X2 was much better than the first X-Men movie in terms of story, action, and characters: the story’s landscape of light and dark is interesting: the X-Men are the good-guy mutants, Magneto and his gang are the bad-guy mutants, and then there are the regular humans. But the line between good-guy mutant and bad-guy mutant is blurry: Magneto has a complicated relationship with Professor X, and genuinely doesn’t want to hurt him. Wolverine, a good guy, has no qualms about eviscerating anyone who threatens him. All the mutants were more sympathetic than many of the mundane humans, who either feared the mutants or sought to enslave them. The action and eye-candy were fast-moving and epic in scale–real big-screen material. The first X-Men movie portrayed the characters as embarrassingly incompetent in a fight. Not this one. And while many of the characters were wooden in both movies (notably Cyclops, who makes Al Gore seem as wacky as Al Yankovic), it was nice seeing Mystique’s character get fleshed out a little. Casting Alan Cummings as Nightcrawler was perfect, and what can you say about Ian McKellen? He’s great. Classes up the joint, too.
I felt the ending was extremely contrived and unsatisfying. Drew thinks its a setup for the next sequel.