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Darren says

What should have been the most crucial storyline of the first 3 movies becomes instead a mashup of two excellent storylines in a convoluted mess that is neither emotional nor engaging.

Tym says

Sigh. Takes the two most important story arcs and does neither well. (Spidey 3 disease.)

Ciaran says

Wasted opportunities, characters and deaths without meaning.

This film's true mistake is in trying to do two great storylines at once, and diluting both.

This grows out of its root problem; it wasn't created by Bryan Singer, who had to step away to do Superman Returns. To be fair, when all the X films are watched in order, director Brett Ratner's effort at cloning Singer is actually rather canny. And the two storylines, when considered singly, actually serve their sources generally well. There are many elements of this uneven film that are right and less appreciated, along with serious flaws that are very obvious.

One storyline is based on Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's acclaimed "Mutant Cure" storyline from Astonishing X-Men (2004). Whedon, another genre fan-cum-film pro, and Cassady stripped decades of clutter away and partied like it was 1979, advancing the best qualities of that Claremont-Byrne-Austin era. The core team returned (including dead ones), as well as the core conflict of empowerment vs. bigotry: given the option of a "cure" for their mutant abilities, what would each choose? This film's compression of that story is its most solid effort and should clearly have been its sole focus. Notable aspects are the handling of Angel, and Ellen Page's debut as an excellent Kitty Pride, though Magneto is too arch and cruel here, and the tone is murky and disjointed.

The other storyline is the "Dark Phoenix" arc from Claremont, Byrne, and Austin (1980). This is the problem. One of the most crucial and shattering stories in comics history is insensibly relegated to a B-story here (?!). In truth, the original was a protracted B-story as well, and it was its shocking ending that catapulted it to classic. But the sheer power of that climax, and the person at the heart of it, is so wrenching on the intimate and the epic levels that it clearly should have been a separate film. Here, it's perversely on pause, and deeply underserved in the climax. (A more literal interpretation would have been more cosmic and intense than the later Guardians of the Galaxy.) Despite the film's variable strengths, this fatal and foolish mistake is why the movie is so loathed by the community; it botched the most important X-Men story of all.

Singer wouldn't have screwed that up. And in the future, he would have to do some fancy footwork to fix it. But he does.