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Movie Review

Iron Man 3also known as “Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

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Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Superhero Action Adventure Thriller Sequel 3D
2 hr. 9 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 3, 2013 (wide)
DVD: September 24, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

bravery, courage, self-sacrifice

Featuring: Robert Downey Jr.Tony Stark/Iron Man
Guy PearceAldrich Killian
Ben KingsleyThe Mandarin
Gwyneth PaltrowPepper Potts
Rebecca HallMaya Hansen
Paul BettanyJarvis (voice)
Don CheadleJames Rhodes/War Machine
Jon FavreauHappy Hogan
more »
Director: Shane Black
Producer: Marvel Studios
Paramount Pictures
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Prepare for a heavy metal!”

Sequel to “Iron Man” (2008), “Iron Man 2” (2008)

Last summer, “The Avengers” raced to movie history, becoming the second highest grossing film of all time. The stellar results of that collaborative effort are directly related to the success of the first Avenger film, “Iron Man”. Taking a lesser known comic book character and transforming him into a billion dollar franchise single-handedly propelled The Avengers into the stratosphere. There were several reasons that Iron Man was so successful, and those reasons are still true in “Iron Man 3”, an excellent entry into the comic book series that will undoubtedly result in the continuing success of the Avenger franchise.

In “Iron Man 2”, our hero Tony Stark faced a standard bad guy with his sights set on standard bad-guy things. That plot resulted in a movie that could also be characterized as “standard”. This is not the case, however, for this current installment in the series. While the plot is shrouded in a great deal of secrecy, suffice it to say that The Mandarin is no standard bad guy. In fact, we don’t even know what exactly The Mandarin is after. All we know is that he is terrorizing the world, and Tony Stark has had enough. The series of events that follows delves deeper into the character and history of Tony Stark, while also revealing plenty of plot twists along the way.

As far as third movies in a series go, “Iron Man 3” is top notch. Instead of sticking with a formulaic script, new director Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) flips the genre on its head by providing viewers with some interesting plot revelations. Some of these story decisions may anger loyal fans of the comics, but the film has an undeniably fresh feel to it. In some spots, the film felt like an old-fashioned buddy comedy instead of a superhero movie, which should come as no surprise as director Black is famous for writing the “Lethal Weapon” films. This installment is easily the funniest of the three films while also delving deeper into Stark’s psyche.

The cast of the film is excellent as well. Robert Downey Jr. is as advertised in the role, showcasing why these movies continue to be successful. New additions to the cast include Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Guy Pearce as mysterious businessman Aldrich Killian, and Rebecca Hall as one of Stark’s old flames, Maya Hansen. All cast members, new and old, serve their roles well.

The content in “Iron Man 3” is average for a Marvel movie. There are a few scenes featuring scantily clad women, but the sexuality is held to a minimum. A few minor profanities pop up, and there is plenty of violence. While the violence is constant, it’s mostly bloodless and implied.

The most interesting aspect of the Iron Man franchise has always been its spiritual parallels. Some have said the first film has symbolism alluding to the salvation experience. Stark, the billionaire playboy who thinks of no one but himself, realizes the error of his ways and finds new meaning in life. The second film could be construed as the sanctification process, as Stark finds it hard to stay humble with his newfound powers. If you subscribe to this series of illustrations, the third film in the series could easily be seen as glorification. There is a comparison made in the film of Stark being in a cocoon and coming out a changed man, therefore completing the process. While no one would mistake these films for “Christian” movies, it’s interesting and uplifting to see these positive themes in a big-budget blockbuster.

While the rest of the Avenger cast has settled for one individual story each, Tony Stark is already on his third, and with good reason. This film will be an instant hit with Iron Man aficionados, while also satisfying fans who are just waiting for “The Avengers 2”. Funny, exciting, and different, “Iron Man 3” delivers the requisite goods, and then some. “Iron Man” continues be the standard bearer for comic movies of the last decade.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I had been looking forward to Iron Man 3 for a while now. When I heard about its announcement last year, I was intrigued but needed a brush up on the other films so I went to the Iron Man Marathon with some friends. It was a good thing too. After the marathon I was able to see the nine o clock Thursday premiere of “Iron Man 3” in 3D.

What do I say about “Iron Man 3”? Iron Man 3 was just like the critics stated, “tough, brilliant, and the best of the three.” I will always be a huge fan of the original. However, “Iron Man 3” gave the other films (including “Avengers”) justice. I would suggest seeing the Avengers and “Iron Man 2” for a refresher before seeing “Iron Man 3.” It helps.

