Iron Man (1994)



"Classic" 'toon isn't nearly as good as 2008 film.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Character flaws are addressed and dealt with; negative results of mistakes are clearly shown. The main bad guy, The Mandarin, is an almost-offensive Asian racial caricature.

Violence & scariness

Cartoon bombs and laser beams are used to solve all manner of disagreements.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Many Iron Man tie-in products are available.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that fans of the big-screen Iron Man are likely to be disappointed by how different this muddled '90s cartoon version is. There's also a fair bit of animated action violence and some iffy stereotypes connected to a bad guy known as The Mandarin. That said, while some of the characters' motivations are more adult-oriented than you might expect of a kids' show, overall the moral decisions they make provide decent examples for kids.

Parents say

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What's the story?

The basic premise of this IRON MAN animated series (which originally aired in the mid-'90s) will be familiar to fans of the 2008 film: Billionaire Tony Stark (voiced by Airplane! star Robert Hays) has an iron suit that allows him to function as a superhero. A phalanx of generic villains -- led by an almost-offensive Asian racial caricature called The Mandarin (Ed Gilbert) -- tries to steal each of his new inventions, but the bad guys are invariably thwarted, usually without much regard to logic or the laws of physics.

Is it any good?


In 1994, Marvel Comics introduced The Marvel Action Hour, an animated program hosted by comics superstar Stan Lee, who would introduce a half-hour Fantastic Four cartoon, followed by an Iron Man story. The stories weren't based on existing comic book plots, but were newly written, cheaply produced adventures. Thanks to the massive success of the 2008 film, the Iron Man segments have been dusted off, stripped of their live-action intros, and re-introduced to a generation of kids who frankly deserve better.

The plots don't make much sense, and there are so many characters flying around that it's hard to tell who's who. Many of the characters from the original comic book are here -- including James "Rhodey" Rhoades, MODOK, and even Fin Fang Foom (aka the villain with the goofiest name in all of Marvel comic-dom). Other characters were culled from a now-obscure '90s comic called Force Works or were simply created specifically for this cartoon. Regardless, so little time is spent developing any of these characters that there's no reason to care about them or their conflicts. Kids and parents who were wowed by the Hollywood blockbuster would be far better served to check out the original comic book Tales of Suspense (issues #39-99) to discover how Iron Man was introduced back in 1963 or the many updated Iron Man comics released over the ensuing decades. There's also a far more entertaining animated series from 1966 that uses the amazing original art of comics legends Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role of comic books in learning to appreciate the value of reading. Is reading comic books as "worthwhile" as reading books? Why or why not? How does watching this cartoon compare to the experience of reading a story? How is it similar to and different from the live-action movie?

TV details

Cast:Dorian Harewood, John Reilly, Robert Hays
Network:Disney XD
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 11, 2011

Iron Man makes for interesting and well done toon

Action packed series features unfamilar characters who aren't that great. Overall a decent superhero cartoon.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old September 2, 2009
Teen, 13 years old Written byrebma97 February 16, 2011


The movies are better. To me, Tony Stark is so dull in this series. Also, the storylines aren't that interesting.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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