“You are who you choose to be” is the simple theme of “The Iron Giant”. Hogarth says this exact line to the Giant when the Giant believes he has to kill people. Hogarth lets the Giant be who he wants to be, and lets him know he has a choice.
The Giant compares himself to Superman multiple times throughout the movie because Hogarth told the Giant that his power should be used for good, like Superman. The Giant wants to be good and righteous, but he has no morale compass. He doesn’t know right and wrong. Originally built as a weapon, The Giant learns and chooses not to destroy, but to be who he wants to be. He ends up sacrificing himself and saving the city from a nuclear bomb, as he has a flashback to what Hogarth had said, and the Giant utters “Superman” before saving the city and destroying himself. Hogarth had faith in the Giant through most of the story, and his words and actions were enough to convince the Giant to save the city. The Giant was built simply with the intent to destroy and kill, but the words of a child were enough for him to see that he could be who he wanted to be. The Giant is taught lessons of morality throughout the movie. He understands whats right and wrong, and he still chooses to be right. He has control over what he is doing, and who he is. People feared and hated him, but he rose above that to be good. He was a weapon sent to destroy earth but he saved thousands of lives on his on merit.
“The Iron Giant” is a great movie with an amazing message. It lets people know that they are who they make themselves. The Giant can be seen as a metaphor for bad habits or behaviors that if you choose to, you can change. Hogarth is your subconscious or the angel on your shoulder telling you that you can be better. Kent Mansley can be seen as a metaphor for the devil on your other shoulder, trying to keep you in the same downward spiral and making everything worse. All in all, I believe that ” The Iron Giant” can be viewed as a story about the good and bad decisions you make, and how they affect you and others around you, and how you can change these things.