Logan cranks the ideas in Shane up a notch. The avenging Wolverine slicing off limbs right alongside Laura, revealed to be a daughter/clone who shares his powers (adamantium claws and a healing factor), but even levels-up with blades in her feet and more acrobatics that befit a young girl. Wolverine's battering ram build compared to her grace. The skull-drilling and amputations are a bit shocking, but (unlike many contemporary violent movies), rooted in the drama of these characters. For the superhero genre, specifically the X-Men series that very recently had January Jones camping it up in go-go boots, this level of gritty, un-stylized violence is a bold choice.
"There's no living with a killing," Shane tells Little Joe, and Logan echoes in a speech to Laura. "Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks. There's no going back." For all the deification going on in Shane and Logan, both heroes make it clear that there are some actions for which there is no redemption.
James Mangold holds a mirror up to Logan and reflects him back as Shane. He miraculously pulls it off, doing something that audiences and box-office watchers have already established, but few critics were ready to admit it. The superhero movie is no longer just quips, spandex, and fan-service. It's a major American genre, and one that is malleable for the silly and the profound. And Logan is the most profound one yet.