Movie Review: The Iron Claw (2023)

Synopsis: Professional wrestler and promoter Fritz Von Erich seeks to build a wrestling dynasty with his four sons, Kevin, Kerry, David and Michael. However, every time the patriarch's dream seems to be coming true, tragedy strikes, adding credibility to a rumored family curse.

Who's in it? The movie stars Zach Efron, Lily James, Jeremy Allen White, Maura Tierney and Holt McCallany.

Review: I've been interested in seeing this movie since it first came out, mostly because I am familiar with the Von Erich family and the so-called curse that plagued them. However, since I knew it was the kind of movie my wife probably wouldn't like, I held off until I had some alone time to watch it. That finally happened this afternoon and, after seeing it, my overall opinion is mixed.

The movie does a fairly decent job telling the family story, though probably with some dramatic liberties along the way. After seeing it, I was left with an understanding about why the family's success was so important to Fritz (McCallany) and why his sons were so determined to do what they could to make their father happy. 

The film also mixes in some decent action with the various wrestling matches they participate in (albeit in abbreviated form), though it was a bit unclear if the movie was acknowledging the scripted nature of professional wrestling or was pretending it was 100 percent real. I personally enjoyed hearing names I was familiar with back when I was younger and still a pro wrestling fan, wrestlers like Ric Flair, Bruiser Brody and Harley Race.

The camera work was notable as well, providing some unique angles and perspectives that were as entertaining as the scenes themselves. I'm not normally a fan of artistic things like that in films but it was one of the few times it worked.

My biggest problem with this movie is I feel like the filmmakers dropped the ball as far as point of view is concerned. Yeah, it was interesting to see this told from Kevin's (Efron) perspective. However, I felt like it would have been considerably better had they told it from the point of view of the mother, Doris (Tierney), someone I personally think didn't get enough screen time considering they were her sons too.

Final Opinion: It's an interesting movie from a biopic perspective and I did enjoy watching it but as I said before, telling it from the mother's perspective would have made it that much better.

My Grade: B


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