The traumatic events in New York City, where the Avengers thwarted Loki’s plan to enslave humanity, have left Tony Stark suffering from insomnia and anxiety attacks. His relationship with Pepper is suffering and a new villain, in the shape of ‘The Mandarin’, has emerged to threaten mankind. After an attack at his home leaves him presumed dead, Tony must keep a low profile in order to discover the secrets that The Mandarin has kept hidden and rescue Pepper from his clutches.

Iron Man 3 (2013) – Director: Shane Black

Is Iron Man 3 appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 130 mins

Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce       

Genre: Action, Comic Book

Due to important plot points, we would recommend that you watch the following movies before ‘Iron Man 3’:



The third instalment of Marvel’s Iron Man franchise and the first to follow the 2012 smash hit, ‘Avengers Assemble‘, sees the very real consequences of fighting the forces of evil haunting the previously cocksure and arrogant Tony Stark. Stark, while still being the character the audience knows and loves, is now much more subdued and less laid back. He has less patience, is quick to anger but at the same time has realised the true depth of his feelings for Pepper and is much softer and loving towards her. Unlike the majority of other superheroes in the Marvel universe, Tony Stark is a man with no super powers; his remarkable abilities come from the ‘Iron Man’ suit that he created. Making him weaker and more emotional than audiences have previously seen displays an understanding of human vulnerability, providing a believable change in direction for the character.

The plot itself is a little weak, especially compared to the previous 2 films; however the action, character development and comedy moments are all extremely strong. Downey Jnr, as always, provides the majority of the entertainment with his cocky but fun exterior which now only just covers the cracks of the trauma he is suffering from. Ben Kingsley as ‘The Mandarin’ is superbly evil and Guy Pearce is excellent as the suave and charming but dastardly Aldrich Killian. There is a complete change of tone in this movie to ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ which is bound to have fans debating which one is the best but it is certainly an all rounder for entertainment value. If you are looking for a movie with lots of action, believable characters and plenty of genuinely funny moments, ‘Iron Man 3‘ is the movie for you.


As ‘Iron Man 3’ is more action-packed than the previous 2 movies, the violence will perhaps be the most concerning for parents when deciding how appropriate it is for kids. The Mandarin issues several threats via a television feed. These videos all include quick cuts of realistic terrorist footage, including missile attacks and images of people with their faces covered, being aggressive and intimidating. This kind of footage is often shown on news programmes when terrorists issue threats and could therefore be a little frightening for children who are sensitive to such things. There is also a scene towards the beginning of the movie of several men who are about to be executed by firing squad. The camera moves passed the men and the executioners to be several feet away. At this point most of the men are obscured from the camera by onlookers but when shots are heard, those who are visible onscreen fall to the floor. One innocent character is murdered by being shot in the head even though there had been a promise to save his life. During this short but intense scene, which is likely to be distressing for a lot of kids, the victim is lying on the floor, completely terrified and sobbing before he is killed.

The weapon used by The Mandarin is called ‘Extremis’ and is injected into a living person in order to cure ailments, such as the loss of a limb. If the body rejects it, the person will explode. The effect of the drug is seen as a burning light within the person concerned, making their skin and eyes glow a bright orange colour. This could be a little scary for children, especially as it is quite unexpected at first. One character is unable to control the drug and explodes in a populated area, several innocent people are killed and shadows of victims are left on the surrounding walls. It is later explained (where, in a different location, a similar thing has happened) that these people were ‘vapourised immediately’. The characters who can sustain the Extremis drug are extremely violent, strong and have no remorse. They attack anyone who gets in their way, usually by using the extreme heat of their bodies to kill or harm their victims. During a fight scene between a female ‘Extremis’ character and Stark, he aggressively tries to strangle her with the chain of a pair of handcuffs for about 3 seconds. However, the character comes away from this unharmed and continues the attack.

There are many more deaths of innocents in ‘Iron Man 3‘, and indeed deaths of bad characters, compared to previous Iron Man movies. However there is never any gore or lingering shots, beyond which we have detailed above. There are several other violent moments in this movie but we have highlighted the strongest examples. We feel that if your children will be able to watch these moments without too much concern, they should be fine with the rest of the movie.

There are a few mild to moderate sexual references throughout the movie, mostly involving women who are wearing revealing clothing, such as bikinis and lingerie. The opening scene is set in 1999, when Stark was still an arrogant womaniser and it is made very clear that he is about to have a one night stand with the woman he is entertaining. Later, Stark advises another character that he doesn’t remember meeting Killian at the party in 1999, his friend retorts that the reason for this is because ‘he’s not a blonde with a big rack’. Later, when Stark is trying to find The Mandarin, he enters a mansion where several men are guarding the exterior and interior although there are also several women in bikinis there. One appears to be high on drugs as she is drowsy and reacts with humour when a man is killed in front of her. Stark enters a bedroom in the mansion where two women in underwear are lying in bed together. A man enters the room and it is made very clear that the 3 of them have engaged in sexual activity together. When talking to him, this man offers the women to Stark saying ‘do you fancy either of the birds?’



Iron Man 3’ is perhaps the most appropriate for kids out of the 3 films. There is less innuendo and bad language but as it is more action-packed, there is more violence. While some of the content that we have highlighted may appear quite strong, the majority of the violence is handled quickly, during action sequences and does not become overly graphic. We feel that ‘Iron Man 3’ should be appropriate for kids aged 8 and over, depending upon the child’s sensitivity to violence.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (a major character falls from a height and is engulfed in flames. Another character briefly grieves for them but is quickly consumed with anger towards the villain who caused the tragedy to happen. Another recurring character is severely injured and there is 5 minutes or so of grief for this situation)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (Pepper tries to comfort Tony when he is having a nightmare; she is then grabbed by one of the Iron Man suits which is running on automatic and senses danger, although it is quickly subdued by Tony. As this is set at night, the dark lighting and sudden appearance of the suit, which has glowing eyes, may be a little scary)
  • Sexual Content: 3/5       
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (several uses of mild to moderate curse words and blasphemy. One mild use of a derogatory term for a physical disability. One use of a curse word refering to cowardice but is also a slang sexual term)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (several mentions of people being killed or threatened to be shot)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of post traumatic stress, anxiety, courage, fighting against evil, protecting those you care about, a child being abandoned by his father and deciding what is important in life.

Words by Mike Record

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Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]

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