Iron Man 3



Fewer playboy antics, but still plenty of violence.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: May 1, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

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, 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

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.

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.

What's the story?

Ever since "New York" (the climactic events of The Avengers), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hasn't been the same. 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?


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.

Although IRON MAN 3 is fun to watch, when compared to The Avengers, it comes up short. Sure, 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movies in the Marvel universe. How does Iron Man 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 3, 2013
DVD release date:September 24, 2013
Cast:Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr.
Director:Shane Black
Studio:Paramount Home Media Distribution
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures, Robots
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

This review of Iron Man 3 was written by

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What parents and kids say

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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 disappointed with this movie. I was kind of hoping that since Disney bought Marvel and are advertising these movies on the kid-friendly Disney Channel and selling products in the Disney Store, that these newer Marvel movies would be slightly more family friendly. I can definitely say that this movie is worse and less kid/family friendly than the others. The first thing I noticed was how much language there was in this movie. 95% of the bad language was completely unneccasary and by the end of the movie it just started to feel like they were throwing it around just to use it. One that that really shocked me was when Tony Stark told a 12 year old boy that he was acting like a "p*ssy" for being upset over his dad leaving. Really Disney? This movie also was the first Iron Man and Marvel movie to introduce religious profanities. The use of the words *od dam* was used in this movie. There was also a lot of sexuality and drinking. This movie was also a lot heavier on violence. This movie showed real people blowing up, catching on fire, being shot, murdered, people falling from planes, beat up, broken and and bloodied and lots more. Honestly, I was kind of done with the movie about half way through. It just really bothered me that Disney would consciously market this type of a movie to children and families. Sure, I understand that this is a Marvel movie and probably meant to be more of an adult oriented film, so please stop marketing this film to children. Even without all the negatives, I feel that this movie didn't even really live up to the previous two. I was kind of bored and the movie seemed to go on longer than it needed. Overall a big disappointment. Parents, think twice before taking your children to see this movie. The language alone is bad enough and the violence is ever worse. Sad to see that this is the direction Disney and Marvel are taking with these films.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 just REALLY DISTURBING. Language wasn't as bad this time, but still a problem. But the violence was ridiculous. Most of it wasn't even exciting violence, it was just grossly unsettling violence that very few kids would like. The scenes with the Mandarin (that's the bad guy) were horrible. With scary flashing images, and of course, the live murders. In one scene, he just kills someone and has it broadcasted across the country. It was extremely disturbing. I think Common Sense made this sound much less gruesome than it really was. The violence was WAY WORSE than Common Sense claimed. In fact, there's several scenes involving people being killed for no reason. As Common Sense said, even Tony Stark himself kills random security guards in an almost glamorous way, as if it's cool or fun. And, of course there's the creepy demon-looking people the Mandarin uses that appear frequently throughout the movie. It's as if the producers of this film wanted the audience to feel creeped out the entire time. And there's lots of scary scenes involving fire. Of course, there were some heroic scenes, and those were great, but the stuff in between was horrible. And, it didn't teach me any sort of lesson, no positive role models except maybe Colonel Rhodes. I'd skip it. Don't take young kids. It wasn't good. I didn't like it and you probably won't either.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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, and some funny lines from Tony Stark. I have a feeling this will be a box office smash. UPDATE: Now it is a box office smash. And I'm tired of the overprotective parents. There are many PG 13 movies that are just as bad as this. I thought I Am Legend was a little disturbing, but this was NOT DISTURBING AT ALL! But it might be for kids under 9 or 10.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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