‘Real Steel’ is a superb modern take on a classic underdog story. Whether by chance or supreme insight, Shawn Levy (director) has made one of the greatest sports movies of all time . . . by taking out the sport.
The action is all the same, the plot turns are predictable and every emotional swing is dutifully ticked off; but instead of being terribly formulaic and manipulative, the movie is somehow turned into something moving and totally exhilarating.
The balance between spectacle and heart is maintained exquisitely, with the film remaining light on its feet throughout every brilliantly rendered and excellently choreographed upper-cut. Meaning every fight brings something new to the table, both physically (a second head, for example) and emotionally.
Fortunately, the emotional centre of the film is just as strong, with the father & son duo played to devastating effect by the universally adored Hugh Jackman and the equally impressive Dakota Goya. Their relationship swells and falls in all the right places, delivering moments of perfectly weighted emotion.
Real Steel stands as a devastating one-two to the heart-strings. A beautiful, heartfelt blockbuster.
Oh, and if Atom isn't the most adorable robot you've ever seen . . .