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Movie Review

The Wolverine

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

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Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Superhero Sci-Fi Action Adventure 3D Sequel
2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 26, 2013 (wide—3,700+ theaters)
DVD: December 3, 2013
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

What would it be like to live in this world for hundreds of years and be unable to die?

death in the Bible

a ronin—a samurai without a master

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer




Featuring: Hugh JackmanLogan/Wolverine
Rila Fukushima … Yukio
Svetlana Khodchenkova … Viper
Will Yun Lee … Kenuichio Harada/Silver Samurai
Famke JanssenJean Grey
James Fraser … Allied POW
Nobuaki Kakuda
Tao Okamoto … Mariko Yashida
Ian McKellenMagneto (uncredited)
Patrick StewartCharles Xavier (uncredited)
more »
Director: James Mangold—“Walk the Line,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “3:10 To Yuma
Producer: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Marvel Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“The fight of his life will be for his own.”

Sometime after the events of “X-Men 3: The Last Stand,” Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is living a nomadic life amidst the mountains of Canada. He’s apparently renounced civilization and vowed never to kill again. Yet ghosts from his past will bring him out of his self imposed exile and soon thrust him into the heart of a modern day war for control of Japan, pitting it’s most powerful family against gangsters using ruthless Ninjas as their muscle.

The ghost, as it turns out, was one of his own making. While a prisoner during World War II, he had saved the life of a Japanese soldier named Yashida. Almost 70 years later, he is the head of one of Japan’s largest conglomerates, and on his deathbed he summons Logan in order to repay the debt he owes him from so long ago. Yashida knows Logan considers his immortality a burden, and he offers him a cure which Logan promptly refuses and prepares to go home. Before Logan can leave, an attempt is made to kidnap Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), and Wolverine must rescue her.

More questions than answers plague them both. Who wants Mariko kidnapped and to what end? Where did the unknown archer come from that is tracking and aiding Mariko and Wolverine in their fight against the assassins? What does Mariko’s fiancé, Japan’s shady Minister of Justice have to do with Mariko’s father Shingen? Perhaps most disturbing, why has Logan’s ultra fast healing factor stopped since his arrival? Can Wolverine finally be dying?

Violence: Heavy to extreme. A movie featuring a hero with deadly sharp, unbreakable claws, mobsters with guns, ninjas with poison tipped arrows and brandishing swords supply the inordinate amount of violence you might expect. Ensuring a PG-13 rating meant that most fatal wounds took place just off screen or below camera, including many impaled or cut by Wolverine’s claws. Mostly bloodless, the fights are very violent and show some blood after the fact. A man is thrown through a skyscraper window, a person is hung, and various body parts are crushed, and some WWII soldiers are seen committing suicide with their swords. Discerning parents should keep in mind that PG-13 almost always means that it is not remotely appropriate for children under 16.

Language: Moderate. While the foul language is not as pervasive as some PG-13 movies, we should ask ourselves, what kind of barometer is that? “Sh**” or variation of the same was used 4 times, “ass” twice, the even more foul “Ass-h***” was said two times, followed by the insulting female term “bit**” three times and “balls” once. The MPAA has decided to allow the use of the “F” word once during a PG-13 movie and so we get to hear the hero say this late in the movie. Other inappropriate language includes talk of a “love hotel” and the giggling sounds of people behind closed doors in that same hotel.

Sex/Nudity: Moderate. Nothing blatant shown, but near nudity includes: servant women bathing a reluctant Logan (barely visible butt crack), a pair of women in underwear at a private party and the deceased X-Man Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who appears frequently in Logan’s dreams sleeping next to him, is always wearing cleavage bearing lingerie. Logan is seen waking up in bed with a girl with sex being implied from the night before—but was not shown.

One can understand the dying Yashida’s desperation to avoid death: the Japanese generally do not believe in an after-life and suicide in the country is very high. Yashida says he understands Logan’s plight and slyly tells him, “Eternity can be a curse.” He warns him he is in danger of becoming a Ronin, a Samurai without a master. How close is that to the truth if you understand that eternity will be a curse unless you accept the Lord God as your Master. The Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, refers to God as our Lord and master, and it’s only when we try living for and by the Master’s will that we can call him Father.

