I was clearly misinformed about Real Steel. I thought this was just about boxing robots and Hugh Jackman somehow builds a fighting superstar or something like that. I think I looked at the trailer all wrong. This film is not just about boxing robots (I take it back) and Jackman kinda has little to do with the creation of the awesome robot in the movie, Atom. No, in fact, it's all Max.
Who is Max, you say? Max Kenton played by young Dakota Goyo is the surprise package of the film. Set in the distant future where robot boxing rules, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer whose fighting robots are on a permanent losing streak. (FYI: I did not realize this was set in the future until after the movie, a future where fighting robots is the only technological achievement is hardly cool. Where are the flying cars?) When his ex-girlfriend suddenly dies, his 11-year son whom he never really thought about comes back in his life. Both Max and Charlie are wary of each other and their relationship is rocky until one night when at a salvage yard for parts for a new robot, Max finds Atom, an old robot who was never meant to be a fighter. Atom changes Max as he blossoms into a confident, smart little kid who figures out how to take on the big guys.
Charlie is mostly unlikeable for the first half of the film until he comes around to Max's way of thinking and fighting. Played by Jackman, all around nice guy, this was strange to see. But the relationship between father and son grows as they learn how to fight in the arena and think on their feet. Especially fun to watch were dancing sequences between Max and Atom before each fight. I loved their energy. It was hard not to root for them. Real Steel is futuristic robotic David and Goliath story that really impresses. I'll be looking forward to seeing what Dakota Goyo does next, he has real potential.
Directed by Shawn Levy; Screenplay by John Gatins; Story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven; Cinematography by Mauro Fiore; Editing by Dean Zimmerman; Music by Danny Elfman
Additional Cast; Evangaline Lilly; Hope Davis, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand