Straight away let's be clear about what Logan is not: it is not a Dark Knight, nor a Guardians of the Galaxy. It is not a deep, meaningful analysis of the genre, nor is it a perfectly executed romp of action and comedy. So, if that's what Logan is not, then what is it? Well, to start with, it is the best iteration of Wolverine to be produced in live-action, by quite some way.
Hugh Jackman practically is Wolverine in most people's minds at this stage, and has certainly given great performances as the character in the past. What has frequently lacked is a greater sense of the comic book hero's purpose, drive and self. That has largely been due to bad plot lines, poor scripting or jarring morality swings, but luckily Logan doesn't fall foul of any of those problems. There is still the occasional piece of clunky dialogue and the overarching plot never dips too far below the surface, but everything is tight enough to never detract from Jackman's performance. On top of a "good enough" script, Jackman is deftly propped up by a solid supporting cast; there are no whiny Cyclops' or emotionless Psylocks in this outing.
Part of why Wolverine works a lot better ninth time around (yeah, I know...) is that the studio finally lets him off the proverbial leash. Though the filmmakers deny it, Logan likely owes some debt to Deadpool proving that adult-rated superhero films can still make bank. The result is a Wolverine who can finally fight properly, going berserker within minutes of the film starting and returning to that primal, instinctive state multiple times throughout the film. There's no glory in it either, which is a fantastic decision. Where Deadpool was content to splash gore left, right and centre, Logan treads a more realistic line. It is visceral, but it never feels truly gratuitous, perfect for the fighting style of a fully trained soldier with little moral compulsion.
Yet, crucially, Logan himself remains empathetic and nuanced. He is neither an anti-hero nor a hero; he is just a man trying to do the right thing. That's a core part of Wolverine's character that previous films have failed with. Logan does care, but he's driven to coldness by a life of nightmares, loss and conflict. Logan treads this line finely, allowing the titular character to have moments of bull-headedness whilst balancing them with some deeply fascinating relationships.
Because, where Logan truly excels at finally getting Wolverine right isn't just the fighting - it's the relationship with Chuck. Patrick Stewart's long run with the franchise ranks as one of the oddest in cinema history; he is an extraordinary actor we keep returning to a role far outside his norm. Thank god he has, though, because as with Jackman, Stewart has simply become his mutant alter ego and in Logan he is finally able to put his acting skills to true use. Watching a version of Xavier who is losing his grip on his own mind, and therefore powers, is a fascinating plot but when acted with the sincerity Stewart brings to the role it is frequently heartbreaking. If there is one thing I could wish of Logan it is that they cut 15 minutes of the fight sequences for a further 15 minutes of interactions with Professor X. The writers did both characters, and their often argumentative relationship, proud.
The rest of the cast are brilliant as well. Steven Merchant presents a much deeper version of Caliban, though his presence as a character does feel a little odd given the plotline of Age of Apocalypse. X-23 is brilliant and will surely win over even the hardest of fan hearts with her final moment rotating the grave marker, creating a surprisingly clever and poignant scene. Even the antagonists work well, even if they remained a little 2-D throughout. Really, my only major problem was with CG Jackman (I assume CG was involved). The "primal" version of Wolverine, X-24, is a plot element that I can totally get working on paper but was actually unnecessary. Despite plot mandated screw-ups, the Ravagers were actually pretty competent and had some scary tech at their fingertips. I can forgive X-24's existence entirely for the pivotal role he played at the farmhouse, which was a surprisingly well-choreographed plot twist, but ultimately it would have been nice to get a bit more development for him.
Overall then, I really enjoyed Logan. It didn't leave me wanting to rush out and watch it again, nor did it open up deep philosophical questions, but it is a solidly executed and very enjoyable film. The plot is ultimately a bit shallow but this is more than made up for by the depth of the character interactions. It's certainly one of the most mature X-Men films and arguably Marvel films in general, and I don't mean that in terms of film rating. It is the first Wolverine heavy film I've seen which left me wanting a sequel, which is almost ironic considering the final ending.