"“In a film that has all the makings of being a typically nonsensical Hollywood flop, Real Steel is actually an entertaining, electrifying and enthralling movie blockbuster…”"

Two words: Boxing. Robots. Still with me? Good. Real Steel is a fantasy drama set in the near future, about boxing humanoid robots, and whilst battling to the death (and by death I mean malfunctioning), a father and son are also having to fight for their own relationship.

In a film that has all the makings of being a typically nonsensical Hollywood flop, Real Steel is actually an entertaining, electrifying and enthralling movie blockbuster. I’m sure it helps that I am an enthusiast of both robots and boxing, but that becomes merely a side note, in what is actually a film about the relationship between Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) and his son Max (Dakota Goyo), without being overly sentimental, and allowing their friendship to blossom through the medium of fighting machines.

Charlie is a liability. He owes money he doesn’t have to acquaintances, and, despite formerly being a successful boxer, is now struggling to make ends meet as the controller of a boxing robot. He contemplates giving it all up, but when his ex-partner dies and he is lumbered with his estranged son Max for the course of a summer, the youngster’s enthusiasm and determination to get discarded robot Atom fighting again, helps towards a relationship between them both, as they follow Atom’s unlikely rise to boxing stardom.

As a result, the film, despite its fantastical edge, is quintessentially about the underdog, replicating films such as the Rocky series, as we follow Atom’s astonishing journey. Therefore, although boxing robots are quite an outlandish idea, we become attached to Atom as we did with Rocky for example, and suddenly you forget that you’re actually witnessing machines combating, and instead the emotive aspects take over. Essentially, it’s Rocky with Robots.

In order to have an emotional attachment to the robots and care about whether they win their battles or not, it needs to be somewhat credible and convincing, and due to the fantastic special effects, and the fact that the robots were actually built for the feature and the fighting scenes were done using human movement, it makes it all look much more plausible, allowing for us to feel attached to the characters, whilst looking quite spectacular in the meantime.

I think this is also helped by the fact that the film is set just 10 years into the future, making the scenarios seem plausible and potentially doable. I know this sounds ridiculous, but when you see the boxing scenes and the technological advances, it doesn’t seem too preposterous.

The leading performances are also strong, as Jackman, similarly to his performance as Wolverine in the X-Men series, has an air of malice about him, though he always, albeit eventually, does the right thing. His character is someone you don’t trust or approve of, but can’t help but be fond of and support. Goyo also shines as 11-year-old Max. This prospect looks confident and assured taking on such a big role at such a tender age. He has an indomitable streak to him, whilst also being able to play up to the more sentimental family themes in the feature. He is certainly one to look out for in the future.

Of course, being a big Hollywood blockbuster, the film does have its shortcomings. I felt that the film took far too long setting the scene, therefore meaning that by the time Atom came into the picture and the story really begun, we were already far into the feature, and Atom’s rise then become almost too rushed. The robot was supposed to be old and unstable, but made it to the top, its success portraying and symbolising that of the relationship between Charlie and Max, but the rise to fame was too brisk and therefore unexplained and somewhat questionable. Oh, and there’s always the clichéd and orthodox love interest, between Charlie and Bailey (Evangeline Lilly). But to be fair, despite its existence, it isn’t prominent or over-indulgent enough to spoil the film.

But, for an epic Hollywood blockbuster, there won’t be many better to go and see this year. I was enthused by the fact it’s not relying on 3D animations (quite refreshing at this particular time), and Real Steel makes up for its romantic and sentimental aspects, by being unique and innovative.

And due to the film being set in the near future, implying that it is a possibility, I spent the journey home from the cinema trying to conjure scientific and technological ways to make this all possible. In fact, I’ll be disappointed if there aren’t boxing robots within the next ten years.