Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

It figures. Just when everything's going your way, something comes along and messes things up. For some people, it's an unexpected illness, an overdrawn bank account or a traffic accident one block away from work.

For Tony Stark, it's being shot at and abducted by terrorists.

Before that happens, Stark's on top of the world. With more money than Donald Trump and more smarts than the profs at MIT, he can buy anything he wants—houses, cars, women. And if he can't buy it, he can make it. He can outthink Einstein, outparty Paris Hilton and outspend Bruce Wayne. Stark's not bothered by the fact that his company, Stark Industries, has created some of the world's most notable weapons of war. Nor does he lose sleep knowing his palatial Malibu estate was paid for by their sale. In fact, he goes to the Middle East to demonstrate the most powerful non-nuclear munition yet—something called the Jericho Missile.

So there is a certain amount of irony wrapped up in the fact that when Stark's convoy gets ambushed it's with weapons from his own company. Stark almost dies in the assault. Then his captors demand that he build a Jericho system for them. It appears that he has no choice but to follow their orders.

Or does he? Instead of using the materials he's given to make that missile, Stark fashions a nifty suit of armor for himself that facilitates his escape as he creates a mini-Armageddon in the middle of the terrorists' hideout.

When Stark returns home, he's a changed man. ...

Positive Elements

He tells the world that Stark Industries will no longer make its money by selling superior firepower, saying, "I don't want a body count to be my only legacy." He also laments, "I had become part of a system that had become comfortable with zero accountability."

Some of the credit for Stark's transformation goes to his kind cellmate, Yinsen, who advises him, "Don't waste your life." Yinsen values his family deeply. He asks Stark if he has a wife and children, and is saddened to learn he does not. "So, you're a man who has everything and nothing," Yinsen tells Stark.

Indeed, Iron Man is an ethical rags-to-riches story in which the morally impoverished Tony Stark finds that true wealth is found in good deeds, not good stock options.

He appears to mourn, very belatedly, the death of his father, whom he never got to say goodbye to. He realizes that loyal assistant Pepper Potts is more than just a very efficient Girl Friday: She's the only friend he has in the world.

Most importantly, he has a sudden yen to help the very people his weapons have been hurting, so he pours tons of his own money and time into a new superhero suit that'll help him do just that. Though Pepper protests, he tells her that, in his heart, he knows what he's doing is right.

"I shouldn't be alive," Stark says. "Unless it's for a reason."

Characters are willing to give their lives for others. At least one pays that ultimate price.

Spiritual Content

Stark's path to becoming Iron Man is, in many ways, as spiritual as you can get without reciting Bible verses. He is an archetypical woeful sinner who wasted much of his life on wine, women and weapons. While he doesn't find God, specifically, he does find what he considers a purpose when he has what one might call the Marvel Comics equivalent of the Apostle Paul's Damascas Road experience. No longer is he blind to what's going on around him. No longer is his life aimless. He has a reason to live. A calling.

Heightening the parallel, that calling is sustained by a glowing power source close to his heart (a nod to a new soul?) and involves an effective high-tech suit of (spiritual?) armor.

Elsewhere, as a man is bleeding out from a variety of gunshot wounds, he says, "My family is dead. I'm going to see them now."

Sexual Content

Stark is well known as a womanizer, prompting a soldier to ask him whether he's gone "12 for 12" with the models on last year's Maxim covers. Stark says he missed one, but since December featured twins, 12 is still the right number. There are a few other innuendoes and sexual comments as well, one of which is a joke about a man mistakenly hooking up with a transvestite. A mistaken identity gag gives a nod to Hugh Hefner.

And we see Stark hanging out with immodestly dressed women. Pepper wears a revealing, backless gown. Stark and straight-arrow military man Jim Rhodes ride one of Stark's private jets that's staffed with midriff-baring flight attendants and a stripper pole.

When a female Vanity Fair reporter asks Stark how he can sleep at night, Stark answers that he's "prepared to lose a few [hours of sleep] with you." He does exactly that in the film's most glaring sexual scene. Briefly, we see them aggressively kissing, grappling and rolling in bed together. (We don't see any nudity.)

