With an absurdly silly premise like this, you can’t help but to feel like the people behind this movie are playing a practical joke on the world. Strangely enough, though, Real Steel is mildly thoughtful, offering depth, humor, and plenty of robot-on-robot action.
Yes, it’s easy to say that Real Steel is the realization of the dream started by Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, but it’s probably more accurate to say that it’s Rocky for the new generation… even if it stars Wolverine as a has-been boxer barely making ends meet. This is’t to say that Real Steel is going to win any awards, but it is a lot better than you might expect.
This is largely your typical underdog story, but under the wraps of mechanized robot battles. The product placement is rampant and the plot “twists” are incredibly predictable, but I still left the theatre with a smile on my face. The robots are humanized, especially in the scenes with Atom the underdog fighting bot and Max Kenton, the son of Hugh Jackman’s character. They dance, they laugh, they cry, and they fight. And we, as the moviegoer, win.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
As we look ahead to The Avengers movie next year, we have to take a look at the movies featuring the individual superheroes. You might remember my brief review of Thor a short while ago, as well as my thoughts on the Iron Man franchise. Captain America falls under the same baddie-battling umbrella, but it is heavily coated in a thick layer of American patriotism. But that’s okay.
I didn’t get the same kind of visceral satisfaction as I get with some other action movies and I don’t think they featured Hugo Weaving as Red Skull nearly enough, however, which ultimately leads to another forgettable addition to the Marvel movie collection. The grandiose presentation of Thor was more entertaining and X-Men: First Class easily outclassed Steve Rogers.
In particular, though I appreciate the efforts of one Chris Evans, I felt his portrayal of the Nazi-fighting patriot to be lacking. I never really connected with the character; the robots in Real Steel had more personality. Even so, if you have any interest in next year’s Avengers, you should watch the origin story of Captain America: The First Avenger, if only to understand any in-jokes and references they may make.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
I had my quibbles about the first of the Michael Bay Transformers movies. I had a few more quibbles about Transformers 2. And they have all culminated to the monstrosity known as Dark of the Moon.
Visually, Transformers 3 certainly has its appeal. The camera work, the big explosions, and the giant combat scenes are stunning to be sure. At the same time, the level of fan service has clearly diminished and Shia Labeouf is more unnerving than ever.
Logical missteps abound, Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes far too long to get started (spoiler: the real action doesn’t really begin until the situation is rebooted about halfway through) and my interest waned as the minutes passed me by. It’s time for Michael Bay to relinquish this treasured franchise.