My buddy and I saw Iron Man this weekend. First let me say, it rocked. Well done movie. I won't get involved with actually REVIEWING it, because I don't generally write reviews and frankly did not spend my childhood watching Iron Man or any other Justice League cartoons when I was a kid. If you're looking for a review, check with my friend Howard, who hasn't seen the movie yet but has been informed he should get his butt there as soon as possible.
So another friend of mine posed the question, "should I take my kids?" Mind you, we're talking about kids under age 8. It appears this is around the time when kids start getting exposed to death, destruction, sexuality and other juicy tidbits of pop culture that make up the big screen and the elementary school bus ride. My 7-year-old is headed that way now. Here's the general path she's taken:
Age 1: Religiously watched the Simpsons, because they were colorful and made funny noises, and there was a dog.
Age 2: Loved Pixar's Monsters, Inc for the big fluffy blue guy, but after the 14th time watching it had a nightmare and told us to return the DVD to the store. No way we would introduce "The Incredibles" any time soon.
Age 3: Banned from Simpsons. Replaced with Elmo.
Age 4: Watching Dora now. Over, and over, and over again.
Age 5: Barbie invades. Please don't make me go on.
Age 6: High School Musical arrives on the scene. Natalie learns the term "Omigod Omigod Omigod!!! Also first year riding the bus for kindergarten, after the first day comes back with the mouth of a sailor.
Age 7: Tries out the Incredibles. Loves it. Watches it over and over again. Sees her first PG-13 movie, National Treasure. Loved it for the history, had bad dream due to the guy plummeting to his death. Got over it quickly and went to see National Treasure 2. Now enjoys a good plummet.
Based on where she is at Age 7, I can only assume that at Age 8 she will be shooting up heroin in a corner alley and selling herself for money due to the horrible parenting she received thus far.
But that brings me back to the original question (or does it?), "should kids see Iron Man?"
I say yes, with a few caveats. Let's break this down:
There's not much in the way of the big nasty going on in Iron Man. While the main character is portrayed as a womanizer, that is demonstrated only once when he hooks up with a reporter from Vanity Fair and leaves her for the assistant to kick out the next morning. But the actual sex scene was simply a fully clothed moment of emphatic rolling around on the bed that lasted about 5 seconds. No biggie there.
Bad-guy Arabs get killed, probably about a couple dozen of them in various ways. blown up, lit on fire, and shot. Nothing in the way of blood and gore, no body parts. In one scene the main bad guy shows off his severely burned and scarred head, that's about as bad as it gets.
Lots of them. After all the main character was an arms dealer. But it's all good.
Okay, there's one in the climax. It's big and mean, and tosses the main character around like a toothpick. But that's usually the way these movies pan out ain't it?
This movie is very funny. There's a couple of very fun scenes that any kid would see and immediately spew Coke out his nose.
So that's the rundown. But here's an underlying reason your kids should see this movie. How do you think your life would have been different if you'd never seen Star Wars (and, I'm asking only people other than my wife, who refuses to believe there ever WAS a Star Wars)? When Star Wars came out, I was 7 years old. To be honest I don't recall if my parents took me to see it, but I'm sure I must have seen it at some point. And from then on, Star Wars was embedded in my psyche just like it was in yours. I have a feeling Iron Man will have a similar affect. This movie is Part One of an inevitable series of movies on the Justice League, and you'll want to stick around.
So in summary, If your kid can handle Transformers, The Incredibles, Godzilla, or Batman, he can handle this. Actually scratch Batman...those movies always creeped me out.