When Steven Spielberg’s name came up as executive producer, I could already guess that this is going to be the same whole E.T. thing in which a boy will be at some random place and will find either an alien or a robot and then they become best friends blah blah blah… oh, don’t forget the father and son relationship!
But so what if this is another one of those Spielberg tales, Real Steel is a smashing movie. And by smashing, I mean that there is a lot of smashing going on. More specifically, robot smashing. We only see the robots duke it out in restricted boxing ring scenarios, so there isn’t any kind of building-wrecking mayhem a la Transformers, if that is what you think this is.
Speaking of, a common criticism of Transformers is that it spends too much time on the humans and keeps us waiting impatiently to see the robots again. Real Steel gives us the robots we came for, but also includes a set of human characters that we (sort of) care about by the end of the film. And unlike in Transformers, the different robot designs in Real Steel are distinct enough to tell apart. [+1]
Twelve year old Dakota Goyo plays the little boy character, and he is the one to watch. Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman goes topless in one scene, and his body is to die for. Evangeline “Freckles” Lilly (where are all my LOST fans?!) appears as his love interest, and we get to see her shoulders a lot. The cast is bogged down by a very rusty script, but I don’t think the target audience of young kids really care about script-writing.
Amidst all the hard-hitting robot smackdowns and sports movie cliches, what makes this film work is a prevalent and compelling father and son relationship. Real Steel is one of the biggest cheese crackers you will eat in your life, but it is also one of the tastiest.