Based off an action figure? Well that's not setting the bar real high
Max Steel is a 2016 science fiction superhero film based on the Mattel action figure of the same name. It is directed by Stewart Hendler, the director of the 2009 horror film, Sorority Row, and stars Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello, and Andy Garcia.
Winchell plays Max McGrath, a teenage boy who has just moved to a new neighborhood with his mother, Molly (Bello), as the two cope with the loss of Max's father. Max soon discovers that strange, liquid energy is coming out of his hands, and he sees that this energy affects cellphones and other electronic and metallic devices around him. Later on, an alien robot named Steel (voiced by Josh Brener), meets Max, and tells him that the two can combine their powers together to form Max Steel (so subtle, right?). The two work together to take on an evil force that is lurking closeby.
Who saw Max Steel? Its box office returns were atrocious, and whatever marketing was done for it early on wasn't very prominent. The film just seemed to slip through the cracks of what was a busy fall 2016 movie season, and whoever did see it most likely thought that it was an inert and poorly contrived superhero flick. The fact that the basis for this film is an action figure is not exactly a spark for wide range interest. Max Steel also features bad acting, poor storytelling, and witless humor, if the inspiration for it wasn't enough to drive you away.
- Zero. Max Steel has no redeeming qualities, and I failed to pinpoint anything that was either memorable and/or entertaining. The film has an hour and a half run time, so it's a good thing that it's relatively quick and won't feel like a life sentence. Sadly, Max Steel falls into the dark abyss that is "so bad that it's bad", not being unintentionally hilarious and/or "so bad that it's good". The film is like the brother of Fant4stic (2015), in the sense that it's a rushed and disastrous superhero slog that can't be justified.
- The awful storytelling. It is never clear as to how Max acquired his powers in the first place. He is sitting at home one day, and then all of a sudden, he discovers liquid energy coming out of his hands. Max tries to Google why he has this energy coming out of his hand, and then proceeds to type in "What am I?????" The backstory of Steel is brief and undefined, and I was still confused at the end about what exactly Max and Steel can do together (what exactly is their powers?), as well as what this energy is that they possess. Can they control and manipulate metal and electricity? Does that explain how Max Steel just happens to create a suit out of thin air (yes, the suit really just appears when Max and Steel merge together)?
The creators of Max Steel can forget any and all hopes they might've had about this action figure becoming a new superhero franchise. It lacks the excitement, humor, and sometimes emotional depth that we typically expect from superheroes. More than anything, was there really a point to this film? This poor-man's Iron Man has no business trying to grace the silver screen.
Recommend? No. It's not even good for laughs.
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