I enjoyed the developing, meatier story of this sequel more than the simpler one of the first, but for some reason I’m not thrilled by it as much, or as much as others seem to be. I feel it sags a little during the middle, only partly, but also in the finale, I was a little bored as it took it’s time to get where it was going.
The acting is on top form, if not better, with all cast returning alongside a few new faces to carry the film forward. Bryan Cox is wonderfully sly as our villain…can he be labelled as a villain even though he is a human trying to protect us? He chews up his scenes with great delight alongside time shared with Jackman, McKellen and Stewart, and all of them have such good chemistry, no scenes are boring or feel forced.
There is a greater sense of emotional depth to the story here, with the focus on fighting to be accepted for who you are and avoid the prejudice of others who cast you out without giving you a chance. Metaphors relevant in the modern world away from cinema are effectively mirrored here by Bryan Singer in his fictional world and it all adds to the development of many characters that grow and grow as the story progresses.
For all these reasons, it’s a great sequel and stands tall above others that fall before it trying to follow a well-received predecessor. For me though I found the story just taking a little too long to get where it needed to go, and even thought the special effects were once more good to enhance the action sequences, there was a lot going on in multiple threads all coming together for one long…over-long…finale for me and we could have cut 10/15mins off I felt without losing anything.
It’s still enjoyable, faithful to the source material and made with a great deal of love for everything down to costume and make-up and the exciting soundtrack by John Ottman, but while it’s a solid story and a great way to develop the characters we were introduced to earlier, I felt there could have been a little more given to us. What the little more is, I don’t know, I just felt it missed things in places.