Overall I liked “Iron Man 3.” Good story. New director. It had the same complexity of the first two films which kept me satisfied. There were elements that didn’t add up, but overall the story was good. Content wise? Children beware. This movie is just as violent as the first two and some of the violence is more graphic than the first but not above a PG-13 rating. There were some sexual, shall I say, “innuendos”.

In short I liked this movie. I got to see the real Tony Stark in this film and I understood him better. Okay for children 14 and up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 23 (USA)
Positive—This is a really fun movie. Of course, there is some violence, but you should expect that from an Iron Man movie. There was minimal bad language and only a couple of sexual references, but nothing is shown. It had a lot of good messages such as devotion between Stark and Pepper. The scenes with the young boy were also very touching. Overall, “Iron Man 3” is the story of taking responsibility for past sins and the power of redemption. I recommend the movie as an excellent date night movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—C. Nelson, age 52 (USA)
Positive—Overall, an entertaining thrill ride, similar to the previous Marvel outings. Sex content low for an average PG-13: brief bikini shots mostly. Language less than many PG-13’s, but it’s there, so be aware. Lots of action and violence, but it’s mostly bloodless and “cartoonish.”

My main beef is that, like almost every other similar movie, it fails to take advantage of the obvious real-life source of bombings and terror threats: Muslims who take the Koran seriously enough to actually follow it. Instead it manufactures some half-baked megalomaniac genius with no credible motivation. What a waste of potential inspiration. Just imagine if war movies made between 1942 and 1960 were primarily about conflict with some mythical country instead of WW2 and Nazis.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeremy Klein, age 57 (USA)
Positive—We SEEK movies that lift up Jesus and His principles, especially true stories. We AVOID movies that contain: 1) profanity and particularly taking the Lord’s Name in vain, 2) sexuality, and 3) and overt or subtle occult ideas such as casting spells, conjuring spirits, séances, etc. IRON MAN 3 contains a lot of violence and visuals that would make the younger kids (under age 10) uncomfortable. Our kids (15, 12, 10, 8) saw “Iron Man 3” today and enjoyed it.

The story was good and the action was great. The good side was good, and the bad side was bad (clearly differentiated), and in the end, the bad side lost. Sadly, we trusted one review which said the Lord’s Name was never taken in vain, but it was done once. Ouch—very troubling and unnecessary. Also, there were a couple sexual references made which probably went over the top of most kids” heads, but again—totally unnecessary, adding nothing to the plot or theme.

BOTTOM LINE: we enjoyed the movie and it’s eye-candy of special effects. The story line was good and suspenseful (nail-biting at times). I wish Hollywood would learn that good, moral films without the profanity, sexuality, and spiritism bring in the big bucks and serve everyone better. It’s the good story, well told, that people remember, and refer to friends.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mark Matta, age 55 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie on Saturday. I was completely blown away. In my opinion, it’s the best of the 3. The language is mild but the violence is pretty heavy. There were a lot of funny moments in the film. I was really happy that parts of the film were done right here in North Carolina! Cary, Rock Hills and Wilmington. I would recommend this movie to young teens 14+ and up. It was really good to see how Tony Stark struggled with the aftermath of New York in “The Avengers.” Wonderful CGI! Great score/music sound track and wonderful acting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Travis Ginther, age 28 (USA)
Positive—Iron Man 3 was a entertaining movie but not as good as the previous ones. There were lots of great action scenes but the film is very dark and more violent. Robert Downey Jr does a great job again as Tony Stark. The film has some mild profanity. The most disturbing thing about the film is the scantily clad women that are shown in some brief scenes. This was totally unnecessary in a film like this. The scene with two women in bed together was very offensive.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Joseph Gambone, age 48 (USA)
Neutral—This was a fun action movie, but disappointing at the same time. First, the 3D wasn’t very good and a lot of the effects were blurry for most of the movie. See it in 2D. Second, the screenplay was sub-par and Shane Black’s direction lacked in creativity. However, there were some great action sequences, the performances were pretty strong for the most part, and there were still some great, witty one-liners.

