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Darren says

Another rare case of the sequel being better than the first film, Singer executes almost flawlessly, bringing to bear great storywriting and characterization of mutants in our world.

Tym says

The best. The EMPIRE STRIKES of the mutant series.

Ciaran says

It gets at the heart of the racial conflict that made the comics so poignant.

History

Bryan Singer basically invented the great modern superhero film, and with this classic he also invented its ambitious superior sequel.

Whereas ad hoc execs always bray for "bigger," Singer wisely brought scope and depth. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) had just become a blockbuster and—along with The X-Men—had cinched that superhero films were on the rebound at last. Now Singer steps forward to push the envelope. Singer is taking his cues from the templates of Superman and Superman II, but close viewing also reveals the influence of The Empire Strikes Back; he treats the first film as a prelude warm-up, the origin and debut, but now gets on into the darker and the deeper, the past and the future, and harder choices.

Singer’s main strength is in centering the films around Hugh Jackman’s riveting Wolverine, an outsider who brings the audience into the surreal ensemble team and its conflicted moral universe. Clearly based here on Eastwood’s Man with No Name, Wolverine is the fulcrum for the story, while the opposing philosophical ballasts of Magneto and Xavier weigh which way it will go: for self-destruction or for the selfless; for justice or just revenge; for fear or for hope.

Much of the film’s plot and emotional power comes directly from classic comics. In the main, Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson’s "God Loves, Man Kills" (1982), an early graphic novel that used its mature forum to challenge bigotry’s inevitable goosestep to genocide. And in parallel, Wolverine’s search for his secret past, based on the great Barry Windsor-Smith’s "Weapon X" storyline (1991). It also troubles the waters with ripples of Claremont, Byrne, and Austin’s "Dark Phoenix" saga (1980).

In this perfect moment, Singer became a tag team partner with Raimi, inspiring each other to raise the bar: The X-Men (2000), Spider-Man (2002), X2 (2003), and Spider-Man 2 (2004). Success brings momentum, but also the parasites. Now that money is being made, the studio greedos see a market trend to exploit. As usual, their interference will trip up this great run, but it has already set the standard and the smart rules for all the great hero films that will follow.

X-Men V: Days of Future Past