Story

The Wolverine begins with Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as a prisoner of war in Nagasaki at the end of World War Two. When the atom bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Logan saves the life of a compassionate Japanese soldier named Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi). In return Yashida offers Logan his prized Samurai sword. Logan refuses the offer, telling Yashida to keep the sword safe for him.

The movie jumps to the present day where Logan is in self-imposed exile. He is haunted by the ghost of Jean Grey (Framke Janssen). Logan’s reclusive life doesn’t last for long because he is sought out by a sword-wielding young woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima). Yukio wants Logan to return with her to Japan so that the aged and dying Yashida (now the owner of Japan’s richest technology company) can give Logan a gift and thank Logan for saving his life 60 years earlier. When Logan meets Yashida, the gift Yashida offers is to relieve Logan of his immortality, enabling Logan to live a normal life. Logan refuses.

After refusing Yashida’s offer, Logan finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy plot. Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who is in line to inherit Yashida’s empire, is at the centre of the plot. Logan is attracted to Mariko and decides to be her protector. Together with Yukio, Logan battles Japanese villains until he finds out who is really behind the conspiracy plot.

Themes

Mutants and special powers; immortality; Samurai warriors

Violence

This movie has extended sequences of intense violence and peril; some scenes showing emotional trauma; cruelty against animals; gruesome images; and blood and gore. For example:

  • Three Japanese officers commit ritual suicide. The scene shows them from behind as they kneel down and stab themselves several times in the stomach with short swords. We don’t see the actual injuries.
  • After the atom bomb is dropped, there’s a gigantic explosion and a mushroom cloud rises up into the air. Then a firestorm rushes towards two men. They jump into a well and one of the men uses his body and a heavy iron lid to shield the other man as they are engulfed for several seconds in flames. The first man is badly burned while the shielded man gets mild burns on his face.
  • One emotionally disturbing scene shows Logan sitting up in bed next to a woman who has two large bloody stab wounds in her abdomen. Blood spreads across her nightdress. It looks like Logan has unintentionally hurt the woman while having a violent nightmare.
  • Mariko’s father slaps her hard across the face. A short time later a distraught Mariko tries to commit suicide by jumping from a high-rise building. Logan stops her.
  • In an epic action fight, Logan/Wolverine defends himself and Mariko against Japanese mafia assassins. The fight scene shows extended sequences of stylised martial arts fighting as well as lots of gunfire. Wolverine is shot in the body many times and has multiple bloody gunshot wounds on his torso. Wolverine uses his claw blades to stab many men. Yukio uses a wooden staff to fight off many male attackers. She also punches and kicks them.
  • One scene shows a wounded and distressed grizzly bear lying on the ground with a large arrow sticking out of its back and several bloody patches on its body. An upset Wolverine puts the wounded bear out of its misery by stabbing it in the throat with his claw blades. The bear screams as it dies.
  • A man hits Logan over the head with a bottle. There is a bloody gash across Logan’s cheek. Logan pushes his fingers into the wound and removes a bloody piece of glass.
  • A woman mutant hisses like a snake, spraying a mist of venom into a man’s face. Blisters and burns disfigure the man. After a few seconds of agony, he drops dead. The movie has several similar scenes.
  • Ninjas silently attack a group of men, using chains to strangle some victims while shooting others with arrows. One ninja kills a man by twisting and snapping the man’s neck.
  • Wolverine battles against a giant armoured samurai warrior. A man fires an arrow through the eye slit of the armoured warrior’s helmet, but then the giant warrior uses a flaming sword to impale the archer. Wolverine severs the giant warrior’s head and reveals a normal man’s head beneath the armour. A woman then stabs the man in the head and throat.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by all of the violent scenes and the scary characters in this movie. Other scary and disturbing scenes include the following:

  • Logan is engulfed in flames after which he has blackened pieces of skin hanging from his body and all the hair burned off his head. After several seconds his body regenerates. The burned skin disappears, new skin grows back and his hair grows back.
  • Wolverine uses his claw blades to make a cut in his own chest. He reaches inside and pulls out a parasite with his bloody fingers. The wound in his chest heals within seconds.
  • A mutant woman uses her claw-like fingernail to make cuts in her own face. She peels back the skin of her face and pulls off her hair to reveal a bald head.
  • The life force is sucked out of Wolverine and transferred to an aged and dying man. Wolverine’s eyes turn grey and his skin takes on an aged appearance while the aged man transforms into a young man. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also very likely to be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual innuendo. For example:

  • After being forced to take a Japanese bath and washed with scrubbing brushes by three Japanese women, Logan jokes and says, ‘I feel violated’.
  • Viper (a woman) walks past a group of men. One of them says, ‘How much?’ 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters including Logan drink Bourbon and champagne.
  • In a couple of scenes a man dips an arrow in poison. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie shows some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • A dream-like scene shows Logan lying in bed with a woman. She is wearing a low-cut light slip that shows bare shoulders and cleavage. Wolverine kisses her shoulder. In a similar scene the woman lies on top of Logan and kisses him on the lips.
  • Logan lies naked in a large bath tub, being scrubbed clean in a traditional way by three clothed Japanese women. The scene shows his naked torso and back and part of his buttocks.
  • Logan and Mariko kiss passionately on the lips. They lie in bed together.
  • A man in underwear is in a room with two women. One woman wears lingerie while the other wears a revealing dress. The man is kissing one of the women on her neck. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Nokia phones, brand-name cars and motorbikes. Merchandise associated with the movie is also being marketed to children. 

Coarse language

This movie has a scattering of coarse language and name-calling throughout. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Wolverine is a fantasy action adventure based on a Marvel Comics character. It targets teenage boys and adult men, as well as Hugh Jackman fans and followers of the X-men movies.

It has frequent and extended scenes of intense violence that become almost gratuitous towards the end of the movie. It isn’t recommended for children under 15 years and has many scenes and scary characters that would terrify younger children.

The main message from this movie is that all of our actions have consequences – nothing is without meaning.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness and bravery. For example, throughout the movie, Logan/Wolverine shows selflessness and bravery towards others by repeatedly putting his life at risk after he loses his immortality.

You could also talk about the lack of real-life consequences for much of the violence in the movie.