The big question, 10 years after the first X-Files movie and six years after the series ended, is: What’s the point of a new movie? But the real question is: Why not? FBI agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) had unbeatable chemistry, and their combination, Mulder as a believer in the supernatural and Scully as a scientist (who believed in God), made for interesting—and ultimately unanswerable—questions. And here they are again, still cool and attractive but a little older and retired from FBI life. Scully now works full-time as a doctor, while Mulder skulks around in a back room in their shared house, combing the newspapers for interesting events. (Their son is not present and mentioned only in passing.)
In a case involving a missing agent, a psychic and convicted pedophile called “Father Joe” (Connolly) has been providing agents Dakota Whitney (Peet) and Mosley Drummy (Joiner) with just enough information to keep them guessing. So Mulder is coaxed back on the job to determine the man’s reliability. Meanwhile, Scully faces a dire situation at work—a young boy with a terminal illness. Can she save him? Should she try? That’s the centerpiece of this film; the questions are a bit more elusive than usual and a bit less interesting. Likewise, the story, about a Frankenstein-like mad doctor who experiments on his kidnapped patients, plays a bit more like a lesser TV episode than anything that should be viewed on the big screen.
It’s as if director and co-writer Carter decided to make a movie without knowing what kind of story to tell. Moreover, the show was still running when the 1998 film was released, so there was a kind of anticipation for the film to provide some big answers. That thrill is gone, but we shouldn’t discount the place for epilogues and endings in pop culture. Now a couple, Mulder and Scully discuss and banter some more (and it’s a lot more interesting than conversations about the mortgage or taking out the garbage), and they get to ride off into the sunset.