Directed by: Brett Ratner
Written by:Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kesley Grammer, Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore, Cameron Bright
Released: May 25, 2006
Grade: B+

If you liked the first two X-Men films, you’ll enjoy this one too.  It has the same characters and the same overall message but a few unexpected surprises keep it fresh and interesting.

This time around, the mutant world has become divided over a cure which has been developed by regular humans.  Some mutants see it as a blessing.  They don’t want to be different and want to use the cure to become human and to fit back into society.  Other mutants see it as a threat.  They think the humans want to take away their powerful abilities so that they no longer have to live in fear of them.

Most action films have a good side and a bad side.  The X-Men series is a little different because there are more than two sides and the line between good and evil is blurred.  There is a group led by Magneto (McKellen) who want to take vengeful action against humans for their interference in the mutant world.  There is a group led by Professor Xavier (Stewart) who wants to protect mutant rights but will only do so through diplomacy.  There are also the humans themselves.  Some appreciate and respect the mutants whilst others see them as an enemy.  Complicated isn’t it?

There are many characters and each has their own agenda.  The one problem with this is that some cast members receive very little screen time.  Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) was one of the most popular characters in the first two movies and has been rewarded with more screen time.  On the other hand, characters such as Rogue (Paquin) and Pyro (Ashmore) appear to have been pushed into the background.  A few of the new mutants (such as Angel) are also underdeveloped and you get the feeling we won’t find out more until the next movie is made.

A new director is at the helm for the third film.  Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films, is directing Superman Returns (due for release in a month).  Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 2, Red Dragon) is his replacement and has done a good job.  I don’t think he’s as visually creative as Singer but Ratner gets the story across and it still looks pretty cool.

Comic book adaptations have been extremely popular over the past decade.  With their exciting stories and fun characters, I can only hope that the trend continues.