Two great British thespians, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, battle for the future of mankind in this sci-fi comic-book adventure that also introduces us to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

In the near future, there are mutant people with super abilities that make them targets of prejudice.

Stewart is Professor Xavier, teaching his fellow mutants – including Jackman, Cyclops (James Marsden), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Storm (Halle Berry) and Dr Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) – to use their powers for good.

Confrontation comes in the form of McKellen’s Magneto, whose equally super group of rebels want to rule the world, believing that ordinary humans have had their day.

This energetic blockbuster laces its dark-edged story with humorous touches, mainly from tough-talking Jackman.

But, more than anything, an amazing amount of imagination has been lavished on this movie, with the state-of-the-art sets, designs and special effects exactly hitting the target for fans. Fear the rest, but trust us, this first episode in the ongoing franchise is X-plosive, X-hilarating and X-traordinary.

The equally impressive sequel, X2, follows at 9.00pm.