A year ago, I was more than a little uncertain about going to see "The Wolverine", largely because "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" were both pretty poor. I'd heard good things about "First Class", but I don't think I'd actually seen it by then (turns out it's a good one), so I'd more or less decided to give it a miss.
Only I found myself in the US on a business trip, with a free evening with not much to do, and a nearby cinema. So I went, and I rather enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed more than anything was the 'stinger' at the end of the film, and suddenly I was very excited to see the next film, "Days of Future Past".
So, LC and I went to the cinema on Saturday to see the film, and I was not disappointed. The film rather neatly blends the 'classic' and "First Class" casts through the medium of time travel, everyone fills their roles admirably, and the whole thing moves at a decent clip. There is one face-palm moment, but even that's suitably in-character - the character in question has form for messing things up at key moments.
In my opinion, it's the best X-Men film since the second one (which for a long time was the best superhero film since "Superman 2". Of course, the title of "best superhero film ever" was eventually taken by "The Dark Knight", and then by "The Avengers").
So, yeah, go and see it. Unless you don't like superhero films, of course.
And now, a spoiler:
Possibly the best outcome of this film is that it serves as a "semi-reboot" in the same way that the time-travel aspect did for "Star Trek". This means that, going forward, the writers can use as much, or as little, of the 'existing' film continuity as they want. In particular, this means that some of the mistakes of "The Last Stand" and "Wolverine" can be essentially ignored. This is probably a good thing, as it gives them a better platform for progressing.
#22: "The Redemption Engine", by James L. Sutter
(Surprisingly, this novel has toppled "The Hundred Days" as my current "book of the year". I say 'surprisingly' because it's game-related fiction, which is notoriously awful. But this was surprisingly good. That said, it's not going to last long - it's about to be superseded itself by my current novel...)