Australian Council on Children and the Media

Iron Man 2

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Not recommended under 12, PG to 15 (Violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Iron Man 2
  • a review of Iron Man 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 April 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 8-12 Not recommended due to violence
Children 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to violence

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.

Name of movie: Iron Man 2
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence
Length 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In a rundown apartment building in Moscow, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) screams out in murderous rage after watching his father die in bed. Next, we see Ivan constructing his own Iron Man suit complete with “power whips”. We learn that Ivan’s father was responsible for developing the plans of the original arc reactor which was taken over by Tony Stark’s father enabling Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) to create the original Iron Man suit. Instead of reaping the rewards of his invention, Ivan’s father was deported back to Russia.    

Six month later we find that all is not running smoothly for Tony Stark. He is slowly being poisoned to death by the arc reactor used to power his Iron Man suit, while the U.S. Government is pressuring him to hand over his suit to the military. The military team up with Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), an industrialist whose aim in life is to destroy Stark, to develop their own suit. Meanwhile, Ivan Vanko re-enters the picture as ‘Whiplash’ and attacks Tony Stark during the French Grand Prix, but is defeated and imprisoned. 

Unsuccessful in his attempts to create an Iron Man suit, Hammer orchestrates Ivan’s escape from prison, believing Ivan will aid him in the making of the suit. However, Ivan has his own agenda and, rather than building an Iron Man suit, builds his own army of Iron Man clones.

In the ensuing struggles Tony Stark relies on both new and old alliances, including Lt. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), S.H.I.E.L.D agents Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Natasha Romanaff (Natalie Rushman) and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

Themesinfo

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.

Superheroes; the weapons industry

Use of violenceinfo

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 2 contains sequences of intense, stylised action violence throughout with minimal depiction of blood and gore. Examples include:

  • During a boxing match between Tony Stark and another man Stark punches the other man in the face and kicks him in the chest. A woman gets into the boxing ring and grabs and twists the man’s hand, using her legs to place his head in a scissor hold. The man crashes hard on to the floor. 
  • Whiplash walks on to a Grand Prix track narrowly missed by racing cars. He uses his power whips to slice open several race cars which crash into each other; flipping over, flying through the air and exploding in flames. Tony Stark’s car is sliced in half and comes to rest with Tony hanging upside down and petrol pouring over him. Tony bashes Whiplash over the head with a piece of metal and Whiplash lashes Tony to the ground with his Whips. A car explodes and Tony’s arm catches on fire but Tony pats out the flames with his hand. A car rams into Whiplash, pinning him against a fence. Tony, now in his Iron Man suit, punches Whiplash and rips Whiplash’s power source from his chest.
  • While in prison, Ivan grabs a prisoner and slams his head against a toilet bowl with the prisoner falling lifeless to the ground. Ivan then places a bomb on the ground and walks away with the bomb exploding in flames blowing up the cell. During the same scene Ivan twists a prison guard’s arm behind his back then twists the guard’s head, snapping his neck and we hear the sound of bones breaking. 
  • While in a drunken rage and in his Iron Man suit Tony shoots champagne bottles out of the air and shoots out panes of glass. James Rhodes wearing a second Iron Man suit attacks Tony. The two engage in a battle, crashing through plate glass windows, hurling dumbbells at each other throwing punches and kicking. They throw each other through walls and ceilings, one bashes the other over the head with a porcelain sink and when both shoot each other with a power beam the resulting explosion demolishes the entire room leaving both unconscious.       
  • Ivan is left alone with two guards and in the next scene both guards are dead, strangled and left dangling from the ceiling. Ivan has blood on one of his hands.  
  • In an auditorium packed full of people we see dozens of Iron Man clones firing bullets and missiles into the crowd with glass panels shattering, and glass and rubble falling on people. People stampede in panic and some fall down stairs. We see one clone aiming his weapon at a young boy wearing an Iron Man mask, but Iron Man arrives and destroys the clone.
  • A female S.H.I.E.L.D. agent use electrified lassoes to tie up one man and strangle another. She also uses stylised martial arts to knock out numerous men and tasers a man in the face.           
  • We see numerous Iron Man droids shooting all manner of guns and cannons at Iron Man and see Iron Man shooting a laser at dozens of droids cutting the droids in half leaving the ground litter with dissected droid bodies.
  • Whiplash uses his power whips to lash Stark and Rhodes around the chest and neck and see Iron Man punch and head-butt Whiplash. Stark and Rhodes combine power beams coming from their hand to create an explosion that leaves Whiplash lying torn up on the ground.  Whiplash self destructs with a giant explosion.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

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, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • As Ivan Vanko’s father lies dying in bed of unknown causes, Ivan screams out in rage.
  • Whiplash’s appearance may scare or disturb younger children. His entire body is covered with tattoos and scars designed to make his appearance intimidating and he has several gold teeth, giving his mouth a metallic appearance.
  • At times parts of Tony Stark’s body become covered in raised blue veins, a result of his body being poisoned by the arc reactor. In one scene we see Stark remove the arc reactor from his chest leaving a gaping hole.
  • Younger children may find the robotic appearance of the Iron Man suit and the Iron Man droids scary.      

Aged five to eightinfo

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.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

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.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

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.

Apart from the violence described above, children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

Iron Man 2 contains a number of covert sexual references and innuendo. Examples include:

  • When Stark leaves a hotel he finds a young attractive woman sitting in his car. Stark asks the question “Does she come with the car?...I certainly hope so”. 
  • A man makes a comment to Stark about expensive sexual harassment suits.
  • In reference to an attractive young reporter writing a piece on Tony Stark we hear a man say “She did quite a spread on Tony”.  
  • A man says “Maybe I’ll even get laid”.

Nudity and sexual activity

Iron Man 2 contains some partial nudity and sexual activity. Examples include:

  • A troop of women wearing very short and tight shorts and low cut bikini styled tops perform a sexy dance.
  • A woman undresses in the back of a car to reveal sensual black lingerie. The driver tries to watch her changing via the car’s rear view mirror.
  • Tony Stark kisses a woman passionately on the lips and tells her he loves her. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • People at parties drink wine and champagne.
  • Ivan swigs vodka straight from the bottle.
  • Tony sips a martini and then sculls the drink.
  • Tony, at his own birthday party, behaves in an extremely intoxicated manner while wearing his Iron Man suit. He staggers around, falls over and urinates in his suit. His behaviour then becomes aggressive and dangerous, resulting in a fight with his best friend.
  • Tony is injected in the side of his neck with a drug, Lithium dioxide.
  • Ivan is referred to as “vodka enraged”.

Coarse language

Iron Man 2 contains some infrequent low-level coarse language. Examples include:

  • arse clowns
  • I’d like to show you my arse
  • O my god
  • little prick. 

In a nutshell

Iron Man 2, follow-up to the film Iron Man, is a superhero action adventure based upon Marvel comics characters. The film targets an adolescent male audience. Despite some good performances, the film falls short in terms of providing stimulating adult entertainment and, at just over two hours in length, is a little longer than needed.  

The main message from this movie is that technology should be used for the greater good of humanity rather than individual personal gain.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include self sacrifice. Tony Stark as Iron Man makes numerous sacrifices, including risking his life to save others and humanity in general. A number of Stark’s close friends also made similar sacrifices to the benefit of Stark and others.  

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