But Logan reminds us that as good as these temporary joys may be, they will all pass away. Our brain and bodies, and those of our loved ones, will soon yield to the sway of the universe. It’s then, as judgement nears, that we are faced with the questions we should be asking now—the same questions Cash sang about so charismatically near the end of his life.
Though it’s the most mesmeric, stirring superhero film since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, perhaps this is the best way to interpret Logan—not as just another gritty reboot of a childhood fantasy, but as a parable for the fleetingness of life and the hope that can be found in what we do not deserve.
Fitting enough, the last image of the film, just before “The Man Comes Around” begins to play, features a sign of hope—one that carries a special weight for the Christian viewer. Might Logan find the grace he longs for? Superheroes, after all, don’t live forever—and as Cash sings, even the best of us will ultimately be tried by a righteous judgment:
The hairs on your arm will stand up.
At the terror in each sip and in each sup.
Will you partake of that last offered cup,
Or disappear into the potter’s ground?
When the man comes around.
Wade Bearden is the co-host of Seeing and Believing, a film and TV podcast at Christ and Pop Culture that searches for the sacred on screen. He's also a writer, film critic, and adjunct instructor at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Wade lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and son. You can follow him on Twitter (@WadeHance)