The Iron Claw viewers in the UK have given the film rave reviews finally dropped in six weeks after its cinematic release across the Atlantic.
But fans are still struggling to come to terms with Zac Efron’s shockingly different appearance as Kevin Von Erich in the wrestling drama.
The film follows the tragic true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history spearheading the world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s.
The High School Musical star features alongside on-screen brothers Jeremy Allen White (Kerry), Harris Dickinson (David) and Stanley Simons (Mike).
After watching the new biopic, one viewer reacted on X – formerly known as Twitter – saying: ‘I can’t get used to Zac Efron’s new face.’
The Iron Claw viewers in the UK have given the film rave reviews finally dropped in six weeks after its cinematic release across the Atlantic
Zac’s appearance in the last few years has sparked surgery rumours, however, the star revealed in 2022 that his fuller jawline came after he smashed his jaw in an accident. Seen in the new movie, shot in 2022 and 2023 (left), and at the film’s premiere in November
Pictured (L-R): Harris Dickinson, Efron, Stanley Simons, and Jeremy Allen White as the Von Erich siblings
One viewer was so shocked by the transformation that they asked asked if ‘that’s actually him?’
The fuller jawline also shocked fans last year as he promoted his upcoming movie, with some suspecting that he had work done.
More responded after the movie’s full release by asking if ‘that’s actually him?’ And ‘What did he do to his face?’
‘Zac Efron’s ‘roid-face is giving me the worst case of uncanny valley,’ another added.
Zac explained the transformation when it happened in 2021, but his broader jaw keeps resurfacing on screen now because it was filmed the same year.
He revealed the inflated appearance was the result of the actor smashing his jaw on a granite fountain. His facial muscles grew in compensating for the injury.
Looking past the lead’s surprising appearance, though, The Iron Claw has been hailed ‘an instant classic’ by viewers, who said: ‘You definitely don’t need to be a fan of wrestling to appreciate The Iron Claw.
‘What a moving, poignant and at times funny film that’s about family as much as wrestling…
‘The iron claw was so good…
‘Just watched Iron Claw. Easily the best movie of 2023…
‘Anyways, see The Iron Claw. It’s an instant classic.’
The Iron Claw follows the tragic true story of the Von Erich family, who made history spearheading the world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Pictured: Brothers (L-R) Kevin, David and Kerry with their champion father Fritz
Fritz does not mind his sons knowing how he orders his favourites, he considers it an incentive to make him proud. ‘The rankings can always change,’ he tells them
The movie has been rewarded with a ‘certified fresh’ 89 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score.
Its critics consensus says: ‘Powerfully acted and profoundly sad, The Iron Claw honours its fact-based story with a dramatization whose compassionate exploration of family ties is just as hard-hitting as its action in the wrestling ring.’
Kevin was the oldest surviving son of Fritz (Holt McCallany) and Doris (Maura Tierney), whose firstborn died in boyhood.
The clan of sons were all raised in the image of their wrestling champion father, whose signature move was the eponymous ‘iron claw’, a kind of one-handed head vice.
And his dearest wish, unambiguously expressed, is for all his boys to follow him into the ring.
One of them, Mike, is not as strong and sporty as the others. He prefers his guitar to wrestling, which is why Fritz proclaims him his least favourite.
Lily James stars as Kevin’s (Zac Efron) sweetheart Pam Adkisson, later his wife
Looking past the High School Musical star’s appearance, viewers of the film labelled it an ‘instant classic’
He does not mind his sons knowing how he orders his favourites, he considers it an incentive to make him proud. ‘The rankings can always change,’ he tells them.
There was another son, Chris, who was the youngest, who was not included in the film as writer-director Sean Durkin told Variety his suicide was ‘one more tragedy that the film couldn’t really withstand’.
One other character we do meet is Kevin’s Texan partner, Pam Adkisson, played by Lily James.
That couple’s family is where the story ends, with Kevin crying as he watches his and Pam’s children playing football, reflecting on the sad fate of his own siblings.