REAL STEEL (2011) movie review

A father. A fighter. A boy who needs both. The boy cries out to his father, “I want you to fight for me! That’s all I ever wanted.”

Hubris takes Hugh Jackman‘s character, Charlie, to new lows as pride cometh before each crushing blow. High roller and a bad bet, Charlie takes robots into the boxing ring in the not-too-distant future. A favorite scene overtly nods to Rocky-lore as Jackman dons the grey sweats and hoodie to train for the big match.

This is not a fearfully deep film. Most characters wax one-dimensional. But it is redeeming and well-made.

Spielberg and family film director Shawn Levy (Date Night (2010), Night at the Museum (2006,2009), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), cast a new “Elliott”- a boy without a father who befriends an “alien” and learns to fight for family. Max, the boy, the mentor, the prize, rolls all of his punches into one soulful, Dr. Pepper-selling Beiber-ite. And E.T. to this Elliott is Atom, the ancient sparring robot who mirrors the father figure beautifully until the finale in which they act as one – symbiotically fighting to win back the boy. Ah, to be fought for. I believe it’s what we all want.

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