Let's all share a collective moment of clarity and admit that: 1) Wolverine will always be the coolest of the X-Men and 2) the first two solo Wolverine films were not very good. Okay, the second was actually pretty solid—right up until that robot Samauri showed up. Agreed? Good. Now that we're on the same page, we can start to understand why there was such uneasy anticipation surrounding the release of Logan in May. Factor in that Hugh Jackman was getting a little long in the claw for the physical demands of playing Wolverine, and that unease didn't seem so unfounded.
Once Twentieth Century Fox finally decided to take the kid gloves off the Wolverine franchise and let Logan go forward with a hard R rating, there was reason to hope. Turns out that hyper-violent edge that's so prevalent in many of the comic books was exactly what the movies needed to come together—not to mention a solid screenplay, a fully realized vision from Director James Mangold, and a final Wolverine performance from Jackman that's as harrowing as it is heartbreaking. Once it hit theaters, Logan became the one Wolverine film that satisfied critics, fans, and box office expectations—which makes it one of 2017's most pleasant surprises. One that might even play dark horse come Oscar season.