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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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X2
DIRECTED BY BRYAN SINGER
RELEASED: 2003

Why's it so good? X2 manages the difficult task of splitting its time between all the members of the vast X-team, as well as finding room to make us care about the new additions (take a bow, Nightcrawler) and amp up both action and drama. In short, it's all things to all mutants, and that's an achievement indeed.

X2 X2
How does it stack up to the original? X-Men had to establish a world, its mutants and society's attitude to them, as well as delivering an actual bad guy and his fiendish master plan. It had, as a result, very little time left for such fripperies as drama or action. X2 was able to hit the ground running, character-wise, leaving room for 69% more excitement. And fewer lines about amphibians getting struck by lightning.

Glaring error: Bryan Singer leaving the sequel in favour of Superman Returns, allowing Brett Ratner to deliver a lacklustre take on the Phoenix Saga that is so well set up here.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 33 MONTHS


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