Aaaand just like that: we're back on track.
And all it took was the making of two sub-par Wolverine spin-offs, two misguided X-Men films and the return of the franchise's original director as well as several familiar faces.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past had two very clear missions:
1- Fix the franchise somehow, ridding it of all its plot-holes and inconsistencies.
2- Be fun and actually pretty good.
Luckily, both missions are accomplished admirably despite all the time-travelling and plot tweaks getting in the way of pure Sentinels-on-mutants action. Besides, time-travel plots have rarely proven to be the best way to sort out plot holes, quite the opposite in fact as going back in time only raises more questions and brand new plot holes. That said, by the first 5 minutes, none of that will matter as you should be well and truly hooked after sitting through a thrilling look at the sinister neon-lit future awaiting us and the X-Men should Wolvie not go back in time to the groovy 70's in order to stop some dude with a funny name (and a funky moustache) from creating the unstoppable, adaptable Sentinels.
It's just like an episode of Rick And Morty, minus all the burping and drooling, basically.
Hugh Jackman is, of course, back as Wolverine and, this time, he is central to the plot simply because he's the only one who could physically survive the "trip". Once his consciousness is sent back into his old body, he not only has to convince a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to believe his goofy story but get him to break Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of jail, get them to work together and stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Bolivar Trask (an underused but perfect Peter Dinklage). The 70's part of the film is more whimsical with allusions to JFK being a mutant, a cartoon Richard Nixon popping up about halfway through, some trippy retro nods, playful fast-talking (fast-everything) new entry Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Magneto carrying stadiums and such. Meanwhile, there's a really dark, dramatic X-Men film set in a dystopian future sitting in the background, showing up every so often to kick butt. There's not enough of that, frankly, but what there is is very well done and promises a lot for the upcoming X-Men Apocalypse.
With the return of Singer, we get an emphasis on character dynamics over mindless action and, although that means... well, less mindless action, it also means a more worthwhile film with more three dimensional characters and an altogether more involving plot.
Also: no Vinnie Jones.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past shows more style than the past four films in the franchise and, with John Ottman's score bringing back the old X-Men theme, this feels like a worthwhile reunion that's full of potential. The film still has its flaws, from Lawrence's rather bland Mystique to maybe one too many jokey moments and that stupid-looking Beast from X-Men: First Class, but, by the end, you should be left pretty satisfied by the direction the franchise has taken. Cast-wise, Fassbender is once again brilliant as Magneto, McAvoy still works as Xavier though he's very much un-bald in this movie and Jackman, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and co all do a good job despite some new characters barely getting any lines (Blink, Bishop) and Nightcrawler still being inexplicably absent from the proceedings. Oh well, at least Kevin Bacon and those boring silly mutants from First Class aren't invited to the party.
Saying that X-Men: Days Of Future Past is the best X-Men film thusfar may sound like a big statement but, looking back, even the rather good X-Men 2 wasn't perfect so I think it's fair to say that it's at least right up there with the first sequel: it's got some truly kickass moments, an impressive cast, it's fun and also darker plus it fixes a few annoying little bits of garbage left dangling from the dump truck that is the state of the X-Men franchise prior to this flick.
All that to say: it's good, go see it.
And I was the last person to expect a decent X-Men film, trust me.