Iron Man 3

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Iron Man 3 Movie Poster Image
Fewer playboy antics, but still plenty of violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 129 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 150 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Iron Man 3 has some of the most obvious messages in the franchise to date: that with power and opportunity, even the purest of intentions can mutate into hubris, greed, and ruthlessness. It also deals with themes of identity, anxiety, curiosity, humility, and the necessity of a moral compass. There's a clear distinction between the heroes and villains, with the exception of one misguided character who's confused.

Positive role models & representations

At this point, Tony is a much different man than he was in the first movie. He's committed and selfless, he acts as a heroic father figure to a young boy, and he saves strangers as often as he does friends -- though there are also scenes in which he casually (and almost glamorously) kills a villain's bodyguards. Rhodes is Tony's steadfast companion and best friend; Pepper is generous and patient with Tony's stubbornness and mood swings.


Although the violent confrontations are most graphic toward the end of the movie, there are plenty of cringe-inducing images in the first half, too: The Mandarin stages executions and big bombings in several public places that cause a ton of collateral damage and critical injuries, a man is assassinated on camera (audiences hear the gunshot but don't see the dead body), and a house is blasted to smithereens by missiles. Guards/bad guys are killed casually. There's also a huge battle between mutated soldiers and Iron Man and his remote-controlled suits. Weapons include the high-tech Iron Man suits, guns, bombs and explosives, and fists, though there's less robot-on-robot fighting this time and more humans involved in the violent moments.


Pepper and Tony kiss a few times. Pepper wears a sports bra and low-slung trousers in the movie's final sequence. In a flashback, Tony has a one-night stand with a woman who's briefly shown in her bra and panties. Also in a flashback, Tony makes jokes about "going to town on" a woman he's with for New Year's Eve. A villain views Pepper as his "trophy," and a bunch of bikini-clad/lingerie-wearing women laze about in a Miami mansion (two of them await a man in bed at once in one scene). A few short scenes take place at a beauty pageant, with women wearing skimpy swimsuits.


Language includes one "s--t" and one teasing "p---y," plus "damn," "d--k," "what the hell," "ass," "crap," "idiot," "jerk," "bloody hell," "freak," "spaz," "goddamn," and "oh my God."


Slightly fewer product placements than in Iron Man 2, but there are still several prominent close-ups of Audi cars, a Dora the Explorer watch, the companies Oracle and Sun, and PBS' Downton Abbey. Skype is also seen/used.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Characters drink at a New Year's Eve party and at a bar. A character admits he had a problem with substances and is often seen chugging a beer. But this is Tony's soberest movie.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Iron Man 3 is another big-budget entry in the Marvel universe, and after the immense popularity of 2012's The Avengers, it will have huge appeal for tweens, teens, and adults alike. The violence is as explosive, large-scale, and pulse-quickening as you'd expect from this franchise. While the body count and mass devastation aren't as high as in The Avengers, scenes of both extremely destructive public bombings and casual shootings could be disturbing; overall, there's a bigger "human" factor to the violence here than in Robert Downey Jr.'s previous Iron Man movies, which involved more robot/machine action. On the other hand, there's less sexuality here (aside from a mention of a one-night stand and shots of women in bikinis or bra and panties) than in the other two, and language is on the milder side (one "s--t" and "p---y," plus "goddamn," "jerk," "hell," "ass," etc.). Expect some drinking and product placement. Iron Man 3 is as much about Tony figuring out who he is without the suit as he is with it, and there are some mature themes about identity, anxiety, the dangers of unchecked power, and the necessity of a moral compass.

User Reviews

Adult Written byVoicetek May 5, 2013

Not Kid Friendly

I'm a 32 year old male who loves superhero/action movies. I'm a big fan of Marvel and the previous Iron Man movies. However, I was really disappoint... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written byLongstride May 3, 2013

A little too much for young minds...

This is obviously not aimed at young kids (PG 13?) but every little boy from say 5 and up loves superhero's and with all the toy/game tie in's that ar... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bywestonyoung May 3, 2013

Disturbing, again I will say, disturbing

I'll be honest. It wasn't good. As I walked in the theater, I was so pumped for the Friday night premiere. But, I will say, almost the whole movie was... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 3, 2013

My New 3nd Favorite Suprehero Movie

The Avengers is #1. Green Lantern is #2. Like the others, there's plenty of action, and some swearing. There's less predictabality, some surprises, an... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ever since "New York" (the climactic events of The Avengers), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hasn't been the same, and everyone can see it in IRON MAN 3. He rarely sleeps, he spends most of his time creating more Iron Man suits, and he delegates his responsibilities to others. Stark Enterprises is in the hands of his beautiful professional (and personal) partner, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and the civilian saving goes to Stark's courageous best friend, Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and his own suit, now renamed The Iron Patriot. But there's a new danger afoot in the form of terrorist leader The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who uses mutated soldiers as his weapons of choice in bombings around the world. When the villainous Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), a scientist Tony spurned in 1999, kidnaps Pepper and destroys the Stark mansion, Tony must figure out how to save the love of his life -- and all of America, of course -- from the powers of evil.

Is it any good?

Although this sequel is fun to watch, when compared to The Avengers, it comes up short. On the positive side, Downey Jr. is always entertaining as Tony Stark/Iron Man, particularly in the flashbacks to 1999, when he's at his most self-aggrandizing, selfish playboy genius. Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), who takes over directing responsibilities from Jon Favreau (now a producer with a recurring supporting role), delights in Downey's gift for fast-talking banter and whip-smart one liners, but he also concentrates on Stark's newfound vulnerability and possible sense of unworthiness when compared to his fellow Avengers. For the first time, Stark is anxious. He knows how devastating it would be to lose the one thing he loves -- Pepper -- and he wonders whether Capt. America is right, and he's just a guy with a souped-up suit.

The Mandarin is an evilly delicious villain (you'll see), and Pearce's Killian is a formidably sleazy foil (and cautionary tale) about remembering who you've blown off in the past, but after a big reveal, the story folds up a little too neatly (save for one surprise), and Tony's anxiety attacks start to feel a wee bit over the top. Ultimately, if you watch all the way past the credits, you'll be rewarded with a cameo sequence that will excite Marvel fans and remind viewers that no matter how fun these individual superhero stories are, it's the promise of more Avengers that's the best.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movies in the Marvel universe. How does Iron Man 3 stack up against the other Avengers films? Do you prefer the individual superhero movies or The Avengers together? Why?

  • How has Tony changed since the events of The Avengers? How is this movie a response to Captain America's question about what Tony is without his suit? Why does Tony wonder whether he's as worthy as his other "super friends"?

  • Tony's going through an identity crisis in Iron Man 3. Which other superheroes have comparable moments of introspection of anxiety with their "super" gifts?

  • Are weapons of war glamorized in the movie? Should weapons be portrayed as that shiny and cool? What message does this send?

  • How do the characters in Iron Man 3 demonstrate curiosity and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

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