Not recommended for children under 13 years of age, parental guidance recommended 13-15 (Violence, disturbing scenes and themes).
This topic contains:
- overall comments and recommendations
- details of classification and consumer advice lines for Iron Man
- a review of Iron Man completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 May 2008.
Overall comments and recommendations
|Children under 13
||Not recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and themes
||Parental guidance recommended due to violence, disturbing scenes and themes
|Children 15 and over
||OK for this age group
About the movie
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.
|Name of movie:
|Consumer advice lines:
||Moderate action violence
This review of the movie contains the following information:
A synopsis of the story
Tony Stark (Robert Downer, Jr.) is a
billionaire industrialist, whose company Stark Enterprises manufactures
military weapons. After demonstrating a new and devastating weapon in the
Middle East, Tony is ambushed and attacked by terrorists armed with weapons
made by his company. He receives a bad chest injury and wakes up in a cave with
an electro-magnet wired into his chest. Tony has a chest full of shrapnel, and
to stop the shrapnel from reaching his heart, he must remain wired up to a car
battery and magnet. The terrorists holding Tony demand that he build a missile
Rather than building the missile Tony, helped by a fellow prisoner Yinsen
(Shaun Toub), builds a small chest implant which has enough power to keep the
shrapnel away from Tony’s heart for fifty life times. In the next step in
his transition into Iron Man, Tony builds an iron suit complete with flamethrowers
and rocket-propelled boots. He dons the suit and breaks out of his prison, but
at the cost of Yinsen’s life.
Tony returns to the USA where he re-evaluates his beliefs and life, and
announces that Stark Enterprises will cease making weapons. Obadiah Stane (Jeff
Bridges), long time family friend and member of the Stake Enterprise’s board of
directors is less than impressed with the announcement and takes covert steps
to “lock” Tony out of the company. Tony makes a new and improved Iron Man suit
and flies off to the Middle East to seek revenge against those who abducted and
imprisoned him. He finds them attacking innocent civilians, defeats them and
destroys all of their weapons.
Back at home, Tony/Iron man suspects Obadiah of selling weapons to terrorists,
and asks his close friend and assistant Pepper Pots (Gwyneth Paltrow) to help
him. Pepper finds proof that Obadiah was responsible for the terrorist attack
on Tony. Together, Tony/Iron Man and Pepper work to defeat Obadiah.
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
Iron Man contains frequent intense action
violence, some of which is brutal. Examples include:
- While in the Middle East, an army convoy is
attacked by terrorists. The firefight includes machinegun fire, bombs
exploding, cars being blown up and flames erupting in all directions. Bodies
are thrown through the air like rag dolls and riddled with bullets (we see
blood splattering across car windows and hear screaming). When the fight is over
all are dead except for Tony, who after taking the full force of an exploding
bomb is left lying on his back with blood pooling through the front of his
- We see images of Tony being stood in front
of a group of gun wielding Middle Eastern terrorists, who are wearing dark
hoods and recording their demands on video.
- A couple of scenes contain images of men
being tortured. Tony’s head is held under water until Tony starts to suffer.
And a man has a gun pointed at his head and is forced to his knees with his
head held down on an anvil while he is threatened with having a burning coal
placed in his mouth.
- When two men try opening a booby-trapped
door, the door explodes with the force of the explosion throwing the men back
throw the air. When we next see the two men they are lying (presumably dead) on
the ground (no visual blood and gore).
- To give Tony enough time to put on his Iron
Man suit, a fellow prisoner, Yinsen picks up a machinegun firing it into the
air while charging towards a group of gun wielding terrorists. Later we se
Yinsen lying on the ground dying from bullet wounds (low level blood and gore).
Before he dies, Yinsen tells Tony “Don’t waste your life.”
- Iron Man punches and kicks terrorists,
sending them flying through the air like rag dolls. Iron Man punches his fist
through iron doors and uses a flamethrower attached to his arm to incinerate
terrorists and a number of tents and buildings. A bullet ricochets off Iron Man’s
head hitting the attacker in the head and killing him. Iron Man also fires a
rocket that explodes and knocks a man unconscious.
- Obadiah Stane discusses justifying the
manufacturing of weapons of war by saying that they are helping the world from
turning to chaos.
- Terrorists shoot at women and children, and
blow up houses containing innocent civilians. A man is separated from his wife
and child and placed against a wall to be shot while his young child looks on.
The father is then thrown to the ground with a terrorist stomping several times
on his chest. The man is then forced to his knees and has a gun placed to his
head, but before the trigger is pulled Iron Man enters the picture and stops
the terrorists from killing the man. Later, the terrorists hold a group of
woman and children hostage by pointing guns at their heads but Iron Man rescues
them by shooting each of the terrorists in the head.
- Obadiah uses a small electronic device to
paralyse a terrorist and later Tony. The device causes blue veins to stand out
in the victim’s face and appears to cause pain.
- A group of mercenary soldiers hold guns to
the heads of a large group of terrorists kneeling on the ground. We then hear
- Iron Monger, in a huge iron suit, chases
Pepper in a threatening manner.
