Review: The Iron Claw

Official synopsis: 
The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, Kevin, (Zac Efron) Kerry, (Jeremy Allen White) David (Harris Dickinson) and Mike (Stanley Simmons) who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s.

I grew up watching professional wrestling, but the Von Erichs were men I didn't learn about until later in life. Still, whether you're familiar with their talents and tragedies, this movie isn't just for wrestling fans.

Director Sean Durkin (who also made the wonderful Martha Marcy May Marlene) crafts a wonderful story of brotherhood, toxic masculinity and how one family dealt with a "curse" and tried to overcome it. This is easily Zac Efron's best performance. Not only did he physically transform to play Kevin, the only surviving Von Erich son, but he gets plenty of opportunity to stretch his acting chops. Something I don't think we've often seen of him. Jeremy Allen White's talents are well known with his hit role in The Bear, but surprisingly he doesn't have the most to do as Kerry. He's soft spoken and his scenes were meaningful, but I expected more of a focus on him just knowing their stories.

It does leave room for Dickinson and Simmons to shine as David and Mike. They were both excellent. Holt McCallany was also tremendous as the patriarch Fritz Von Erich. So much so that I wanted to throw something at the screen every time he was on. 

There is one caveat to knowing the Von Erich story, and watching this. And entire brother is missing. Chris, who faced similar tragedies to Kerry and Mike is missing. Cut for time, and someone amalgamated with Mike. I don't think this was the best choice. I understand the point where it may have been relentless  with tragedy in the back half, but I absolutely think they could've fit him in. They also completely cut out Kerry's family, and make Kevin's first two children boys instead of girls. This was likely done to keep the theme of brotherhood, but it just felt a bit disrespectful. Especially considering Kerry's daughter Lacey had a decent run as a wrestler her self. It would've cost them nothing to include his family in one scene.

Still, those are minor things that aren't going to affect every movie goer. Everything else about the film is fantastic and I'm surprised it's not getting a bit more Oscar buzz honestly. It's definitely worth your time.



  1. I do want to see this though I fully know the story of the Von Erichs as it is a tragic story as I am concerned about what they will leave off while I'm eager to see if there's going to be an extended cut of the film with MJF as the fake Von Erich cousin Lance that really ended up hurting the WCCW promotion. I know Ryan Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler's brother) is Gino Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero Jr. plays a wrestler but also did a lot of the training with everyone in the film.

    I haven't seen Lacey wrestled yet many wrestling fans thought she was terrible. Fortunately, Kevin's sons have done well and might be going to Ring of Honor which I think is the right place for them though I'm worried that AEW/ROH might not get that streaming deal WBD because of a former employee who is tight with David Zaslav and might get WWE a deal with WBD.

    1. I remember Lacey in TNA but I didn't think she was terrible. Definitely not as good as some of the other talent they had at the time, but not terrible. Did they actually intend to include Lance in this movie? That's so weird that they'd do that but cut Chris.

    2. I'll still take her over.... ugh.... Jenna Morasca (remember her?) and... ugh... AllBotchEverything.

    3. Good, she was famous for being a contestant on Survivor yet she's more infamous for.... ONE OF THE WORST WRESTLING MATCHES EVER!!!! Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling News Observer awarded the match.... MINUS FIVE-STARS!!!! Watch here if you dare. It is that bad.

    4. Oh my God, poor Sharmell having to endure that! Awesome Kong...ugh, I'm still mad she didn't get her time to shine in the WWE. She was so unique.

  2. yeah, i'm not much of a purist when it comes to biopics, but i do think the truth they cut and reshaped for the movie is a bit awkward. here's some explanation from the director (though, i still have the same concerns):

    1. Thanks for sharing that! I still disagree with his choices. Chris needed to be there, and I really think they should've incorporated the daughters at least.


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