What the critics say:
Chris Hewitt, Empire: During shooting, Singer constantly referred to The Empire Strikes Back as his template – and, by jove, he’s made a movie that’s worthy of the comparison. On its own terms, though, it’s a truly great genre sequel.
Nev Pierce, BBC: X-Men 2 shares its predecessor’s problems of story and self-containment: there’s a hyperactive narrative and too much assumed knowledge. Whatever its merits as part of a series, it struggles to satisfy as a stand alone movie.
Charles Gant, Heat: Packed with vivid performances, sharp dialogue, dry humour and striking visuals, X-Men 2 is a smartly conceived, thoroughly enjoyable package.
Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review: A smooth, shiny entertainment that hums like a jeweled clockwork toy.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Alan Cumming, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, Bruce Davison, Brian Cox, Kelly Hu, Kea Wong, Cotter Smith. Director: Bryan Singer. Released: May 1.
X-Men 2 opens where the original ended, with dastardly villain Magneto (Ian McKellen) incarcerated in his plastic prison and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) striving to combat human prejudice towards the mutants.
All of the Professor’s good work comes to nought when an assassin called Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), who possesses the ability to teleport himself instantaneously, successfully overcomes the White House defences and threatens the life of US President McKenna (Smith).
Shaken by the experience and fearful of further attacks on himself and his people, McKenna relents on his softly-softly approach and empowers renegade General William Stryker (Cox), a staunch advocate of the Mutant Registration Act, to neutralise the threat posed by Xavier and his cohorts.
Against their better judgement, older mutants including Wolverine (Jackman), Jean Grey (Janssen), Cyclops (Marsden) and Storm (Berry) join forces with the newly liberated Magneto and his shape-shifting accomplice Mystique (Romijn-Stamos) to thwart Stryker and his men.