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(2008), PG-13 [Ultra-lite R-13*] (1hr 17min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 3, 2008
May 8, 2008

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2008), PG-13 [Ultra-lite R-13*] ...refreshingly lite for a PG-13 in ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Dark Blades Films, Fairview Entertainment, Marvel Enterprises, Road Rebel
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Jon Favreau
Producer(s): Victoria Alonso, Ari Arad, Avi Arad, Peter Billingsley, Louis D'Esposito, Jon Favreau, Kevin Feige, Eric Heffron, Michael A. Helfant, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee
Written by: Mark Fergus
Screnplay: Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway,
Characters: Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Cinematography/Camera: Matthew Libatique
Music: Ramin Djawadi
Film Editing: Dan Lebental
Casting: Sarah Finn
Production Design: J. Michael Riva
Art Direction: David F. Klassen, Suzan WexlerViewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

With a final score of 54, Iron Man (PG-13) is an ultra-lite R-13 positioned at the very top of the scoring range earned by R-rated films in the comparative baseline database (54 and below out of 100). Put another way, it is positioned just one point of 100 below the very bottom of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67). The final score of 54 is mainly due to violence and booze/drinking. The film is refreshingly lite for a PG-13 in sexually immoral behaviors and imagery and in foul language (only four uses). While it is "refreshingly lite" for a PG-13 in sexually immoral behaviors, it still presents a woman (a reporter whom the lead character picked up) in her underwear atop him making out in bed then seeing her sit up nude under a sheet then prance about in only a shirt over her underwear the morning after spending the night together.

I will say for the film that some top-notch CGI and techno-imagery make the sometimes boring 117-minute story tolerable. And it would have been just as powerful if the writers left out the sex and foul language and other ignominies.

On his way to Afghanistan to demonstrate his latest invention for mass killing, billionaire genus weapons-maker Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the US troop convoy escorting him are attacked. All are killed except for Tony who is seriously wounded.

Through life-flashing-before-my-eyes flashbacks we learn that the devil-may-care playboy Tony can build just about anything he wants to build. By the way, to give substance to Tony's image as a playboy, a characterization of Hugh Hefner of Playboy(tm) magazine, played by the Marvel(tm) master Stan Lee himself, is included with a few female toys flittering about, apparently to lead the audience to think Tony knows Hefner well. NOTE: Preveiously, I had thought the Hefner charcter to actually be Hefner but some readers (one with the typical "PG-13" mentality -- y'know, a hateful know-it-all attitude) let me know that it was Stan Lee playing Hefner. An honsest mistake since I have not seen Hefner in decades and having only seen him with a gaggle of gals, a smoking jacket and a pipe -- just like the Hefner image in Ironman -- I made a bad assumption that it was Hefner, not just a characterization of him. My bad. Thanks to our readers for their feedback.

Leading the direction for Tony's genius was his father's influence. Tony is the worldwide leader in making weapons of mass destruction plus a few philanthropic ventures to counterbalance the weight of his weapon-making. In the flashbacks we find Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is Tony's strangely loyal "girl Friday", Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) is his no-punches-pulled business partner and Col. James Rhodes (Terrence Howard) is his best friend.

When Tony wakes up he is in a cave. Yinsen (Shaun Toub) is fussing over Tony. We are told that shrapnel in his chest cannot be removed under the circumstances and that the shrapnel keeps digging deeper and deeper. Eventually the shrapnel will reach Tony's heart and kill him. To prevent this, Yinsen installed an electromagnet into Tony's chest to halt the progression of the shrapnel. The problem with this is that Tony must carry with him at all times a car battery to power the electromagnet.

The reason for the guerrillas abducting Tony? Guerrilla leader Raza (Faran Tahir) wants Tony's new mass killing missile and wants Tony to make it right there in the cave. Instead, out of the materials he is supposed to build the missile with Tony fashions a bullet-proof armor suit that enables Tony to fly. The suit also has a number of assault gadgets. Tony escapes.

Now that Tony has seen with his own eyes that or which his weapons are used he has a change of heart. He terminates the weapons division of Stark Industries. That causes the Stark stocks to plummet. Undaunted, Tony concentrates on refining the suit of armor he built in Afghanistan. But someone in the midst, truly an unexpected bad guy that does not follow the instructions in the Bad Guy Manual, is not at all happy with Tony's change of heart and tries to kill him.