As a follower of Christ, this film was Biblically offensive. There were a lot of sexual innuendos, scantily clad women, Tony and Pepper are seen in bed (clothed and still not married), and we also see a brief flashback to one of Tony’s one night stands (we see the start and then the scene cuts to the next morning). The violence was pretty heavy with a high body count, some blood, and a character’s arm getting cut off. God’s name was abused quite a few times (paired with d—n once) and Jesus” name may have been abused once as well. Good listeners may pick up an s-word or two as well. Otherwise the terms “sob” and p-ssed were used and the h- and d- words as well. The language, violence, and sensuality were a lot heavier than in last year’s “The Avengers”.

I would say that the “Avengers” would be safe for a mature 12 year old but “Iron Man 3” should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 13 or 14 based on maturity. The only positive messages on display were acts of heroism, protecting the ones we love, and protecting our country.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Curtis, age 20 (USA)
Neutral—My family and I saw this movie today. The movie used the GD-word ounce and had SOB ounce that I noticed. Also, the D, A, and H-word was used several times. Had a few half naked women in it. Other than the above the movie was pretty good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sharon, age 37 (USA)
Negative—I am a fan of Iron Man, but was truly disappointed with the profanity in this film. The previous movies were not at all like this, and I don’t recommend it for young children. We left an hour into the film, and sad that this is the direction Marvel has chosen to take the franchise.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Mike, age 39 (USA)
Negative—First off, I am a HUGE Marvel and Ironman fan. I have been looking forward to Ironman 3 since it was announced. The family loved both Ironman 1 and Ironman 2. This movie, however, was a colossal disappointment. I’m not sure even where to begin.

First, way too much Tony Stark and not nearly enough Ironman. Second, when there are dozens of Ironman drones flying around, and Iron Patriot, the exclusivity of the real Ironman suffers greatly—he almost becomes normal. Mandarin was a major disappointment too.

***SPOILER*** He’s basically an evil version of Tony Stark—nothing really to hate about him. I guess that is one of the biggest disappointments. You never really get drawn into the story like the previous two movies. When Ironman and Mandarin fight at the end it’s hard to have an emotional connection. The kid in the movie was largely unnecessary and provided no emotional attachment like it could have. I didn’t at all like that they pull Ironman’s arch reactor out of his chest at the end, or that he blows up all his suits. This movie just didn’t have the sort of feel that the previous two did. I figured the family would see it more than once, but after seeing it—no need to see it again. ***END SPOILER*** more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jason, age 39 (USA)
Negative— I love Avengers films, and the moviemaking quality of “Iron Man 3” was stellar. However, as a follower of Christ, I am very disappointed with the mild review of the offensive content in this movie. “Scantily clad women” hardly hits the nail on the head. In one scene with the Mandarin, there were literally two Victoria’s Secret models (prostitutes) featured in two scenes. The movie also included a ton of innuendo and profanity. God calls us to be separate from the world, and enjoying an awesome action flick isn’t worth the exposure to sin and sensuality. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 21 (USA)
Negative—I took my 12 and 15-year-old sons to see “Ironman 3” based upon the main review I read on this site. Unlike the opinion of the reviewer, I thought this film was morally objectionable in many ways and extremely violent. If I had screened it first myself, I would not have allowed my sons to see it. This film promotes premarital sex as morally acceptable. Tony Stark lives with his girlfriend outside of marriage. There are no sex scenes between them, but you see them sleeping together in the same bed. The attitude about this is that it is no big deal. I do not want my sons to think that it is the case, especially in our culture today where marriage is clearly under assault. I want my sons to learn that sex is a privilege, that a woman’s body should be respected and that sex ultimately means having children. I want them to understand that they should not view it lightly and that it belongs within the confines of marriage. I did not need for them to sit in a theater for almost 2½ hours and get the opposite message from a superhero character.

Furthermore, the film has a scene in which two scantily clad women are seen in bed together as part of a menage a trois with one of the villains in the movie. My sons, until now, did not know what that was. I didn’t appreciate their exposure to that either or having to explain it to them. The violence in the film is gratuitous and extreme. Throughout the film various characters are repeatedly incinerated, blown to bits, slammed, kicked, pummeled, and smashed. It is way over the top. The film’s ending is disappointing and meaningless. The superhero gives up being a superhero in a confusing fashion and then tells the audience that he still is one. What? I do not recommend “Ironman 3” to anyone, least of all, impressionable teens.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Maryann Ragan, age 52 (USA)
Negative—At 1 hour and 10 minutes the first blasphemy against God was screamed across the theater by the villain. How many more were there? We do not know as we left. It is the criteria in our home to not blaspheme our Lord, and not to accept it as part of our entertainment either. It is a commandment, and I don’t see how it should be negotiable for some Christians, but each to their own convictions. …The reviewer noted “mild profanity”. As a Christian, there is nothing more profane than uttering my God’s name as a dirty curse word. I realize there are different reviewers that work for this site, this one seems to be very loose in his moral standing compared to where our family stands. …Hollywood also disappointed us as the Christian response to The Avengers was so positive for them not doing it, we had hoped they would continue that trend. They did not. Until that point in the movie we greatly enjoyed it, but we will not support Hollywood’s attack on God.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—J Manney, age 37 (USA)
Negative—While this movie was very well made, the violence was over the top. I had my eyes closed for a good portion of the movie because I did not want those scenes replaying in my mind. With the world becoming increasingly violent, movies like this glorify man’s inhumanity to man.

There are some worthwhile lessons learned by Tony Stark, but they are almost obscured by the sheer volume of mayhem. The “good guy” wins in the end—however, I think we lose a little more of our humanity every time we indulge in this type of entertainment. My husband and I rarely go to movies, but based on the main review we decided to give it a chance. Mistake. Other reviewers have already commented about the sexual immorality in this movie, and I agree with them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Renee, age 61 (USA)
Negative—I found this movie very troubling on a couple of counts. There is a strong undercurrent throughout that marriage is irrelevant. Tony Stark lives with his girlfriend, and this is described over and over as a positive thing. Marriage is never mentioned as a goal.

Finally there is kind of a bizarre scene near the end of the movie, right before the bad guys are to be finished off. Tony Stark actually makes a sign of the cross, but in a very deliberately rushed and disrespectful way. He then spreads his arms wide and says to Jarvis, “What are you waiting for. It’s Christmas. Take ‘em to church.” Did the director deliberately intend to imply that the hero is an atheist? Directors sometimes have a character do this (a rushed sign of the cross) when they want to show that they were raised Christian, but no longer have any use for faith. In this case it is almost used as a sign of contempt. It’s the sort of thing that is not added by accident.

It’s also the sort of thing the viewer’s subconscious will absorb without noticing.

As a kid, Iron Man was my favorite comic. With some reservations, I did enjoy the first “Iron Man” movie, and “…The Avengers.” However, I found the tone in “Iron Man 3” to be very different.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tony, age 45 (USA)
Negative—Don’t be slamming in the word “patriot” in the USA. Ben Franklin, a patriot, invented the printing press, where would Marvel Comics be without that? Why, Marvel? Why? In “Iron Man III,” in another effort to save the world, Iron Man turns against his own roots and dishonors the word “patriot.” I guess anyone can be fooled once in a while. Maybe Marvel has been talking to a Swiss Ex-pat too much? I feel betrayed by this stinking crock of world leadership dung beetle dudu, and would like to see something more pro-USA from Marvel.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Matthew, age 50 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—I hated this movie; I had my eyes closed three quarters of the movie and not to mention a lot of swearing, too, and the storytelling was really dumb. There were funny parts, but it was a real let down. P.S.—If you’re a big Marvel fan, you will come out of the cinemas with your head down.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Harrison, age 9 (Australia)
Positive—This was overall a great movie. Don’t worry, I won’t give away any spoilers in this review. The moral content in this movie was actually not too bad. The only sexual references were when Pepper told Tony that he was going to have a shower with him, and near the end she wears a sports bra in an action scene. The swearing was kept to a minimum. Two “p*ss,” 3 “bl**dy hell,” and one SOB from what I remember. Quite a lot of violence, but not much more than you can expect from an Iron Man movie. People getting shot, repulsor blasted, and at the end a bad guy gets half his arm chopped off (no blood).

As you can see from the trailers, this movie is the darkest of the three. Tony Stark has lost his “billionaire playboy”-ism and is traumatized from the happenings in New York. He has severe anxiety attacks and stays up for days on end. When the Mandarin and his minions show up and blow up his house in Malibu, he is forced to head to Tennessee to fix up his suit and retaliate. What ensues is fast-paced rollercoaster that is, in my opinion, an excellent follow-up to last year’s Avengers.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Donovan, age 15 (Australia)
Positive—This was a great movie. No use of the Lord’s name in vain, but minor cursing and nothing else.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Christopher, age 14 (USA)
Positive—This movie in my opinion was a great movie, and I think any marvel fan like me would find tons of enjoyment in it… But sadly like any modern movie (it seems like now days) it does live up to the PG-13 rating. One of the first scenes had the connection to the “playboy” part of Tony Stark, the main character, and showed the back of a woman in her bra:/ it could have gone without… And throughout the movie there were many women dressed in bikinis. We learn throughout the whole movie that tony has really changed and is committed to one woman: pepper. This was encouraging.

Also, swearing was very mild, some o my g** and h*** but other than that it was pretty chill… One other comment, the violence was kind of gruesome at parts (I at one part decided to shield my eyes). It is PG-13 for a reason and those are some of the reasons why, but it also had a very good lesson in it: Put the people you love in your life first before material things and let God take some burdens away. Tony throughout the movie was very burdened by his “responsibility” but in the end he realized that he needed to prioritize things in his life better (i.e. Pepper before a hobby).

It was all in all an epic tale of a long awaited iron man with a twist and in my opinion the best yet, by far!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Emily, age 15 (USA)
Positive— First off, I just want to say this movie was great. I know you’re gonna hear that a lot, but seriously, it was. Sometimes you go to the theater and think a movie was good because being in the theater improves the experience, but this one really was good. It was very entertaining, and I must say the story line was unexpected, because usually the Iron Man movies show the villains trying to recreate the suit or wearing something similar to it as their weapon, but this was different (and a little unreal like “Captain America”), because they themselves were the weapons.

But anyway, as to the moral content, there were no sex scenes, just references(mostly in the beginning between Tony and Pepper), implications, and immodesty. Such as: girls in undergarments (even two girls[personal prostitutes] in lingerie)and girls in bikinis, which is just the same as undergarments. Plus Pepper caresses “Tony” in the Iron Man suit suggestively (once again, towards the beginning). It seems like a lot, but when you’re watching a 2 hour movie, it doesn’t seem like that much. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rosey, age 17 (USA)
Negative—This movie really irked me. It was great for the first hour, then it happened. ***SPOILER*** Once they revealed that the Mandarin was an actor, I just snapped. It was stupid. They just spit in the face of the hardcore fans. I am disgusted. ***END SPOILER*** Overall, the swearing isn’t an issue, but it had more violence and sex than I was expecting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Ty, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—The movie I have been looking forward to since “The Avengers” last year is now finally here, and wow, it’s bigger and better than ever! I personally thought this was a great film. But, I did go into the theater prepared because, ha, this is a PG-13 movie, and with Tony Stark’s (eccentric) lifestyle, there’s bound to be some kind of inappropriate innuendos, violence, and cursing. Violence was more extreme than the previous Marvel films. I would say that no child under thirteen (and that’s a solid, mature thirteen) should see this movie, mainly because you see people bleeding, on fire, arms cut off, and shot, although, the blood is thankfully kept to a minimum.

As for cursing- I don’t know how people can say there was little cursing, because there was quite a bit. I counted multiple uses of a—, d—-, p—-, and h—-, but no s-words or f-words, thank goodness. One use of SOB. But perhaps worst of all was when an extremely bad villain used the Lord’s name paired with another curse. That was shocking, completely shocking, that they would include that in a Marvel film. I asked God for forgiveness for hearing that. A bit of sexual references also, and the fact that Tony and Pepper are living together (unmarried), but need I say anymore? I don’t want to think about it. I can’t sugarcoat it, because I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This movie was great, but as a Christian, I can’t give it anymore than an average rating. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sophie, age 15 (USA)
Positive—This movie was pretty good… after seeing it you might be disappointed if your a Marvel fan. Mandarin was a huge disappointment!!! And they did take the Lord’s name in vain once. And you can’t miss it, because he screams GD. I was upset when I heard it, because for awhile I didn’t go see it because of the swearing. But then a friend told me they didn’t hear anything.

Now for the inappropriate content. There were two scenes first one was a girl in her bra and underwear, which I didn’t see because I didn’t look. And second was when the Mandarin has two women in bed with him in the bra and underwear. You don’t see them all together in bed, because the scene starts as he’s about to get into bed but is caught. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for young kids.

Was it awesome… not really… was it great? Ya!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Meaghan, age 14 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—Walked out the first time my Lord’s name was dishonored and defamed. It is Never appropriate for a Christian to accept the use of the Lord God Almighty’s name in vain, especially for entertainment? Come on Christians… you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything. Exactly what value do you place on the God you serve? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality:
—Denise, age 53 (USA)

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