Tony Stark is the man behind the mask. This time, he is back for a third Iron Man movie, which follows the previous two Iron Man movies and wildly popular Avengers movie. In Iron Man 3, Tony comes face-to-face with a new nemesis, while having to spend most of the movie without his normal array of battle armor.
The movie starts off by showing how “human” Tony Stark has become: sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, and inner turmoil that he wrestles with for the whole movie. In fact, a strong theme of Iron Man 3 is Tony’s attempt to prove to himself that he can be a superhero without the super suit.
Tony fights against yet another nemesis, the Mandarin, who has become a national terrorist. The Mandarin plans various attacks, one of which seriously injures Tony’s longtime bodyguard and friend. At this point, Tony begins his mission of pure revenge against the Mandarin, vowing to not stop until he is dead (various other deaths provide motivation as well). This theme is not lost in the movie, as Tony continues to pursue the Mandarin until defeating him at the very end of the movie.
Now let me start off by saying this: As an adult who loves action movies and is a big fan of the Marvel superheroes, I really enjoyed this movie. Seeing Iron Man battling the bad guys was just plain awesome. The action scenes were exciting, the graphics were amazing, and the storyline moved along enough to keep me engaged the whole time. That said, this movie needs serious consideration from parents before they decide to bring their children to this movie.
First, let’s look at the positive themes in the movie. Tony Stark saves countless people while fighting the bad guys. He also changes how he spends his time, going from hours of self-indulgence in creating technology and having numerous one night stands to eventually making the decision to spend more time with those he cares about (such as Pepper). Tony learns how to treat others better, making friends instead of enemies. The value of human life is evident throughout the movie. Tony risks his life to save the lives of others, while the careless regard for lives by the Mandarin is clearly portrayed as evil. The theme of not compromising on morals is strong in Iron Man 3, giving Tony a better self-image as his character is slowly portrayed as the true superhero, one that doesn’t need his suit.
There are several areas of concern that parents need to know about that are in Iron Man 3. While not made very prominent, references to spirituality are made carelessly at a few points in the movie. For example, demons are mentioned in reference to evil enemies and crisis. Also, a reference to the Mandarin’s speech is described of having likeness to that of a “Baptist preacher’s” speech. There are a few other small references to spiritual matters, but they are portrayed in a neutral light. Other negative elements are covered in the Look Out! Content section.
Look Out! Content:
Iron Man 3 brings back the scantily-dressed women, and it seems to have brought even more women into this movie than the previous two movies. A strong theme we see in Ironman 3 is the poor portrayal of women. Regardless of their social status or day-job (even a famous scientist joins the crowd), many women are shown in their underwear and are involved in situations that send very strong sensual messages. To put it frankly, you can expect four to five scenes of under dressed women throughout the movie.
Tony and Pepper (his girlfriend) are now officially together. Well, not truly, but they are seriously dating and living together now. This theme of co-habitation is portrayed as simply “normal” in this movie, without even a hint or mention of marriage being made. A reference to sharing a shower is also made.
Violence is shown throughout the movie in large doses. There is more gore and gruesome scenes in this movie than in previous Iron Man movies. This isn’t just Iron Man beating up robots, aliens, or a single bad guy. People die painful deaths, frequently blow up, are disintegrated or strangled to death, and die in various other ways.
The Mandarin is a terrorist who shares that he has purposefully sought out and killed women and children in order to enact “revenge.” His reign of terror is displayed as frightening, which is exactly what it would do to young children watching the movie. Video clips of murder are displayed several times as acts of terrorism.
The bad guys look awfully evil, having glowing eyes and bodies that characterize them. They also have the ability to shoot fire out of their mouths and regenerate limbs. While adults will understand the “storyline” behind the state of the bad guys, the ability to understand this theme will go way over the heads of children and younger teens.
For the language in this movie, suffice it to say that there are more than 20 crude references/swear words in this movie, including taking the Lord’s name in vain at least 10 times.
There were a number of warning flags in this movie for content that children shouldn’t be exposed to. The most upsetting scene I saw was when Tony Stark laughs in the face of a child whose father had left him years ago, then tells the child to stop acting like a p**** and get over it, because all dads leave. Wow. (Also, it was a totally unnecessary addition to this movie, adding no value whatsoever). To top it off, this message was one of the clearest messages in the movie.
While there are several positive themes in this movie, the negative content definitely makes this movie not child-friendly. Personally, I would not recommend this movie for children. Their level of cognitive ability means that they cannot comprehend this movie like teenagers and adults could. I would also add that there are plenty of other action-packed movies that are more appropriate for children than this movie. Iron Man 3 would be an exciting action movie for mature adults and teenagers to watch, but it is not worth exposing children to the negatives themes evident throughout Iron Man 3.
Kid-Friendly Rating: Thumbs Down