There are certain movies whose plotlines are cookie-cutter and formulaic, but they still absolutely smack. For this movie of the month, I rewatched Real Steel. I don’t know what it is about this movie that I love so much, but I will do my best to articulate it for you. And if it sounds like the ramblings of an ADHD madman, it’s because my Adderall is wearing off at the time I’m writing this. Sorry in advance! 

Real Steel

I love a few tropes and genres, and Real Steel checks off every box for me. Are robots fighting each other? Check. A father and son bonding and growing closer? Check. (Hits me right in the daddy issues). An underdog sports story where the main character doesn’t outright win? Check. Training montages? Check. After some self-reflection and seeing this written out for the first time, I’m a simple man who wants to see robots fight each other while the plot has some undertones of wholesomeness scattered throughout it. 

Is This Movie Rocky With Robots? 

Our movie of the month, Real Steel, centers around a dad who is a retired boxer, his young son, and a beat-up old junkyard boxing bot they found, which they later named Atom. Unlike most other robots in the movie, Atom has no real gimmicks. He is an old training model. He looks the most humanoid of all the fighting robots we see, which makes him so damn endearing for whatever reason. All the other robots have gimmicks and tricks that help them be better fighters in the ring, but Atom’s gimmick is being able to take a freaking punch and then some. He’s like Rocky. He might not hit the hardest or have cool tricks and tactics he can use, but good luck trying to put him down and keep him there.

There is something so inspiring to my dumb male brain about watching a guy or robot who refuses to give up in a fight even after a whole bunch has smashed it in the face. It makes my blood pump. The end of Real Steel genuinely makes me tear up. (Ew, emotions, right?) And the fact that Atom doesn’t win against the best and final robot, Zeus, but is crowned the people’s champion only makes the story better. You won’t always win everything in life, but sometimes the journey is enough.  

Daddy Issues 

There is a running joke in my friend group: If you sat us down to watch any movie with a loving and caring father, we would all break down and weep. And this movie hits that note for me. Hugh Jackman, who plays Charlie, isn’t the best dad in the movie’s start, but as the story progresses, he becomes the dad Max, his son, always deserved and wanted. And it warms my cold, bitter heart every single time. 

But outside of Charlie and Max bonding, we see Charlie learn to love life again. He goes from a grizzled and angry retired boxer scraping by to make ends meet to someone who seems genuinely happy outside of the ring. There is a bit of a love interest in Real Steel for Charlie, but it never takes center stage. The biggest love story told in Real Steel is between father and son. And there are also a bunch of big ol’ robots who punch each other repeatedly as a spectator sport. It doesn’t get better than that. 

My favorite moment in this movie is when Charlie has to shadowbox in front of Atom because his controls got busted. Max seems so happy to see Atom make it to the last round against Zeus, and Charlie gets one last chance at glory in the ring. 

My Rating

Is this the best movie ever that deserved to win many awards? No, but I love it. 

5 out of 5 Rounds. (The same amount Atom took Zeus to in the final fight.) 

And if this movie of the month of Real Steel doesn’t sound entertaining, we reviewed the best movie of the year back in June for your pleasure. (Hint: It’s not Barbie or Oppenheimer.)  

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