Some critics have referred to this as the best Superman movie in history.
The scene in Rockwell where the Giant saves a pair of boys from falling off a roof is this as well as a heartwarming moment. The Giant, on pure instinct, saves two kids he doesn't know from a great fall. Even more awesome and heartwarming, the townsfolk just stare in awe at him instead of panicking like Mansley, seeing that the Giant is friendly.
More from General Rogard. Earlier when Hogarth and Dean devise a plan to hide the giant in plain sight, Rogard chews out Mansley big time for the false alarm, so loud that Hogarth can hear it from inside Dean's quonset hut. Doubles as Funny Moment.
Rogard, faintly: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? (Back outside:) General Rogard: You'll be Chief Inspector of Subway Toliets by the time I'm finished with you! Now pack up. I'll expect you back in Washington to clean out your office.
Mansley: (sounding defeated) Yes, sir.
(As Mansley and the army drive off, Hogarth waves goodbye and says to himself while smiling smugly)
When the Giant goes berserk and chases Rogard and Mansley's jeep back into town, the general unloads his sidearm at it, three times. It takes balls to return fire at a monster that just tore apart a group of tanks.
He's not just returning fire blindly either; his shots can be seen glancing off one of the tentacle-mounted lasers. Rogard deliberately aimed for, and hit, what looked like a target his gun might actually work on. He was also doing this while Mansley is having a breakdown yelling in his ear and the driver of the jeep (who is also being manhandled by Mansley) clearly just barely holding it together.
When he arrives in town, Rogard immediately grabs the radio out of a frozen and jaw-dropped soldier's hand and orders the battleships to "open fire at the robot NOW! NOW damn it, NOW!".
The speech Dean gives about the Iron Giant (the "work of art") to the military may be a cover, of course, but dang if it's not convincing and in-character. Listening to it, one would never suspect why he's acting so chill about showing the Giant.
Warner Bros.' humility over the film's failure being entirely their fault has to be admired. Since it flopped, they've gone out of their way to make up for this by hyping it up for the home video release, re-releasing it in theaters on its 15th anniversary (and funding new animation for it) and, most importantly, not shying away from letting the crew call their bluff on the behind-the-scenes documentary on the Signature Edition. Their subsidiary, Cartoon Network, airs this film every Thanksgiving without fail; regardless of some of their more recent boneheaded decisions, this is something to applaud.