Expectations are a funny thing. About a week before release, I was expecting today's movie to be really bad, awful even. So lo and behold, when I check Rotten Tomatoes (yes, I check movie ratings on RT prior to release) and find that it's actually hovering relatively high on the tomatometer for most of the days leading up to the release. So I decided I'd give this movie a chance.
And... well... here we are, with today's movie.
Charlie (Hugh Jackman) is a former professional boxer who got ousted from the game when crowds began to crowd around boxing with robots instead of people. Thus, he falls on really hard times, for both himself and his robot maintenance lady Bailey (Evangeline Lily). However, this changes when the death of an ex-girlfriend of his leads him into looking after his son Max (Dakota Goyo), things change when Max finds a bot named Atom that turns out to become a huge hit on the underground circuit, and then in the professional ring.
So essentially, Rocky, if it was being done with giant fighting robots and a random kid plunked down if Mickey wasn't there.
But over the course of the movie, I found I really didn't care that it was a Rocky retread. Because all the individual elements still come together.
The acting especially makes everything work. Hugh Jackman brings a great energy to the part of Charlie, and while he is a bit of a jerk at the start of the movie, we're with him throughout the entire ride for a lot of reasons, and all the supporting actors do their thing well, even the ones with the smaller amounts of material. Honestly, though, I think the biggest props go to Dakota Goyo, who took a part that could have been extremely annoying and grating and turned it into one of the most engaging parts of the whole movie. Seriously, the kid's a good actor, and I think he'll be a talent to watch.
And the action is really good. Yes, we can see it all, and yes, it's incredibly exciting. You wouldn't think that watching computer-generated robots fight would be so engaging, but, well, here you have it, and in much more exciting form than in your average Bayformers movie. I think the one misstep this movie made was to rely on having one too many fight montages, but even that can be forgiven when they're still pretty entertaining to watch.
And in terms of the plot? Yeah, everything is played safe, but in many ways it's a good kind of safe, because some bits actually feel a little more fresh that way. There aren't a very large amount of subplots surrounding the movie, but in the end that small amount helps keep the movie focused on the main plot. And in the end, it's a focus that the movie could not have gone without, for everything feels so much more satisfying since we know what the stakes are for each character and we can follow and sympathize with the characters more.
It's tough to say exactly how Real Steel works. I know that many times, playing things safe ends up coming up uninspired, but in a few select cases, I think it's possible for exceptions to be made. And this is one of those cases, in which we get a movie that is thoroughly entertaining and, in the end, quite good.
Most definitely worth checking out.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.