- In a battle between Iron Man and Iron
Monger, Iron Monger picks up a car containing a mother and her children and
hurls the vehicle at Iron Man (we hear the mother and children screaming). A
motorcyclist and bus passengers are also victims of the battle.
Iron Monger is finally
destroyed when he falls into an exploding reactor with an entire building
exploding in flames.
Material that may scare or disturb children
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
In addition to the above-mentioned violent
scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could
scare or disturb children under five, including the following:
- Tony is seen lying on an operating table in
a terrorist camp. His bloody chest is operated on with bloodied tissue taken
out and a circular metal device implanted with the wires leading from the
device to a car battery (we see Tony thrashing and hear him screaming). Later
Tony wakes up from the surgery and in a panic rips bandages from his chest to
reveal a circular electronic device implanted in his chest (some mild blood and
gore is shown). Tony is told that he had a number of pieces of shrapnel in his
chest and that the device implanted in his chest is an electromagnet that will
keep the shrapnel from entering his heart. We see Tony pull a long oxygen tube
out of his nose with accompanying squelching noises as he pulls the tube
- Later, Tony needs to replace the Ark
Reactor implanted in his chest with a more powerful version. Tony gets his
assistant Pepper to reach into his chest and pull out the old device complete
with attached wires. We hear squelching sounds and see some clear goo as Pepper
pull out the device, and when some wires accidentally touch the wrong spot Tony
appears to receive an electrical shock. Pepper has a disturbed look on her face
and talks about seeing pus and it having a bad smell. After the device is
removed we see a large circular/cylinder like hole in Tony's chest (no visible
blood and gore).
- Young children may find the appearance
(faces covered by masks and hoods) and actions of the terrorists depicted in
the film threatening and frightening.
- A couple of scenes contain images of a
man’s burnt and disfigured face.
- The appearance of Iron Monger may scare
some younger children, Iron Monger is a large monster-like robot that is very
powerful, threatening and intimidating.
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
Children in this age group are also likely to
be disturbed by the above mentioned violence and scary scenes
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
Children in this age group are also likely to
be disturbed by the above mentioned violence and scary scenes
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Some children in this age group may also be
disturbed by some of the above mentioned violence and scary scenes
The following products are displayed or
used in this movie:
- Burger King
- Bulgari watches
- LG mobile phones
- Dell computers
- Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazines
Iron Man contains infrequent mild sexual
- While driving in an army convoy, Tony is
asked if it is true that he has gone 12 for 12 with the Maxim cover models (a
calender pin up). Tony responds that he missed one month, but that one of the
other months has twins so that he did therefore have twelve girls.
- Tony teases a man about the “lovely lady he
woke up with and then asks him “What was his name?”
- In one scene Pepper walks in on Tony while
a number of machines are attempting to take off Tony’s iron suit, Tony tells
Pepper “This is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing. Tony also tells the
machine removing the iron suit to “be gentle, this is my first time.”
Nudity and sexual activity
Iron Man contains occasional low level
sexual activity and sensuality including:
- Two women wearing low-cut dresses stand on
each side of Tony at a gambling table and rubbing themselves up against him.
- Tony is seen lying in bed with a female
reporter. The woman is wearing shirt and panties with bare legs and hip
revealed. The woman straddles Tony and kisses him passionately on the mouth.
The pair roll off the bed and onto the floor with accompanying giggles. In the
next scene we see the woman wake up nude lying face down on the bed with the
bed covers covering her bottom. We then see the woman walking around Tony’s
house dressed only in a shirt that reveals cleavage and legs.
- Three female flight attendants dance on a
plane in a seductive manner resembling pole dancing.
- Dancing with Tony, Pepper wears a low cut
backless dress that reveals cleavage. They almost kiss, but after the dance
Pepper tells Tony that she is uncomfortable about the thought of any type of
relationship between them.
Use of substances
There is some use of substances in this
- The film contains several scenes depicting
people smoking cigarettes and cigars.
- Tony is depicted on several occasions
holding a glass of spirits and sipping from the glass.
- In a later scene Tony talks about warming
- Tony talks about irresponsible drinking,
but then consumes alcohol himself.
- Three female flight attendants drink
- Obadiah enters an office and pours whisky
from a bottle on the desk. He them makes a comment that Tony “always gets the
- At a party, Pepper asks Tony to get her a
dry martini with lots of olives, at the bar Tony asks the attendant to make his
Iron Man contains infrequent mild coarse
language. Examples include:
- son of a bitch
- you little prick
In a nutshell
Iron Man is a well-acted superhero film,
with excellent special effects, in which the characters face moral dilemmas of
some substance. It is likely to appeal to older adolescents and adults.
The main messages from this movie are that:
- both nations and individuals should use
power in a responsible and accountable manner
- it is never too late to change your life to
a more meaningful one.
Values that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include altruism
and the importance of friendship.
Parents may also wish to discuss with older children attitudes and behaviours,
and their real-life consequences, such as:
- Tony’s reckless driving which endangers the
lives of those around him
- The influence of wealth on Tony’s lifestyle
- Tony’s attitude (at the start of the film)
towards women, and his promiscuous behaviour.