Hot Take: It feels like someone defiantly decided to release this in theaters after CW rejected the pilot episode for a weekly show on their network.
Even if you’re still excited by the idea of a superhero movie, Max Steel is not the superhero movie you’re looking for. Based on a Mattel toy which inexplicably produced an animated series, a comic book, a video game and a reboot of the animated series (plus some direct-to-DVD nonsense and programming that can only be seen in Latin America for some reason), Max Steel is an ill-conceived, poorly written, boring, uninteresting effort. It’s a total waste of 92 minutes sans a few silly jokes from Steel, the alien robot being which links with Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) to become Max Steel.
Shot in May 2014, Max Steel took over 2 years to see the light of day yet somehow found its way to 2,000+ theaters. It was probably helped by the presence of Andy Garcia as the villain (more on that horribleness, later) and Maria Bello and the fact that there has been some sort of interest in the toy since the early 2000s and an animated series off and on since then as well. Based on the movie, though, it’s hard to understand why.
Speaking of Andy Garcia, since 1983 he has been in over 50 movies. I would argue that Garcia is the worst part of most of those 50 movies. The man who helped bring down the Godfather legacy to something mediocre in Godfather III is the worst part of Max Steel and that’s saying a lot. Not that it’s completely his fault but his character owns the most corny, hard to swallow dialogue in the movie which is saying a lot considering there’s a talking robot and a teenager who keeps getting hit by a truck on his bike (by the girl of his dreams) and magically can combine with the alien robot and turn into a metal suited superhero. At least I think it’s metal. They never really explain what that suit is made of, do they? Anyway, back to Garcia, he’s expectedly terrible in this movie.
As for the main character, Ben Winchell gets to clear a paycheck for this one. As Max McGrath, Winchell looks more like an extra from one of the high school scenes from an early episode of The Vampire Diaries who accidentally wandered onto a superhero movie set. The love interest Sofia Martinez is portrayed by Ana Villafane. She’s not bad but her character reeks of desperation as she tries to get Max’s attention. Inexplicably, she’s as persistent as humanly possible in trying to get Max to be interested in her. It comes across as more sad than anything. Maria Bello is ok as Max’s mom but that’s seemingly on some sort of curve as the rest of the movie is mostly terrible in comparison. Josh Brener provides the voice for Steel which has the personality of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit combined with V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole. If a robot hitting on a desk lamp is funny, then this one will have you howling.
Heed this reviewers warning and steer clear of Max Steel. It won’t ever get bad enough to make you want to leave before it’s over but you’ll feel cheated out of the time you wasted watching it to completion. In the future, this is a movie that would fit perfectly in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot or maybe as cruel punishment for your unruly teenage sons who won’t behave. Otherwise, sit this one out.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- It’s So Bad, There Won’t Be A Sequel
Gosh, I hope this isn’t just wishful thinking. Think of the children!
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Andy Garcia
So I might have some weird grudge against Garcia as I didn’t even like him in Ocean’s Eleven (okay, I kind of liked him but I liked him the least of anyone in the movie) but I think he’s ruined more movies than I can remember. Fortunately, he can’t take all the blame for Max Steel as it was a team effort that ruined this one.
- The Generic Origin Story
This movie is so generic in its origin story for Max Steel, the poster could have been all white with the word “SUPERHERO” in a non-descript font.
- Why Can Steel Put Memories in Max’s Brain?
Why am I still trying to figure this movie out?