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The debate about sequels which exceed their expectations and seem to be better films than the ones which spawned them continues, thanks to the sequel to the tedious original X-Men.
Someone smart works on the casting, with Jean-Luc and Gandalf returning as the Professor and Magneto, while Famke Jansen and Halle Berry beautify the scenes. Assembling a big-name cast for this sort of movie creates some frustration, as this story just needs to be told, and the opportunities for acting or speaking lines of any weight are slim indeed.
The action is fabulous and varied, however, with the different mutants having a chance to shine, as sometimes you really need Ice, occasional inclement weather and at other times a flame thrower to defeat the bad guys. Obviously Wolverine uses his Edward Scissorhands to despatch vast crowds of hoodlums, which is a bit strong for me, chaps, as I'm not a fan of slash, except in website addresses. Hugh Jackman does get a chance to act a little, but when he does so, he tells moody Shadeso (or whatever he's called - yes, I know, Cyclops) that Ms Jansen made a choice. Old Wolfy (most of the time he's more like the endearing bloke in the beret in the classic seventies sitcom Citizen Smith than the not-very-much scarier mulletted jerk on Gladiators) proved he could act in Swordfish, but I think he's now been in three movies with Halle Berry which is surely enough: move over, Hugh, and give the rest of male mankind a chance!
I especially enjoyed the villain from the Spice Girls Movie, heavily tattooed and demonstrating the Picard manoevre every few minutes.
The theme of the movie is 'outsiders', and the disability of Prof Xavier is once again underplayed by there for all to see. Mutants are many but polarised in society, and even the positive attitude of the X-Men organisation isolates the gifted children in the school where they can come under the benvolent teaching skills of Cap'n Picard. The dilemma of the IceMan and Bleached-Fringe-Girl, who hurt each other when they express their smoldering passion emphasises the complex issues for genetically challenged people.
This movie may not be as satisfying for the mind as Patrick Stewart promises, but it's a slap-bang thrill-a-minute sequel which doesn't waste time but gets on with the action and fills in the gaps later. I enjoyed this a whole lot more than the first film.
Roll on Matrix Reloaded!