The natural evolution of the human race has led to the rise of mutants: unique individuals with extraordinary powers, and sometimes unusual appearances. Feared and hated by many "normal" humans, these mutants each find their own way to deal with a world that doesn't understand them.
Two leaders with opposing views have risen amongst their ranks. Professor Charles Xavier believes that humans and mutants can live together in harmony, and runs a "school for the gifted" where mutants can explore their abilities in a nurturing environment. Xavier's former friend, holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr, believes that mutants must fight for their existence by any means necessary--and if that means annihilating humanity, then so be it.
In X2, the follow-up to 2000's smash hit X-Men, these two leaders with differing philosophies find that they have a common enemy: the mutant-hating General William Stryker. Now, the bearers of the X-gene face their biggest trial yet...
The ensemble cast of X-Men was large enough, and it only gets bigger in the sequel. For those unfamiliar with these characters from the formidable superhero roster of Marvel Comics, here's a brief introduction to let you know who the key players are...
Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) The leader and surrogate father of the X-Men, Professor X has extraordinary telepathic skills. He believes strongly in human/mutant co-existence.
Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Ian McKellen) A violent extremist who supports mutant survival at all costs, Magneto possesses remarkable control over magnetic fields and all things metal.
Logan, aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) A loner with a mysterious past, Wolverine is armed with deadly, unbreakable claws and a healing ability that allows him to recover from almost any wound.
Scott Summers, aka Cyclops (James Marsden) One of the leaders amongst the X-Men, Cyclops can unleash powerful blasts of concussive force from his eyes, which is controlled with a ruby quartz visor.
Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) A member of the X-Men and potentially one of the most powerful mutants, Jean is a brilliant doctor and hot redhead with telepathic and telekinetic powers.
Ororo Munroe, aka Storm (Halle Berry) Another leader amongst the X-Men, Storm has the power to control the weather...and to win Academy Awards.
Rogue (Anna Paquin) One of the younger X-Babes, Rogue can absorb the lifeforce and mutant powers of anyone she touches skin-to-skin.
Bobby Drake, aka Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) One of the original X-Men in the comics, but a junior member in the movie, Bobby can control liquid temperatures and manipulate ice.
Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) An agile mutant who uses humor and an amicable personality to overcome his scary appearance, Kurt can teleport short distances in the blink of an eye.
Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) A deadly mutant who is frequently on Magneto's side, the slinky, kung fu fightin' Mystique can morph into just about any being she wishes to mimic.
Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu) A lethal vixen with a vendetta against Wolverine, the melodramatically named Lady Deathstrike boasts razor sharp claws that protrude from her fingers.
John Allerdyce, aka Pyro (Aaron Stanford) A young mutant who shacks up with the X-Men while he figures out his place in life, Pyro has the power to manipulate (but not create) fire.
General William Stryker (Brian Cox) A fanatical mutant-hater, General Stryker leads a task force that takes it upon itself to purge humanity of all mutants--good and bad.
AND THE REST...
Kitty Pryde, who was briefly seen in the first movie (she was the girl who could walk through walls), has a more substantial role this time, but she's still not a major character. In the various X-Men incarnations to date, Kitty has traditionally been "the cute, girl-next-door" one. Other X-Men making minor appearances amongst a crowded cast include Colossus, Jubilee, and Siryn.