Dir: Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brian Cox, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman

More does not necessarily equate to better. Hence, this sequel has a lot more mutants than the first one...but is not as effective. With little background or reason to care about the new arrivals, what they do bring is mostly problematic. For example, Nightcrawler can teleport, yet decides to gain access to the President by fighting his way past every single guard in the White House. The rest are largely forgettable, save Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), who does get a cool, vicious battle against Wolverine, though even this is largely a repeat of what Mystique did first time round.

There are some interesting aspects: Magneto (McKellen) is a much more ambivalent character this time, and also gets the most memorable sequence, escaping from his Perspex* prison. The chief villain is now Stryker (Cox), a government agent with a plan for mutant genocide; we'll take the unsubtle moral posturing about tolerance towards minorities as read, shall we? And despite a promising start, the action side is spread thinly over 130-plus minutes, disappointingly reliant more on whizzo-but-obvious CGI than anything else. Admittedly, for the first 30 minutes, my brain was thinking about the Matrix Reloaded trailer which preceded the movie. Hard for anything to compete with that, but I'd like to have seen X2 try to appeal to more than the fanboys. Instead, the first big summer pic of 2003, is also the first big disappointment.

* = "What's Perspex?", asks Chris. I never realised it was strictly an English term; American browsers can read "acrylic prison". It's not as pleasantly alliterative though... :-(


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