The Wolverine may not be suitable for young kids

Kaavya Sivakumaran got a sneak peek at the new Wolverine movie, opening today. Check out her review, including parental advisory warnings.

Wolverine
Photo: Ben Rothstein for Twentieth Century Fox Films.

For a record-breaking sixth time bringing the same comic book character to life on the silver screen, Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman is back and more raging than ever in The Wolverine, which hits theatres today.

With his indestructible adamantium claws, ageless and self-healing skin, sometimes-burdening immortality, and an origin story unlike any other in the mutant world, Wolverine has become the face of the X-Men franchise and an ideal of both human and superhero strength. But be warned, parents: although this metal-infused soldier is a role model for courage and perseverance, the plotline may be too complex for young children and the film is riddled with scenes of violence and gore.

The premise:

Taking place after X-Men: The Last Stand, when Logan/Wolverine was forced to put an end to his love interest Jean Grey’s life, the immortal half-man-half-metal mutant isolates himself from society, believing that he is relieving the world of one more danger. But his retreat is unexpectedly disturbed when feisty, sword-swinging Yukio (Rila Fukushima) lures him to Japan to visit an old friend.

After being confronted with the possibility of true mortality, Wolverine soon discovers that things are not what they seem, as he is yanked into a precarious world of Yakuza gang members, corrupt politics, and stealthy ninja warriors. On a mission to protect the life of Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto), the beautiful heiress to Japan’s leading industrial empire, Wolverine wrestles with the demons of his past as he struggles to find his inner hero and learn what it really means to be human.

What we loved:

Despite the film’s dark and violent nature that make it unsuitable as a family-friendly movie, older children can still enjoy the bits of humour that are peppered throughout the film, the martial arts scenes void of graphic content, and the seamless special effects used to transform humans into mutants and bring big destructive metal machines to life.

Kids are sure to enjoy watching a caveman-like Wolverine sit grudgingly in a bubble bath, prodded with scrubbing brushes by the Yashida residence’s maids. Tiny redheaded Yukio’s self-proclaimed role as Wolverine’s bodyguard may also warrant a few chuckles. Adults are sure to appreciate both the realistically picturesque (and the appropriately grungy) Japanese scenery, Wolverine’s increased vulnerability and humanness, and — for nostalgia’s sake — Jean Grey’s (Famke Janssen) occasional appearances in Logan’s dreams.

Parental advisory:

As previously mentioned, this film contains back-to-back scenes of — at times — disturbing violence and gore, as well as frightening imagery, some offensive language, and sexually suggestive content.

A few scenes that may be particularly hard for younger kids to watch include:

  • A man’s hand is stabbed with a knife and then drenched in alcohol;
  • Three men commit suicide by stabbing themselves in the hearts;
  • A man is shown completely burnt during the re-enactment of the Nagasaki bombing;
  • A man cuts open his own chest;
  • A mutant’s powers causes her victims’ skin to boil and burn;
  • A mutant peels off her snakeskin.

Other scenes that may be deemed inappropriate for children include the very last bit of Wolverine’s bathing scene, in which his lower backside is just barely shown. In addition, some comical-but-strictly-adult jokes are made when two characters are forced to spend the night in a Japanese love hotel together, and a there are a few romantic encounters throughout the film, although nothing explicit is shown onscreen.

Canadian rating:

PG — Parental Guidance is Strongly Advised

Final verdict:

Brimming with bloody fight scenes and imagery that is not for the weak-stomached, parents are more likely to enjoy The Wolverine’s intense character development and adult humour on a night out by themselves. With its complex plot and somewhat graphic content, I wouldn’t recommend the film for children under the age of 14.

An additional note for fans of the franchise: Make sure you stay seated for a few minutes once the end credits begin. You won’t want to miss the potential teaser of the recently-announced X-Men: Days of Future Past, due in theatres next year.

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