Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|Featuring:||Hugh Jackman … Logan/Wolverine
Rila Fukushima … Yukio
Svetlana Khodchenkova … Viper
Will Yun Lee … Kenuichio Harada/Silver Samurai
Famke Janssen … Jean Grey
James Fraser … Allied POW
Tao Okamoto … Mariko Yashida
Ian McKellen … Magneto (uncredited)
Patrick Stewart … Charles Xavier (uncredited)
|Director:||James Mangold—“Walk the Line,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “3:10 To Yuma”|
|Producer:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
|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
“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.
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 saves—Jesus 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
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 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.