Australian Council on Children and the Media

X Men 2

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13 (Viol. Scary Scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for X Men 2
  • a review of X Men 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 May 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended for children under eight years of age. Both the story line and the on screen violence are unsuitable for this age group.
Children aged 8-12 The high level of realistic violence presented in X-Men 2 coupled with threats to children makes this film unsuitable for children eight to twelve years of age.
Children over the age of 12 In general, children over the age of twelve years, depending on the childu2019s level of exposure to on-screen violence, should be able to cope with the filmu2019s violence and horror. However, children within this age group may benefit from parental supervision.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: X Men 2
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence
Length 133 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

X-Men 2 is a science fiction action tale of mutants (individuals with super human abilities) verses non-mutants. The film opens with the President of the United States being attacked in the oval office by a lone mutant. The President, convinced that a school for mutants is responsible for the attack, orders the integration of the school’s staff and students. An army official named Stryker leads an explosive assault on the school aimed at capturing all students and staff. While the school’s leader and head “good mutant” Professor Charles Xavier (a wheel chair bound super mutant) is captured by Stryker, a mutant X-Man named Wolverine together with a band of teenage mutants manage to hold the army at bay long enough for most of the school’s students to escape.

Following their escape from Stryker, Wolverine and the mutant teenagers team up with Storm and Jean, both mutants and X-Men, and set off in a futuristic jet to search for the Professor. While en route, the jet is forced down by Magneto, an evil mutant and the Professor’s archenemy. Magneto convinces Wolverine and the others that Stryker intends to use the Professor to control a machine called Cerebro to annihilate all mutants in existence. As a result, Wolverine and Co form a temporary alliance with Magneto to rescue the Professor and save the world’s mutants.

The combined mutant force locate Stryker and the Professor deep inside a deserted dam. They gain entry and overthrow all opposition, but rather than freeing the Professor, Magneto uses his powers to transform Cerebro to annihilate all non-mutants. Realising that they have been double-crossed, the X-Men and mutant teenagers team their powers in a nick of time to destroy Cerebro, saving the Professor and all non-mutants from annihilation.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Violent material is presented continuously throughout X-Men by both mutants and non-mutants (army/police). Mutant abilities are continuously employed for destructive purposes with non-mutants falling victim to the mutant violence.

All X-Men, whether male or female are portrayed as glamorous, attractive, athletic and stylish. The violence performed by X-Men was almost always explosive and successful whether portrayed by males or females.

The image presented by the evil male mutants was a mixture of pitiful, demonic and grotesque, while evil female mutants were portrayed as seductive, attractive and stylish. The violence performed by all evil mutants was ruthless and successful.

While graphic images were presented of non-mutants (police/army) being stabbed, punched, kicked, burnt, blown up, etc., the film seldom presented images of the real life consequences of the injuries suffered, eg pain and suffering. Usually, the mutant managed to escape injury either by good fortune or their mutant powers.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The following material could be scary for children under five:

  • the images of the mutants are themselves quite scary, with werewolf or bat-like characteristics, that is, sharp teeth and pointy ears
  • pitiful mutant is bound to a wheel chair with tubes and cables coming out of it’s head
  • small boy pokes out a reptilian forked tongue
  • mutant continuously transforms her appearance
  • demonic looking mutant transforms and disappears in a cloud of black dust
  • mutant flesh that regenerates
  • people are shot, punched, kicked, stabbed, burnt, blown up, thrown through windows, thrown against walls
  • an acid like substance is poured onto the necks of mutants
  • fire shoots out of the eyes of a mutant
  • mutants are gassed
  • a mutant is shot in the head
  • mutant made tornadoes
  • rockets explode
  • an out of control aircraft plummets to the ground
  • large explosions, with people being thrown through the air
  • a mutant is injected with liquid metal
  • a man chained to the wall of a dam
  • a woman is swept away by flood waters
  • children are shot, abducted and imprisoned.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Although X-Men is fictional, all of the violent images presented portrayed realistic injuries and threats to life there were no scenes involving molestation or sexual assault. While there were no threats from aliens or the occult, there were mutants with alien or occult like characteristics.

Sexual references

X-Men contained no explicit sexual references.

Nudity and sexual activity

There was no nudity presented in X-Men, however, many of the female characters wore revealing clothing including low cut tops and tight fitting pants.

Sexual activity amounted to a couple of quick kisses between mutants. The exception to this was a scene where a mutant enticed a prison guard into a toilet cubicle with promises of sexual favours. There was some quick kissing, non-specific groping and the pulling off of some clothes. The adventure was cut short however when the mutant, with a more sinister purpose in mind rendered her victim unconscious.

Use of substances

  • There were several scenes involving Wolverine smoking a rather fat large cigar.
  • A scene in a bar involving images of alcohol consumption. There were no scenes of people intoxicated.
  • A scene involving a prison guard in a toilet cubicle being injected with a metallic looking substance.

Coarse language

The use of coarse or low level language was kept to a minimum, such as:

  • ‘why are you being such a dick’
  • ‘sucking on your mama’s tit’
  • holy shit
  • shit.

In a nutshell

Rather than a good versus evil battle, the film X-Men is a battle for the acceptance and survival of diversity within a population, or a battle against the discrimination of a race due to their differences. As a result, parents may wish to discuss some of the fears and misconceptions associated with the discrimination of minority groups.

Values in the movie which parents may wish to encourage include: the value of diversity, equal gender roles, friendship, loyalty and endurance through adversity.
Parents may wish to discuss the use of violence and deception as a means of achieving desired ends, and discuss alternative methods of conflict resolution.

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