The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

Polls

Best Overheard of the Week (01/19/2022)

  • I'll be like my sister and catfish people on Farmersonly.com. She's a menace. (Upper Caf) (56%, 5 Votes)
  • It was like a wall of cheese smell. I couldn't even go in. (Humanities) (22%, 2 Votes)
  • Me being an introvert, I like to recharge my batteries. (Lower Caf) (11%, 1 Votes)
  • Dude, you guys were all over each other and I wanted to gag. (Lower Caf) (11%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

Loading ... Loading ...

“The Iron Claw” is much more than a wrestling movie

The 2023 sports drama film “The Iron Claw” written and directed by Sean Durkin, follows the true story of the Von Erich family as they rise through the ranks of professional wrestling in the 1980s while dealing with tragedies along the way. 

It was given an R-rating and has a runtime of 132 minutes. The cast features Jeremy Allen White, Holt McCallany, Lily James, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney and Stanley Simons, with Zac Efron at the forefront. 

In the film, McCallany plays retired professional wrestler Fritz Von Erich. His five sons include Jack Jr., Kevin, Kerry, David and Mike. The oldest son, Jack Jr., died as a child. His death sparks rumors of a “Von Erich curse,” but the family itself doesn’t believe in it at first. Kevin and David, played by Efron and Dickinson respectively, both wrestle in the World Class Championship Wrestling company owned by their father. Kerry, played by White, is set to compete as a discus thrower at the 1980 Olympics, but the U.S. boycott forces him to come home and pursue wrestling instead. The youngest brother, Mike, portrayed by Simons, wants nothing to do with wrestling and would rather be a musician. After being denied the chance to obtain it himself, Fritz obsesses over the World Heavyweight Championship belt. He does everything in his power to bring it into the family and pushes his sons over the edge. As tragedy after tragedy plagues the Von Erich family, Kevin starts to believe the curse is real. Through it all, Kevin’s determination to keep going and his loyalty to his family is what ultimately might save them. 

“The Iron Claw” not only succeeds as a wrestling movie, but as a tragic drama about a real family. What stands out is the acting, themes and stunts. Efron gives a heartfelt performance as the lead actor playing Kevin Von Erich. As the oldest remaining sibling, his character always stays strong, even in the darkest moments. Efron does a fantastic job of portraying his emotions. The audience can feel how each tragedy impacts his character, and his continued perseverance through it all. Efron’s physique is impressive too, as he transformed to look like a professional wrestler. The actors’ chemistry can be noticed as well, there’s never a doubt that they could be brothers in real life. McCallany’s performance as the father, Fritz Von Erich, is very underrated. He is the true antagonist of the film, and his obsession with the World Heavyweight Championship indirectly leads to many of the tragedies. McCallany’s cadence and inflection command his sons to blindly follow in his footsteps. They do everything he says because of the way he speaks with authority. His character is meant to be disliked and the lack of sympathy he gives to his children make the audience despise him by the end of the film.  

Story continues below advertisement

The themes of perseverance, loyalty and faith also stand out. Despite the many devastating events that occur, Kevin keeps continuing on. He had every right to give up and quit, but he kept fighting to give his family more opportunities. This also ties into the theme of loyalty. The brothers stayed loyal to each other no matter what and wanted nothing but the best for each other. Their father was very manipulative, but they stayed loyal to him as well. Loyalty to each other is what allowed the family to get through each tragedy they endured. Faith is another important theme. The family is seen going to church and a cross is also seen in their home. With each tragedy, the characters turn to God for explanations and keep their faith in him.  

Although the film focuses a lot on its characters and the Von Erich family dynamic, it’s also still a wrestling film with plenty of stunts. The stunt team did an excellent job of making the wrestling scenes realistic. Every high-flying dive and grapple mirror actual professional wrestling moves. Even for viewers who don’t care for wrestling, the scenes remain accessible and entertaining.  

The film overall does justice to the real story of the Von Erichs, but it still has flaws. The main problem is with the pacing. The narrative attempts to fit around ten years of events into 132 minutes. Although it manages to fit most of the main events, it tends to jump around a lot. The film often sets up a subplot, but then skips ahead to the aftermath of a character’s actions. This can disconnect the viewer from the narrative at times and force the audience to play “catch-up” to understand what has happened to the characters since they last saw them. 

The few problems that exist do not ruin the film at all. It would still be successful by its wrestling stunts alone, but it’s much more than that. The performances and inspiring themes complete the film. “The Iron Claw” does justice to the tragic true story of the Von Erich family. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Wayne Stater
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wayne State College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ty Sterling, Staff Writer

Ty Sterling is a sophomore at Wayne State from Gretna, Nebraska. He is studying journalism/mass communications. Ty enjoys spending time with friends, sports, and consuming many types of media such as movies and video games.

Donate to The Wayne Stater
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Wayne Stater intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Wayne Stater does not allow anonymous comments, and The Wayne Stater requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Wayne Stater Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *