Like most sequels, this follow-up adheres to the principle of bigger, longer, faster, more; unlike most, however, it has momentum to burn and ideas to spare. There are at least three climaxes, the nimbly shot action sequences expand in scale and duration, and several fresh recruits join the army of chromosomal variants camped at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Stand-out newbie is teleporting gymnast Kurt Wagner (Cumming, with Max Schreck teeth), introduced launching a violent one-man infiltration of the Oval Office. He was brainwashed to attack by William Stryker (Cox), a nefarious military scientist who needed ready made justification for an elaborate war on terror mutants. Professor X (Stewart) reluctantly musters his troops (telekenetic Janssen, lupine enforcer Jackman, ace weathergirl Berry) who forge an uneasy temporary alliance with imprisoned arch-nemesis Magneto (McKellen). The X-Men series brims with allegorical possibilities, and this serves up a superb comic book riposte to the current US government crusade of interior surveillance and exterior pre-emption. The emotional spectrum has widened, too, encompassing buoyant mirth and heroic tragedy. JWin.