“Logan” wears its Western influences on its sleeve. James Mangold had already directed a classic of the genre in “3:10 To Yuma” and was a huge fan of one of its defining movies — “Shane.” The gunslinger who cannot escape his troubled past or the violence that defines him is Logan’s spiritual predecessor. No matter how hard he throws himself into a simple life and tries to seek refuge in a domestic setting, trouble hunts Shane down and forces his hand until all hell breaks loose. Wolverine may not wear a Stetson, ride a horse, shoot a Colt 45, or chew tobacco, but he’s every inch an outlaw who’s been on the trail for far too long and is weary and worn to the bone. As Shane tells Joey in the scene from the movie which plays in Charles Xavier’s hotel room, “The killing. There’s no going back from it.”
Apart from “Shane,” Johnny Cash, whose signature song “Man in Black” plays over the end credits, also influenced “Logan.” Mangold, who directed the Cash biopic “Walk The Line,” said that the singer struck him as a similar character to Logan, in that he wasn’t fussed about celebrity or adoration, but was more focused on perpetually battling his inner demons.