Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 13+
Great action, lots of style, some iffy stuff.
What 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.
- 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?
The good stuff
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.
What to watch for
Violence: 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.
Sexy stuff: 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.
Language: Mild sexually suggestive language. Fairly infrequent use of words like "damn" and "hell." Generally, tame langage for PG-13.
Consumerism: 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 and smoking: Alcohol is consumed frequently; one character enjoys a cigar, albeit mostly as a prop.