Professional wrestling fans are likely familiar with the story of the Von Erich dynasty, who grew to enormous success in the 1980s. However, it’s a story worth telling even for those outside of the sports realm, and that’s what Sean Durkin has done as the writer/director of The Iron Claw. The film, which is centered around Kevin Von Erich (Zac Efron), premiered — appropriately — in Dallas, Texas, and those who were able to catch an early screening of the upcoming A24 movie are hitting social media to share their first reactions. They seem to agree this tragic tale is likely to garner some awards.
Zac Efron went through an insane hair and body transformation for the role of Kevin Von Erich, and he’s joined by Jeremy Allen White, Holt McCallany, Maura Tierney, AEW star Maxwell Jacob Friedman and others as the members of the Texas wrestling family. A lot of work went into creating authentic wrestling scenes for the tragic Von Erich story, so let’s see if this will go down as another one of the best A24 movies. Film critic Courtney Howard says Efron’s effort is a “career best,” and he’s surrounded by talent. Howard continues:
Simon Thompson calls Zac Efron’s performance “excellent,” while also praising the cinematography and editing for adding to The Iron Claw’s authenticity. The movie is a “genuinely powerful cocktail,” Thompson writes on X, and says:
Scott Menzel of We Live Entertainment predicts there may be awards in store for leading man Zac Efron and Holt McCallany in a supporting role, but says the entire ensemble elevates one another in this “deeply emotional” biopic. Menzel writes:
Clayton Davis of Variety is another critic predicting awards love for Holt McCallany, who plays Fritz Von Erich, the patriarch of the wrestling dynasty. Overall Davis compares The Iron Claw to heavy-handed winners in the past like Manchester by the Sea, writing:
Will Landman agrees that The Iron Claw is a successful outing for A24 and Sean Durkin, but he isn’t sure about the choice to consolidate Chris Van Erich’s story into that of his brother Mike’s (Stanley Simons). Overall, though, this movie was the epitome of tragedy and love, Landman posts on X:
Bill Bria writes that The Iron Claw succeeds in eliciting a gamut of emotions from its audience over its 132-minute runtime, posting:
If you want to see this movie of pure muscles, in which Zac Efron will show off some insane wrestling moves, you’ve unfortunately still got a few weeks to wait. The Iron Claw is set to hit theaters on the Oscar race-friendly release date of Friday, December 22. In the meantime, however, you can check out other movies that feature professional wrestlers or take a peek at our 2023 movie release calendar to see what else is coming to the big screen in the meantime.
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Khushi Patel is a science fiction author who lives in Austin, Texas. She has published three novels, and her work has been praised for its originality and imagination. Khushi is a graduate of Rice University, and she has worked as a software engineer. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and her books have been nominated for several awards.