Since I had the day to myself, I thought I'd check out Hugh Jackman's new movie Real Steel. Overall, I have to say that it was entertaining, but it had a really slow start. Worth going to, but try to save a couple bucks by going to a matinee.
Overall Strengths: Hugh Jackman put on a good performance to me. In the first few scenes, I didn't like him or sympathize with his problems. However, that was probably by design. Obviously he became more likable as the movie progressed. To me, the pivotal scene for him was when Bailey Tallet (played by Evangeline Lilly) was talking to Max (played by Dakota Goyo) about Charlie's boxing past and one of his best fights in his boxing career.
The special effects. That goes without saying. They were great. There were a few views of the star robot, Atom, where one repair weld on his face looked almost like a mouth. I almost expected Atom to smile.
Chemistry between Charlie and Bailey. This was credible and not overdone. This is a mild spoiler (bigger spoilers below), but I liked Bailey's line to Charlie "1,200 miles for a kiss?" Nice.
Doing the robot. When Charlie saw Max dancing with Atom, I liked how he spun it. Making it a gimick for the show. Smart and funny.
Overall Weaknesses: Max. Sorry, but I really didn't like the kid. While you saw flaws in Charlie and Bailey, this kid seemed too perfect. Not perfectly behaved and all. More like too mature, too smart, and too "right." The kid seemed to have all the right answers. His character didn't seem real to me at all.
The opening scenes were way too predictable for my taste. So many cliches and overused ideas. While the opening was a bit of a surprise (the fight at the fair), you knew exactly what would happen the moment the competitors were announced. Pretty much the same thing with the next fights.
Some of the tech that made Atom special also was a flaw in the movie. (Minor spoiler) The ability to mimick someone. Wouldn't that have been picked up more? Give human fighters a chance to compete through the robots. Only giving that one here because it is in most of the trailers. More below in Spoilers.
The robot fighting a bull? Could have been better, but when Charlie started getting arrogant and paying more attention to the cute girls in the stand than the bull, I was hoping the bull would knock the robot through the fence and right onto Charlie. Besides, why wasn't the guy who set up that fight arrested for cruelty to animals? I mean the bull tore the robot up, but that guy who set it up would have been jailed for trying that. But then he couldn't have come back to kick Charlie's @ss later.
Max - annoying. Again, the kid was too perfect and too smart. From his ability to speak Japanese to his negotiating more money to the
Atom's ability to mimic was one thing, but his ability to absorb punishment and keep functioning. Again, why didn't other, newer robots have that?
When the aunt was trying to console Max by telling him about all the toys she had for him to play with, I almost laughed. He never once seemed like the type of kid interested in "toys." It gave me the impression she knew as much about the boy as his father did.
Zeus running low on power. Come on. Okay, maybe they operators were so used to winning early they didn't see a point in giving enough power for a full fight, but that did make the fight a little anti-climactic.
The final fight, from the very beginning reminded me so much of Rocky, I half expected Zeus to start chanting "Zeus in 3..."