the threat has passed, and take Pyro with them after his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Tele-Frag: Nightcrawler cites this as the reason he refuses to teleport anywhere he can't see - "otherwise I could wind up inside a wall."
  • Teleportation Rescue: The X-jet is damaged by an Air Force fighter's missile and Rogue falls out of the plane. Nightcrawler teleports out to catch her, then teleports back. He also rescues the children imprisoned at Stryker's base later in the same film (probably more efficient than breaking down the door or blasting the lock).
  • Teleporter's Visualization Clause: Nightcrawler's teleportation abilities depend on him having a line-of-sight to his destination, and warns the team that trying to travel blindly might result in him re-materializing inside a wall—meaning that he can't help them get inside Stryker's base under the dam. However, when they have to rescue Professor X from behind the sealed doors of Dark Cerebro, Nightcrawler is called upon to perform a Blind Jump; thankfully, Nightcrawler just manages it with some emotional support from Storm.
  • Teleport Spam: Nightcrawler's attack on the White House, where he's kicking, throwing, punching, and just beating the crap out of every agent from every angle, with the last one in glorious slow motion.
  • That Man Is Dead: The film features an interesting inversion, when Magneto strikes up a conversation with John Allerdyce;
    Magneto: What's your name?
    John: John.
    Magneto: What is your real name, John?
    John: ... Pyro.
  • Throwing Out the Script: The President discusses his speech as he walks down a hall with some staffers, then his speech is in the teleprompter, and he's going live when Professor X and the rest of the X-Men pay him a visit and provide him with documents from Col. Stryker's office. The X-Men leave, time resumes for the staffers, and the President touches the file on his desk and begins to improvise...
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: A guard's bullet prevents Nightcrawler from killing the president when the latter had his knife already raised above his head.
  • Time Stands Still: The audience is led to believe this has happened at the beginning of the film, although it transpires that in fact Professor X has used his mind-controlling powers to put everyone on "pause."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The soundtrack has a track named after a character death (and it's punny: "Death Strikes Deathstryke").
  • Translation Train Wreck: A simple search of dialog online turned up a copy of the film made much more introspective by adding the subtitles to Amélie.
  • Trouble Magnet Gambit: Mystique puts a syringe filled with iron in solution into an off-duty guard's butt. How bad this would be for him in the long term is unknown considering that he seems only a little bit under the weather the next day but he's also hung over and recovering from some kind of drug. But long-term effects don't really matter because Magneto uses the extra iron in the guard's blood to escape, killing the guard and that's definitely fatal.
  • Verbal Salt in the Wound: When the X-Men and the Brotherhood are forced to team up, Rogue notices that she's being laughed at by Mystique and Magneto, who needle her over the side-effects of Magneto's doomsday device in the previous movie by remarking "we love what you've done with your hair." Rogue goes so far as to remove one of her gloves before Iceman ushers her away.
  • Villainous Rescue: When the Blackbird is shot down by a military missile, Jean tries in vain to stop it from falling. Suddenly, some of the damage undoes itself, and the plane starts to slow down before coming to a complete stop in mid-air. In the next shot, Magneto is shown calmly holding the Blackbird in place.
  • Weaponized Ball: Magneto breaks out of his custom made jail cell by pulling the iron from the blood of a guard. He then forms the iron into small balls which he uses as offensive weapons, smashing his cage and killing the rest of the guards.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Nightcrawler uses his power to great effect during the attack on the White House, teleporting to punch, kick and hurl mooks from all directions, leaving them disoriented and unable to fight back.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Bobby Drake. As his visit to his parents shows.
    • One of Stryker's commands for Jason was "make me proud." In turn, Jason's illusory self can be heard whimpering, "He's going to be so mad at me!" when Storm disrupts his control of Xavier..
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Colossus and most of the student body flee the Mansion, and disappear from the film without a single further reference.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Two students at Xavier's school definitely qualify: one of them can change TV channels just by blinking his eyes, thus giving him the same super-powers as a hand-held remote control; the other has a blue forked tongue and nothing else. The latter overlaps with Adaptational Wimp: he's evidently meant to be the films' equivalent of Artie Maddicks, who had the power of clairvoyance in the comics.note 
  • While You Were in Diapers: Stryker says this to Senator Kelly (or who he thinks is Kelly): "I was piloting Black Ops missions in the jungles of north Vietnam, while you were sucking on your mama's tit at Woodstock, Kelly."
  • The White House: Nightcrawler breaches security at the White House and comes within an inch of stabbing the president before being winged by a Secret Service agent, allowing him to break his mind control.
  • Whoosh in Front of the Camera: Mystique infiltrates Colonel's Stryker's office. When the secretary enters and sits down in front of her computer, Mystique comes out from her hiding place and wooshes behind the secretary's back. When the secretary turns to see what's happening, Mystique has changed into a janitor.
  • Window Love: Wolverine and Stryker, with a semi-transparent sheet of ice between them.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Mitchell Laurio has no qualms about brutalising Magneto when he's powerless.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • After Lady Deathstrike attempts to sedate Cyclops, he hits her with an optic blast, but she recovers quickly due to her Healing Factor.
    • The brutal confrontation between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike is one of the most violent duels in the franchise.
    • With his Master of Illusion ability, Jason tricked his mother into committing suicide with a power-drill to her temple.
    • Pyro has no problem throwing a fireball at the female cop that has him at gunpoint.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Stryker has a bunch of the X-children locked up in his facility, whom he's keeping on-site to make sure his plan to get Xavier to kill all the mutants is working as intended.
  • You Are Number 6: Colonel Stryker had his son Jason lobotomized after lashing out against him and his wife. Since then, the Colonel simply refers to him as "Mutant 143". When Professor X expresses his shock over it, asking why he'd do this to his own son, Stryker simply answers with: "No, Charles. My son is dead. Just like the rest of you."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After Stryker's raid on the school, Bobby, Rogue, Logan and Pyro stop by the Drake family house in hopes of regrouping, which in the process reveals Bobby's mutant abilities to his parents. His own brother calls the police and reports them as a threat despite the mutants not harbouring any ill intentions. After Pyro stupidly attacks the officers in the standoff that follows, Bobby is forced to flee with the others knowing he can never come back.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The ending is an example of this trope, with Jean Grey staying behind to hold off the inevitable just long enough for the rest of the team to escape. Although everyone, including her, thinks that No One Could Survive That!, she manages to survive.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): X Men 2



The Secret Service don't stand a chance when Nightcrawler comes for the President.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TeleportSpam

Media sources: