My 9-year-old son was a little apprehensive about seeing Iron Man 3, the latest superhero film from Marvel. He is a sensitive kid and intense scenes make him a bit uncomfortable—violence even more so. I am okay with that. I would rather my son be deeply empathetic to society than desensitized by it. That’s kind of my thing.
The reason he was unsure about the film was due to the aforementioned intensity that he saw in all of the trailers, TV ads, and Subway commercials promoting it, but after I convinced him that such things are based in a world of comic book action and good guys always winning he quickly came around. We even stopped at a comic book store (his first official!) on the way to the screening so we could cement our day in the lore of the genre.
He loves Iron Man, and the thought of seeing the newest installment in the trilogy (not counting The Avengers, which rocked his respective world exactly like a movie about superheroes fighting aliens should rock said little boy’s world) was an exciting one. We entered the theater ready for entertainment.
And Iron Man 3 delivered.
However, there is one thing that I should make clear—my son’s concerns were well-founded. Obviously there is no shortage of intensity and violence, it’s a superhero movie, but the type of intensity and violence, particularly in the first half of the film, was much more gritty and plausible than either of us was prepared for, and he held my hand tightly.
Things do fall into a more traditional comic book style as the movie progresses, and by the end of the film the fights and action sequences are the classic bigger than life and epic in scale experiences that have audiences cheering into their buckets of popcorn for all they are worth (prices may vary).
Also of note, there is a fairly liberal use of alcohol and sexuality, in a Tony Stark sort of way, but nothing my son couldn’t look away from in innocent and awkward embarrassment as is his want.
Speaking of Tony Star, Robert Downey, Jr. is, per usual, spot on, and this time perhaps even more so. The movie may be called Iron Man 3, but it could easily have been called Tony Stark 1, except that putting a one on a title is kind of silly.
A good portion of Iron Man 3 focuses on the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” as he tries to wrap his mind around the concepts of gods and aliens (see, The Avengers), and is suddenly forced to go deep(ish) undercover on an investigative road trip into the secrets of Earth’s newest supervillain, the Mandarin, played to perfection by Ben Kingsley.
It’s like a self-discovery sort of thing.
Once the truth is learned, the bad guys put their plot into motion and Iron Man is joined by his friend Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle), formally known as War Machine, in an attempt to save the president, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and, quite possibly, the world as we know it.
The action that follows is fun, fantastic, and worth the price of admission. It’s good stuff, and you read it here first: Iron Man 3 is going to be huge.
Buy lots of popcorn.
Iron Man 3 opens in theaters this Friday, May 3.
Notes for parents: The movie is rated PG-13. The violence is, as I mentioned above, pretty intense and realistic. Also, there is some sexuality and language (including an exchange about fathers leaving their families, which was too funny in context to take offense to, but will surely upset someone) that could be deemed objectionable for children. That said, my 9-year-old son, who entered a little intimidated and had his fears justified, absolutely loved the movie. My 7-year-old will have to wait a couple of years before he gets the chance.
I attended a screening of Iron Man 3 for review purposes. All opinions are my own (or my kid’s).
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).