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Sharing the world has never been humanity's defining attribute.


X2
(2003)

A huge leap forward. If Singer's never lived up to the promise of The Usual Suspects, this is the closest he's come since to making a solid film. 

Stewart is still a bit of a snooze (and yet again is sidelined by the plot), but McKellen's having great fun (his insults to scene-stealer Wolverine are particularly relishable). The additions to the cast all work well, from the sympathetic oddball Kurt Wagner (Alan Cumming) to main antagonist Stryker (Brian Cox) and young bad seed Pyro (Aaron Stanford - but a cop-out that his character doesn't appear to kill any officers of the law when he goes incendiary). 

Where this really improves on the first film is in the set pieces, from the opening White House incursion by Nightcrawler, to the attack on Xavier's school, Magento's prisonbreak and the sequences in Stryker's base. Occasionally it feels like a little self-conscious in awareness of the history of other part twos (Star Trek II and Empire, notably) and it's sometimes a bit on-the-nose (Bobby's parents asking him if he's ever tried not being a mutant), but this was by far the best in the franchise until First Class came along.

****

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