Going into review mode for me means giving any movie I walk into the benefit of the doubt; every movie I ever see starts off at a 5 out of 10 and starts tilting one way or another based on what the movie presents me.
That being said, giving Max Steel the benefit of the doubt was extremely difficult because every trailer I saw was excruciatingly uncomplimentary. Nevertheless, I trekked forward hoping that I would maybe be surprised.
My hopes crashed in a fiery blaze within the first twenty minutes as my rating quickly dwindled ever so close to my worst rating.
Max Steel is a movie completely lacking in any forethought whatsoever. Every single thing that happens in this movie feels completely forced, unnatural, and inorganic. Nearly every single line of dialogue was either laughably bad or boringly expository. The relationships between every single character lack any sort of cause-and-effect relationship.
Max himself is played by some dude I’ve never heard of before, and for good reason; his line delivery was consistently stilted and robot-like. His own character is so generic and un-special that I may trail off as I describe him to you.
He’s a teenager whose father died, and he has a splintered relationship with his mom as they move from town to town, and he’s so depressed that he pushes every single person away until one day where he finds out he has powers and is compelled to make a difference…
This cliche character arch would be halfway forgivable if they developed him in a way in which the audience can feel his sadness and pain. Unfortunately, considering this guy was a horrendous actor and whoever wrote and directed this slop were just as bad, the cliche character arch is just rat-blood flavored icing on this horse-intestine-flavored cake. The only actual defining character trait I could think of that describes Max is that he’s an immature asshole.
The first person he ever meets at school is the love-interest “Sophia”, and she practically throws herself at Max the very second she comes into the movie.
I gave Masterminds an insurmountable amount of grief for how terrible they handled the love relationship between Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig, but at least they had some semblance of gradualness to Wiig falling for him. In Max Steel, Sophia almost aggressively pursues Max instantaneously, and the only reason I can think of for why Sophia was so attracted to him is that Max is the main character.
The entire time Max is around Sophia, he’s creepily ogling her with the most stupid look on his face. Then at least two or three times when they’re hanging out in the movie, he starts flipping out because of his powers and abandons Sophia without any explanation. Finally, at a pivotal point in the story, Max knocks on Sophia’s door, his clothing torn up, and his mouth spouting out a bunch of incoherent nonsense about how his family is in trouble because of him. And despite the fact that Max has been a sketchy creep the entire movie, she gives Max the keys to her car and her cell phone and he leaves her without any more explanation.
… what? WHAT?!?!?!?
Sophia’s sole defining character trait is her undying devotion to this creepy boy she just met, and it made every scene that she was in absolutely infuriating.
Eventually, as Max discovers he has his powers, some robot named “Steel” (get it? Max? Steel? Screw this movie) comes in and just starts helping him for no reason.
Steel is some sort of alien life form who is tied to Max’s past somehow, and he conveniently forgets and remembers information instantaneously whenever the plot demands it.
The relationship between Max and Steel is so sporadic and contrived that I honestly stopped paying attention to their development after a while. Nothing about it felt organic or consequential. It was almost as if this movie had a checklist of places that it needed to go and had no care as to how the movie got to its destinations.
What’s worse is that they try to make Steel into this comic-relief character, and he was never, not for one second, funny.
Maria Bello plays Max’s mom, and it’s discovered later in the movie that she was well aware of Max’s past, his dad’s past, and was aware of nearly every plot element in this movie, and she didn’t tell him anything to “protect” him. Yes, protect the kid who’s possibly got powers that will cause him to implode if not properly treated by not giving him any sort of warning. Worst mother of the year, in a year that included a film about terrible mothers… and another movie about terrible mothers. What was even more irritating is that the entire plot hinged on the fact that Max didn’t know anything about what was going on, so if his mom actually explained things to him, then we wouldn’t have had a damn movie in the first place.
Andy Garcia was in this movie, and imagine my shock when when he turned out to be a villain in this movie. How groundbreaking, casting Andy Garcia as a villain.
Max Steel is an unbearable, painful monstrosity. The plot for this movie is completely deprived of logic, consequence, and congruence; Every single character fails to be compelling, original, or even likable; Every joke fell flat, every line of dialogue felt awkward, and every fight sequence was disengaging. Don’t see this movie. Don’t bring your kids to see this movie. Don’t see this movie even if you’re getting paid to see it. I promise you, it won’t be worth your time, and I’m giving this movie a 1 out of 10.