“But you are not to be called, ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on Earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in Heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” —Matthew 23:8-10

“If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” —2 Timothy 2:21

“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.” —Romans 8:14-15

Yukio (Rila Fukushima) has grown up alongside Mariko ever since they were kids, so when Shingen, Mariko’s father, says to her, “You are a toy doll. A companion for a child that has outgrown you,” it hurts her deeply. Mariko will soon counter the hurt when she calls her friend and her defender, “sister.”

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” —Proverbs 18:24

Wolverine endures an epic battle one-on-one, but when it comes time to deliver the killing blow he doesn’t—a reminder that, though he bears the name of a beast, he is a man changed for the better, and a mark of that is the showing of mercy.

“He has showed you, O Man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6:8

Perhaps the most poignant lesson came from Yashida himself when he tells Logan, “You say a life with no end can have no meaning, but it is the only life that can.” Whether we want to admit it or not, we all will have an eternal life, and that is why the whole of the Bible encourages us to seek Him who savesJesus Christ. The alternative, while too terrible to behold, is likewise promised as it was revealed to his prophet Daniel.

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” —Daniel 12:2-3

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” —John 6:47

Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer

A lot has changed from the original tale as done by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in 1982; whereas the crux of the plot once focused on duty and honor, it has now become one of finding a purpose to one’s life. That is a shame. Japan, like America, has, of course, changed over the decades, and the world, through the media, mocks traditions as anachronistic or “old school.” Fortunately, when it comes to God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and eternity is indeed something we will all think about at one time or another.

How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer

Are you going to Heaven?Are you going to Heaven? Are you SURE you know the answer this extremely important question? Or have you made some common wrong assumptions? Find out now!

An exciting action film on its own merit, “The Wolverine” might as well be considered “X-Men 4,” as it continues the storyline developed earlier and, in fact, counts on the audience’s knowledge of the prior films on more than one occasion. The directing shows a sincere consideration of both Japanese filmmaking and its culture, which gives this action film more depth than one would normally expect. The film tells a compelling story, and I enthusiastically recommend it, but only for adults and older teens, and hope it sparks discussion on nobler things.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate—“My G*d” (1), hell (4), damn (1) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This movie was pretty good, in my opinion. Worth a look for any X-Men fan. Even my wife enjoyed it, and she’s not even into X-Men movies. The kids will love it, and I think it will be appropriate for anyone 12 and over. Yes, lots of people got shot, and Wolverine did slice and dice a few people with his claws, but they showed very little blood, and it was not gory, because a lot of the violence was off camera. I was surprised to see a Samurai movie where no one’s head was chopped off.

Although I did hear one F-bomb, and I think the S-word was used, the profanity was not excessive. I would recommend this for the entire family, as long as your kids are old enough. The only thing that I can see that may offend some Christians is the fact that X-Men is based on the lie of Evolution. Overall, I felt this movie was very entertaining, and like most X-Men movies, I’d advise you not to go running out of the theater as soon as the credits roll, because there is a little something afterwards.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Framk, age 44 (USA)
Positive—This review will remain spoiler free. I should state, Wolverine has always been one of the more… darker X-Men. He has claws, is indestructible, has an attitude and as said can be a beast. So anyone seeing this movie should know it will not be good for kids. They definitely pushed the limits for a PG-13 movie. Compared to Origins: Wolverine, this has more violence, more scary scenes and a bit more swearing. Nothing extremely bad compared to a R rated movie. But you can tell they were upping the ante so to speak.

Wolverine cuts through endless amounts of bad guys. As enemies do the same to each other. You don’t really see blood except for a scene or two. Near the beginning there is a scene where he kills an animal to put it out of its misery. This alone may scare kids and confuse them. Granted they do now show wolverine doing it. The nudity in this is not really there.

At most there is more comical scene where Wolverine is being bathed by a bunch of house maids to be presentable to someone in the movie. Very briefly you see just the very tip top of his butt crack. So what you count as nudity will determine to you if it’s bad or not. The F and s-word are mentioned about 3 or 4 times I'd say.

