This is a movie about futuristic robot boxing that’s eager to please the widest audience possible. As long as you don’t walk into Real Steel with your fingers crossed for something that feels as real and gritty as, let’s say The Fighter or Warrior, it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer turned robot fighter. In the near future, when human boxing isn’t brutal enough for spectators, the sport displaces those fighters with massive and ruthless robots, offering unrelenting destruction. When Charlie’s ex passes away, leaving their son, Max (Dakota Goyo), homeless, Charlie takes advantage of his aunt’s (Hope Davis) desperation to adopt him and gets her wealthy husband (James Rebhorn) to give him a hefty chunk of cash in exchange for Max. The only catch is that Charlie has to keep an eye on Max himself until they return from a European excursion at the end of the summer.
Charlie uses the money to buy a new robot, Noisy Boy, but his desperation to make the big bucks causes him to make a hasty decision that results in Noisy Boy’s destruction. With no money, Charlie has no choice but to visit a scrap yard to find the parts to build a new fighter. However, while there, Max spots something better, Atom. Atom’s an old sparring bot, making him far less capable in the ring, but Max insists that together, they can turn him into a champion.
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