Back in 2000 when the first X-Men movie was released it was notable for being good by the notoriously low standards of comic book based films. X2 made a marked improvement, but with a handful of exceptions, (Spiderman 2, The Dark Knight) there has always been the nagging caveat of being "good for a comic book movie." Logan has transcended that barrier. It is not just a great movie, it is a great film. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have an incredible report and give the best possible ending to almost 20 years of history.
Logan offer a brutal look at the realities of a world in which powered individuals live. There is no glamour, only regret and pain. Logan has lost everything and continues to lose anything he holds dear. As much as I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is a serious problem with there never being any stakes or consequences. Civil War gave up the opportunity to kill Steve Rogers in favor of a last act spat with Tony Stark. In the end nothing is dramatically different. There is no real loss. Characters never have to live with their decisions for more than a moment. Any character they decide to kill is a one and done appearance anyway. Nothing ultimately matters. Across all superhero movies, there has always been a tendency to kill characters off screen and only hold on those moments for the briefest amount of time possible. Logan does not shy away in the face of death. Everything always comes to an end and Logan spends the entire movie desperately trying to fight off the inevitable.
What Logan does so well is not only serve as the best story that Wolverine has had to date, not only serve as the most exceptional and cathartic payoff to decades worth of performances, but also give a place in the canon to the failed films. While Days of Future Past presented Origins and Last Stand as history to be retconned and removed, Logan gives those films a place to coexist within the universe. Making the X-Men not only real, but also comic characters in their universe presents the opportunity to view the worse movies in the series a hackneyed fictional retellings of events that actually happened to Logan in his past. The bad pacing, forgotten details, and bad performances are a distorted representation told by those who did not understand the actual events. It welcomes the flawed past and misfires as part of what makes Logan great when everyone else has shunned them away to be forgotten. Without the characters real world failure, Logan would not have reached the same heights. While DoFP was busy jumping in with popular sentiment and abandoning the worse films in favor of the new canon, Logan has elevated them. In a masterful move, Logan actually makes Last Stand and Origins better.
X-Men: First Class finally has a film to pass the baton of 'Best X-Men Movie' to. Logan is far and away the best the franchise has ever seen and shows what is possible when you go beyond just respecting the source material.