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?
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