'Iron Man 2' Is a Kids' Flick -- And That's Okay

Let's just call Iron Man 2, and most superhero movies, what they are -- kids' flicks. Sure, they include sexually suggestive scenes and stars from the grownup world (Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke are not exactly Disney stars), but this is not unlike how animated films for children pander to grownups with over-their-head pop culture jokes.

I remember idolizing Superman when I was a kid -- posters, dolls, painful '70s Halloween costume, the whole shebang -- but my modern interest in superheroes is less pure-adult-fascination and more easy-way-to-think-like-a-kid-again. When I want to think like an adult, I'll rent The Wrestler

There's a whole school of thought on why audiences are fascinated by mythological superheroes, and I didn't take any of those classes in college. But I sense the popularity of superhero movies has a lot to do with fantasies of super-empowerment. And who craves empowerment more than kids? Especially when that empowerment comes through toy-like gadgets like Iron Man's suit, Batman's utility belt, Green Lantern's ring, Thor's hammer, Captain America's shield, Spiderman's web, Inspector Gadget's robotics, and Stretch Armstrong's stretchiness. Which of these are not like the others? Answer: None. They are all kids' movies, even when they're not based on kids' toys.

This is why superhero movies -- at least the ones in which children aren't spewing obscenities or are loaded with realistic violence -- are appropriately placed in lists of upcoming movies for kids. It's also why Hollywood spends so much marketing moolah making sure kids are filling those seats (Do you order Happy Meals for yourself?).

This doesn't mean grownups can't enjoy movies like Iron Man 2; just know it's the kid inside you who's being electrified.

Do you think most superhero films are kid flicks? Chime in below!

Plus, the latest movie news about:
- Natalie Portman in Thor
- Taylor Lautner in Stretch Armstrong
- Chris Evans in Captain America

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