Iron Man Movie Poster Image

Iron Man



Great action, lots of style, some iffy stuff.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: April 28, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

"Good guys" and "bad guys" are pretty clearly delineated, but there's some ethical iffiness on both sides. Extensive discussion of the morality of weapons sales, as well as the nature and character of maintaining peace through possession of the biggest guns.

Positive role models

Tony is a carefree playboy who eventually discovers a conscience and tries to do good. He's initially captured by terrorists, but another character offers him aid, assistance, and moral guidance. The movie's villain is clearly a bad guy.


Extensive, constant sci-fi action and war violence. Characters (including kids) are held at gunpoint; adult villagers are rounded up by bad guys and separated from their kids; wounded characters bleed; people perish in explosions or at the hands of weapons; Iron Man's armor shoots energy rays, micro-missiles, and, in an early version, flames -- all of which are used as weapons (the flame throwers result in some massive fireballs). Characters in high-tech power armor have impressive, super-powered fistfights.


Some making out and tumbling about in bed (partially clothed woman); a young woman wakes up in a bed covered only by a sheet, presumably after sex, and then walks around wearing just a man's shirt; stewardesses dance suggestively (a stripper pole is present but not used); much is made of Tony Stark's reputation as a playboy. Some flirting.


Mild sexually suggestive language. Fairly infrequent use of words like "damn" and "hell." Generally, tame langage for PG-13.


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. Contextual references to Burger King, and characters drive Audi cars (both companies have promotional agreements with the film). Verizon cell phones. A montage includes several mock magazine covers with visible logos: Time, Newsweek, Wired, Rolling Stone, and others.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol is consumed frequently; one character enjoys a cigar, albeit mostly as a prop.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids may clamor to see this fast-paced, action-packed comic book-based adventure. But it's definitely more age-appropriate for teens than younger children. Although much of the violence is clearly meant to be based in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy -- and/or is shown at a distance -- there's plenty of it, from massive explosions to children held at gunpoint to super-powered fistfights. Some of the violence is war themed, and some characters get hurt and/or die. While much is made of lead character Tony Stark's devil-may-care lifestyle of fun and frolic, viewers also see him turn away from the more irresponsible aspects of playboyhood. Language is minimal, and sexual content is more suggested than shown overall -- though there are a few eyebrow-raising moments.

What's the story?

Bringing another Marvel Comics hero to the big screen, IRON MAN begins as brilliant billionaire industrialist/inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is abducted during a weapons demonstration tour in Afghanistan. Grievously wounded by the very weapons his company manufactures, Stark is forced by his terrorist captors to build a missile; instead, he designs a high-tech suit of armor to make his escape. Returning to America, he wonders how the bad guys got hold of his company's products and vows to set things right with the help of a rebuilt, stylish new iteration of the powered exoskeleton that made his escape possible.

Is it any good?


Director Jon Favreau keeps the film light and bright; the special effects are impressively crafted, and the setup for another film is handled gently and well. Iron Man knows that it's a comic book movie; not only does it have all the plot points and moral messages that we're used to from Spider-Man, Batman Begins, and others in the genre, but it also subtly mocks and twists them. The plot touches all the bases of the traditional "origin story" (how our hero becomes a superhero, his first outing with his new powers, etc.), and it shows plenty of hustle and style as it does so.

But if there's any one thing that makes Iron Man more than just a run-of-the-mill superhero film, it's Downey Jr. His work here is funny, human, heroic, and completely engaging, capturing the brisk breezy laugh lines, the adrenaline-fueled action, and the moments of bold purpose that every superhero has to have as they start out. He gives both Stark and Iron Man a little swagger and coolness -- in a field normally filled with nerds (Spider-Man's Peter Parker) or stiffs (Superman's Clark Kent), it's a refreshing change.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of comic book movies. Do they speak to escapism or darker fantasies about power?

  • How does the fact that much of the movie's violence is based in fantasy affect its impact? How is it different watching human characters get hurt than robots and other beings?

  • Iron Man may be a do-gooder, but he's no Boy Scout. Can heroic characters still be flawed? Does that make them more heroic or less?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 2, 2008
DVD release date:September 30, 2008
Cast:Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr.
Director:Jon Favreau
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Character strengths:Courage, Curiosity, Self-control
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 year old Written byChris01 September 10, 2009

Parents should be more careful reguarding the media they select for their children

Us parents, tend to be too liberal when it comes to making decisions reguarding movies our children should watch. I have noticed a reviewer ( even though he/she is only twelve) saying: " I've seen more violent movies than this", as if this argument makes it ok to go against what the experts say regarding violence for young children. Before being informed about ratings and age appropriate media for children, I let my 7 year old watch this movie. Now that I am informed ( after a huge amount of research) I can say that I regret letting my son watch it. I don't care what a turn around "Playboy" tony had towards the end of a movie. He is shown in bed with a stranger ( and I don't want anyone giving me ANY crap that they did not show anything. REGARDLESS, you do not need to show the whole sex scene for the child to subconsciously comprehend that tony just had an "adventure" with that reporter only to have left her dumped in his room to be escorted by his secretary and to make things worse, to not even have remembered her name when he encountered her again. Parents, may I remind you not to judge the sexual and violent scenes according to the 30+ years you have been living, but, instead, according to the kind of scenes a child should be exposed to? May I remind parents that children MUST be exposed to good role models of masculine and femenine behavior. It doesn't matter that Tony had a turnaround in his life. The problems he had were on an adult level. Problems should be more at the child's reality. If it does not, I think that is a clear indicator that the movie is inappropriate. For example, can it be possibly good for an 8 or 9 year old to learn from a Playboy bandit turn good? The problem he turned away from is by far, ages away from youngsters realities.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bybeachgrl123 April 9, 2008

Too Intense and Violent

I took my 3 kids 14, 12, 8 to see it thinking it would be somewhat like Transformers. Much more of a older teen movie!! My two younger ones and older daughter watched the movie with their eyes covered through many of the blow up scenes. One scene shows a middle eastern soldier holding a gun to a father and the kids begging for him not to be killed. That was barely a second in the beginning but I thought was awful. Too much violence and too intense for little kids I think. This movie is better for 15-17 year olds. I hate how the trailers make it look so "cool" and then you get there and it is much more violent than you would expect.
Teen, 13 years old Written byrobinrunner March 21, 2011

Superhero fans will have a field day with this movie

Action packed with lots of suspensful scenes. I enjoyed it. parent's may not like the cursing and how the film potrays Tony Stark (Iron Man) as a sexual based person in some scenes.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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