Bryan Singer’s X-Men (B+) is an epic superhero film and apt allegory for outsiders as so-called “mutants” find their way to a special academy for people with special powers and prepare for a clash between good and evil. Patrick Stewart plays the protagonist professor versus Ian McKellan as the sinister mutant with the ability to control metals, who has a disturbing past from WWII. Hugh Jackman is the breakout star as the wily, claw-bearing Wolverine, and Halle Barry and Anna Paquin are among the female warriors in the ensemble. Singer orchestrates quite a streamlined story given the overstuffed number of characters and continually impresses with his bag of tricks. This clearly marks the spot of a fresh new franchise.