Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wolverine, The

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Not suitable under 13, not recommended 13 to15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wolverine, The
  • a review of Wolverine, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 July 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 13 to 15 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Wolverine, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Frequent action violence and coarse language
Length 126 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The opening scenes of The Wolverine find 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) and in return Yashida offers Logan his prized Samurai sword. Logan refuses the offer, telling Yashida to keep the sword safe for him.

The film jumps to the present day where we find Logan in a 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 a now aged and dying Yashida (now the owner of Japan’s richest technology company) can give Logan a gift and say “thank you” for saving his life sixty years earlier. When Logan meets Yashida, the gift Yashida offers is to relieve Logan of his immortality, enabling Logan to live a normal life, a gift that Logan refuses.

 After refusing Yashida’s offer, Logan finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy plot with Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who is in line to inherit Yashida’s empire, at the centre of the intrigue. Logan, who is attracted by Mariko, takes on the role of her protector and together with Yukio, Logan battles with Japanese villains from all directions until he uncovers the real protagonists behind the attacks.                    

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Mutants and special powers; immortality; Samurai warriors

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains extended sequences of intense violence and peril, some scenes depicting emotional trauma, cruelty against animals, gruesome images and blood and gore. Examples include:   

  • One scene depicts three Japanese officers committing ritual suicide; we see them from behind kneeling down and then stabbing themselves in the stomach with short swords and making jagged movements with the swords- the actual injuries are not seen.
  • An atom bomb is dropped, resulting in a gigantic explosion and mushroom cloud rising up into the air. The detonation is followed by a firestorm rushing 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. One man is badly burnt while the shielded man receives mild burns to his face.   
  • One emotionally disturbing scene depicts Logan/Wolverine sitting up in bed next to a woman who has two large bloody stab wounds in her abdomen with blood spreading across her nightdress. The inference gained from the scene is that the wounds were inflicted unintentionally by Logan as a result of him suffering a violent nightmare.  
  • Mariko’s father slaps her hard across the face. A short time later we see a distraught Mariko attempting to commit suicide by jumping from a high-rise building; she is stopped from jumping by Logan.
  • One of the film’s more epic action fights involves Wolverine defending himself and Mariko against a host of Japanese mafia assassins. The fight scene contains extended sequences of stylised martial arts fighting as well as gunfire. Wolverine is shot in the body many times and has multiple bloody gunshot wounds to his torso. Wolverine uses his claw blades to stab numerous men. Yukio uses a wooden staff to fight off multiple male attackers, also punching and kicking.
  • One scene depicts 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. In a bid to put the wounded bear out of its misery, an emotionally distressed Wolverine uses his claw blades to stab the bear in the throat. The bear screams as it is killed.  
  • A man hits Logan over the head with a bottle. There is a bloody gash across Logan’s cheek and 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 and, after a few seconds of agony he drops dead. The film contains 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 his head to snap 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 and in retaliation the giant warrior uses a flaming sword to impale the archer. Wolverine severs the giant warrior’s head to reveal a normal man’s head beneath the armour; a woman then stabs the man in the head and throat.              

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

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

  • Logan is engulfed in flames after which he has blackened pieces of skin hanging from his body and all the hair burnt from his head. After several seconds we see his body regenerate with burnt skin disappearing and new skin growing back and his hair regrowing.
  • Wolverine uses his claw blades to make an incision in his own chest then reaches inside and pulls out his bloodied hand holding a parasite between his fingers. The wound in his chest heals within seconds.
  • A mutant woman uses her claw-like fingernail to make cuts in her own face then peels back the skin of her face and pulls off her hair to reveal a bald head.
  • In one scene, 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.   

       

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group would also find the whole film and particularly the above-mentioned scenes, disturbing.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also very likely to be disturbed by the scenes described above

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Nokia phone, brand name cars and motorbikes.

Associated merchandise is also being marketed to children

Sexual references

The film contains some sexual innuendo. Examples include:

  • After being forced to take a Japanese style bath and being washed with scrubbing brushes by three Japanese women, Logan in jest makes the comment “I feel violated”.
  • When walking past a group of men, a woman, Viper is asked “How much?”  

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains some partial nudity, and sexual activity. Examples include:

  • A dream-like scene depicts Logan lying in bed with a woman. She is wearing a low cut light slip that reveals bare shoulders and cleavage. Logan 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 manner by three clothed Japanese women; we see his naked torso, back and part of his buttocks.  
  • Logan and Mariko kiss passionately on the lips and are seen lying in bed together.
  • A man is seen in his underwear in a room with two women, one is wearing lingerie while the other wears a revealing dress. The man is kissing one of the women on her neck. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Scotch Bourbon and champagne are drunk by a number of characters including Logan
  • In a couple of scenes we see a man dipping an arrow in poison.

Coarse language

The film contains a scattering of coarse language and name calling throughout. Examples include: 

  • “what the hell”, “arsehole“, “shit”, “bitch”, “idiots”, “bullshit”, “old man”, and “go fuck yourself”

In a nutshell

The Wolverine is a fantasy action adventure based on a Marvel Comics character and targeting adolescent and adult males, Hugh Jackman fans and followers of the X-men series of films. It contains frequent and extended scenes of intense violence that seem to become almost gratuitous towards the end of the film.  It is not recommended for under 15s 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 a consequence - nothing is without meaning.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include selflessness and bravery: throughout the film Logan/Wolverine demonstrates selflessness and bravery towards others by repeatedly placing his life on the line when he is rendered mortal.  

Parents may also wish to discuss the lack of real life consequences of much of the violence shown throughout the film.

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