Violent Content

True to its comic book roots, Iron Man is violent and frenetic at times. The opening scene—in which several U.S. soldiers are taken out by explosions and gunfire—may be the most disturbing. One bomb rips through a Humvee, while the vehicle Stark is riding in gets riddled with gunfire. All the soldiers protecting Stark presumably die, and Stark himself is nearly blown up by a mortar round.

He survives, of course. And we see a hazy sequence of him going under the knife while in serious pain. When he wakes up, he has a grotesque device implanted in his chest—a device that Stark upgrades a couple of times and, at one point, has Pepper help him install. Pepper is appalled by both the idea of, and by the actual act of, stuffing her hand inside this unnatural body cavity. "It's just like Operation," Stark assures her, then warns her not to let the wires touch the sides. She slips, giving him an electrical shock. When she withdraws her hand, it's loaded with slime.

As Iron Man, Stark takes out dozens of bad guys via guns, missiles, flamethrowers and sheer brute force. A couple are killed when they open a booby-trapped door. One ends up killing himself by firing at Iron Man: The bullet bounces back and hits his head. Iron Man captures an enemy lieutenant and drops him off in the middle of a bevy of civilians the lieutenant and his men had been torturing. "He's all yours," Iron Man solemnly intones before flying off.

A villain immobilizes rivals with a high-pitched tone that also causes their veins to bulge. Stark is tortured. One of the methods used that we see is his head being thrust underwater. His "heart support" is ripped out of his chest. Another man is nearly force-fed a hot coal. Later, after getting shot offscreen, we see that man die. A group of baddies is executed offscreen. And a man is about to be executed in front of his screaming family when Iron Man intervenes.

Iron Man has an intense encounter with a couple of F-22s, and in a separate incident, nearly falls to his death after flying too high. He accidentally bashes himself around while developing the suit. And he doesn't just endanger himself. His reckless testing puts others at risk too.

Iron Man's climactic Transformers-like battle involves lots of action and peril, and several innocent bystanders wreck their cars trying to avoid the mayhem. The battle also leads to the apparent death of one of the combatants.

Crude or Profane Language

Jesus' name is interjected once. God's name is similarly misused at least a half-dozen times. There are scattered uses of "d--n," "h---" and "b--ch"; one use each of "pr--k" and the shortened scatological crudity "BS."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Stark drinks like a dehydrated guppy before his "conversion," and even takes a drink or two after it. We see all manner of intoxicating beverages consumed—whisky, sake, martinis, etc.—and at one point Stark tells Rhodes that it would be "irresponsible not to drink." Rhodes at first declines, but we later see him, drink in hand, rather tipsily talking with Stark.

There's quite a bit of smoking, too. Cigarettes. A cigar. And a pipe—in the hands of Marvel impresario Stan Lee during his standard cameo.

Other Negative Elements

In a gross-out moment, Stark pulls a long tube out of his nose. He shoots craps in a casino. He shows very little regard for traffic laws or public airspace. And he eats a Burger King cheeseburger—inadvisable, you'd think, for anyone with a heart condition that necessitates a glowing motor in an unnatural chest cavity.

Rhodes twists the truth and covers for Stark when it comes to keeping Iron Man a secret (and not shooting him out of the air with missiles).


Iron Man emphasizes loyalty, restitution and the responsible use of power by individuals and nations. But this superhero is not merely a Spider-Man clone. And that has a lot to do with his origin story. No radioactive spider bite. No exposure to gamma rays. Stark isn't accidentally endowed with new skills. His heroic journey involves an arrogant sinner coming to grips with his own depravity and choosing to change.

So the film's underlying messages—that being virtuous is better than being rich, that we all have unexpected callings, that we, like Stark, live for a reason—are inspiring, biblical and, in today's fame-and-fortune-at-any-cost society, downright countercultural. Still, the gold's buried beneath the surface, and this Iron blade that's visible could have done with a bit more sharpening. Stark's road to redemption is littered with bodies and takes several detours by way of questionable, unfortunate decisions and actions.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark; Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane; Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes; Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts


Jon Favreau ( )


Paramount Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!