Stylish, exciting and an occasionally poignant sci-fi adventure spectacle, this adaptation of the Marvel Comics series about misunderstood mutants counts among its unexpected bonuses flashes of wit and a thoughtful subtext. Though the setup is
complicated, director Bryan Singer stages it efficiently; viewers unfamiliar with the comic books shouldn't have any trouble. In the not-too-distant future, mutants — humans with extraordinary powers — are as numerous and unpopular as illegal aliens, leading McCarthyesque Senator Kelly
(Bruce Davison) to advocate their wholesale registration. Telepathic Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart, in the role he was born to play) run...