There is a scene where sex takes place with a woman whose engaged, but you don’t see anything. It just cuts from them going to kiss, to them waking up the next morning.

Overall, I loved this movie because of its background and the end scene right about 30 seconds after the credits start REALLY will amaze you for reasons I cannot say. This movie is even better then the last one and I would recommend it, possibly for teens. Not for younger kids though, to scary for them and to complicated in terms of some things that take place.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Matt, age 31 (USA)
Positive—I’m a big fan of the X-Men franchise, despite its occasional problems. I really didn’t like the first “Wolverine” film, so I didn’t expect much from this one. I was surprised therefore how much I enjoyed it. Decent script, interesting secondary characters, a predictable twist (but it doesn’t hurt the enjoyment of seeing it unfold), and good action scenes. Those hoping to see a lot of mutant characters won’t find them here—this is mostly a small story, about a family torn apart through greed and ambition. There were some faults (immodesty, for one, and an f-word), but, overall, it was very good. I’d watch it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Charity, age 30 (USA)
Negative—I forgot this movie was only PG-13. I was totally surprised—and disappointed—to hear the f-word in this movie. And to think it was PG-13!!!… What if I brought my young son?! I found this movie lacking in terms of a Wolverine/X-Men film. I know it was a stand alone film about Wolverine, but it included mutants, and I expected more of the mutants. (Slight spoilers to follow) The viper had a lot of potential but was a disappointment. Whereas my husband did not want to see a viper version of Mystique, the best part was where she showed her scales and molted… until she molted into a woman again, just bald.

I did like the adamantium creature towards the end in that it, to me anyway, held true to the Japanese kaiju type of monster, similar to Godzilla (or more recently the creatures in “Pacific Rim”).

But this movie just fell short for me. There was a lot of violence in it, too. A lot. Too much. I think back to the other X-Men movies that started things off and launched Wolverine into stand alone films, and I don’t recall near as much violence in the first two films (the third did kick up the violence level). Don’t view this one as PG-13. I’d think of it more as an R film, given the violence and blood and the f-word. There were other swears but that’s the grand daddy of them all in my book. And not surprising, it did nothing to better the story.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 40 (USA)
Negative—I had a very nasty surprise to tonight to hear the f-word used in a PG-13 movie. Not nice at all. The nastiness continues with Wolverine finding a man and his 2 lady friends in their underwear. This was not a quick glance. The film lingers on this scene, which should have never been there to begin with, way too long. The film is poorly fitted together and really has no purpose to it.

SPOILERS: I was really upset with Marvel at the end for destroying Wolverine’s adimantium claws. Very unlike the X-men or Wolverine.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lydia, age 26 (USA)
Negative—I was very disappointed in this movie and left in a bad mood. There was a lot of excessive violence and torture which is to be expected in this genre, but it was more violent than most. Also, there was a fair amount of swearing, including the f-word. In Canada, they lower our ratings, and so it was labeled PG here, even though it is technically a PG-13 movie. They actually put a sticker over the rating on the poster (shakes head).

So, I was a little shocked at the amount of swearing, and I was caught off guard as I sometimes forget how lenient they are here. I was also uncomfortable by the 17 year age difference between Hugh 45 and Tao 28 who were involved in a romantic relationship in the movie. I think it is positive that there was romance between people of different cultures, and, also, there were strong female characters, but I didn’t like that they indicated that they had sex even though this was not shown. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kathy Pj, age 53 (Canada)
Comments from young people
Positive—I felt awesome going into this movie, hanging out with some friends, full from a good dinner at Wendy's, and a wallet fatter than it should have been, because a friend surprised my by buying the ticket for me. Sad to say, this movie was good, but not on the level I expected it to be. I felt it got a lot more attention than it should have, and that Marvel could have done a better job with it.

The first Wolverine was great, but… “The Wolverine” sorta sucked. It might have been because it was the 10:45 PM showing, or just the fact that it seemed like none of the actors were really into their roles. I left in a good mood, looking forwards to getting in my car, turning the radio up loud and driving home and wishing I’d gone to see “R.I.P.D.” instead. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Fyzix, age 17 (USA)

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