This sequel-ready production stands to add another dimension to the super hero genre. While it mimics some from other films, such as Batman with Miss Potts as Alfred, Tony as Bruce and a rich man turning his wealth to crime fighting, it does not appear to be a copycat production just to capitalize on the super hero box office dollars. It is, aside from the little nips of what might seem to be "plagiarism", a stand-alone production ready to take its place in the annals of cinematic escapism. A sequel is quite probably unavoidable.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
This film is wrought with violence of varying intensities. Enough violence was found to cause the loss of all the starting 100 points in this investigation area. Some of the violence was brutal and graphic. Just like in many R-rated movies. Lots of gunfire, most of it to kill. A number of deaths. Assaults. Abduction with brutality. Torture and threat of it with a burning coal. Episodes of multiple killings. The use of human shields. And more. Much more. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section gives a a line-by-line accounting of the violence content of Iron Man. [Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I) - 66 out of 100
Atypical of most PG-13 films, Iron Man is "lite" in foul language. Only four times was the three/four letter word vocabulary noted. The content causing the biggest reason for the loss of a full third of the starting 100 points in this Impudence/Hate investigation area was all the lies. God warns us strongly about lying and gives no room for the "intensity" or "seriousness" mortals assign to lies and lying, no room for even "little white lies" since He condemns "all [unforgiven] liars." [Rev. 21:8]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 74 out of 100
As noted above at the beginning of the Summary/Commentary section, Iron Man is atypically lite for a PG-13 film in sexually immoral behaviors and imagery. But that it is lite in the demonstration of such sin does not make it "clean." The viewer is exposed to a woman atop a man engaged in frantic making out while she, at least, is in her underwear plus she prancing around the morning after in only a shirt covering her underwear, implying overnight cohabitation for sex.

In the same verse that God warns us about lying He warns us of sexually immoral behaviors. His warning about [unforgiven] sexually immoral behaviors carries the same consequence as for liars -- "...their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." [Rev. 21:8] And this is just one verse against sexually immoral choices. Let's try Col. 3:5. And maybe 1 Cor. 6:9-10. How about Jude 1:7? And maybe ...

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 23 out of 100
The American College of Physicians (ACP) reported in a 2002 study that viewing of drinking alcoholic beverages in and as entertainment inarguably emboldens youth, in particular the middle school age stratum -- the PG and PG-13 age stratum -- to conjure contempt for the law and abuse alcoholic beverages.

The ACP used R-rated films in their study since they assumed that R-rated movies typically contain more drinking than other movie classifications. We have found this assumption to not be true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" proven by this ministry in 2000 (see R-13) and as the "ratings creep" by Harvard University scientists four years after us (see Harvard Agrees With Us.

Iron man is a perfect example of our finding that R-rated films do not, by the nature of their classification and thus the "approved" audience, present more drinking than less severely rated films. Iron Man earned an area score of 23 out of 100 due to frequent drinking and showing of alcoholic beverages. Films rated R in the comparative baseline database earned final scores of 54 and below out of 100. The assumption that R-rated films typically present the most drinking is simply no longer sound if it ever has been.

Within the ACP study population of 4544 middle school students (90% were under fourteen years old - the "PG-13 crowd"), the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • 16% for those with partial restrictions on which rating may be viewed
  • four percent for those with complete restrictions.

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    The bottom line? The influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable and is irrespective of the MPAA classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    I can add to the ACP study. I submit that it is not so much the presence of alcohol in films that embolden youth to abuse alcohol, but is rather the attitude portrayed: the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences; the "It ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" attitude. PG-13 and R-rated films and often lesser rated films are typically heavy with attitude. Our report on this, ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 may provide more understanding of the point.

    Offense to God (O) - 77 out of 100
    God further warns us of abusing His name. [Deut. 5:11] With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 86 out of 100
    Murder demonstrated in this film includes murder by assault and by multiple execution (unseen) as the guerrillas mow down people hidden by structures.


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  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence, no matter how "small" it might seem, and its effect on an observer. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women/characters demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen. Knowing of Prov. 16:29 you now know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [defeat, expunge, deprive of power, destroy the strength of], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [defeat, expunge, deprive of power, destroy the strength of], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • 1Cor. 6:9-10 Do you not know that the [unforgiven] wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: false, emptiness, nothingness, lying, worthlessness (of conduct) such as an expletive.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Iron Man (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • gunfire to kill, frequent
  • military/terrorism deaths and assaults to kill, repeatedly
  • action violence of varying intensities, repeatedly, some with deaths
  • brutality, repeatedly, some with injuries
  • the use of firearms to control, frequently
  • firearm assault, frequently
  • reckless driving, repeatedly
  • massive military/terrorism ordnance, repeatedly
  • flashes of bloody injuries from beating
  • invasive biomedical procedure on self
  • abduction, repeatedly
  • torture
  • assault
  • threat of torture with burning coal
  • reckless gunfire
  • corporate underhandedness with intent to kill, repeatedly
  • images of terrorism multiple killings, repeatedly
  • multiple uses of human shields
  • some gore
  • order to kill
  • additional images of brutality, including toward hostages
  • attempted murder by removal of life support
  • planning murder
  • contract to kill
  • threat to kill
  • attempted murder, repeatedly

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • acidic music
  • lies, repeatedly and an order to lie

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • woman on man in bed making out frantically, she in her underwear
  • woman in sheet only and in shirt over her underwear only after spending the night together
  • using women as toys or ornaments
  • talk of sexually immoral behaviors
  • homosexual "humor"
  • excessive cleavage

    Drugs/Alcohol (D)
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)
  • five uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • gambling

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder by assault and by gunfire execution of multiple victims

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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