It's not easy watching Logan: The Wolverine. Let me qualify that statement. I’m a fan of the X-Men franchise and this spin-off, which has now reached the third and final instalment stage.
And I don’t envy Mangold his mammoth task of giving fans proper closure with Logan: The Wolverine. But I do have mixed feelings about the movie. It stems largely from seeing the once-invincible Logan turned into a vulnerable, alcoholic and somewhat bitter chauffeur.
The story is set in 2029.
Much has changed in the world – the mutant population has diminished rather extensively. Charles Xavier (Stewart) is also a far cry from the powerful role he played in the lives of his students. The tables have turned. He’s aged and is in need of some powerful drugs to ensure that his seizures, which trigger powerful psychic soundwave tremors, is prevented. More so, with him having unwittingly claimed several lives.
Now Logan (Jackman) works as a chauffeur and his health is failing him. He looks the worse for wear, with his scraggly beard and additional wrinkles.
However, with news spreading of him being sighted around town, it’s not long before trouble finds him. Gabriela, a nurse formerly employed at Transigen, seeks out his help á la The Transporter style. She – accompanied by an 11-year-old girl named Laura (Keen) – needs to be transported to a place in North Dakota called Eden and she’s willing to pay the cash-strapped chauffeur handsomely for his troubles.
But all hell breaks loose before he is able to escort them to the designated destination. He learns that Laura was part a top-secret project, where mutant DNA was used to conceive children in the lab.
They were to be super soldiers but the project went pear shaped when they started acting out. The plug was then pulled on the initiative and they were to be put down.
Gabriela, along with her fellow nurses, managed to save a few of them. But they are now all being hunted down by the organisation, helmed by Dr Zander Rice (E Grant at his Machiavellian best) and his relentless security henchman, Donald Pierce (Holbrook).
Now it’s up to an ailing Logan, who goes on the run with Charles and Laura (a young mutant similar to him). There’s a twist there but I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.
The star of this show is child star Keen. She steals the show in every frame, whether she’s fearlessly fighting alongside Logan or not. Wise beyond her years, she is most capable of adulting when the situation merits it. There are a few scattered comic moments when her unruly behaviour – through no fault of her own, as she was conditioned to be a soldier – gets her into trouble.
Jackman and Keen are most believable in their respective roles, while Stewart takes on more of a “grandfatherly” responsibility where Keen’s character is concerned.
Unlike the previous movies in the franchise, Logan: The Wolverine isn’t a full-blown assault of action scenes. It’s paired with intense emotions and dramatic exchanges.
Did I get closure? No! I don’t think I could ever say goodbye to Wolverine and Jackman (sorry, I can’t separate the two). That said, Keen’s mesmerising performance helps steer the audience towards appreciating and accepting the poignancy and poetic ending of one superhero’s journey.
And the introduction of a ruthless clone of Logan in the X-24 project makes things very interesting.
If you liked…any of the previous X-Men and Wolverine movies...you will enjoy this.