Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) is a teenager who slowly learns that he’s different from everyone around him. He can cause interference on electronic devices with a simple flick of the wrist or wave of the hand. The power begins to overwhelm him. He has no choice to but to escape the public eye, to release the energy building inside in isolation. When he’s at a breaking point of uncontrolled power, along comes a small alien robot called “Steel” (voiced by Josh Brener) that symbiotically works with Max to help him control his newfound abilities. As Max and Steel harness the power and the truth about who Max really is comes into focus, he finds himself at odds against a foe determined to steal his energy at any cost.
Review Max Steel
Review Max Steel
Max Steel suffers from a lengthy allotment of maladies, the most serious of which include plot transparency, plot unoriginality, tired direction, mediocre special effects, and the list goes on. It’s incredibly basic, showing not even a smidgen of a soul as it plods away with repurposed narrative elements and character details and traits borrowed from other Superhero movies.
Max is something of an amalgamation of Spider-Man’s Peter Parker and Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm with a side of *batteries not included and Mac and Me that winds up being something along the lines of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The movie fails to find anything of creative interest in any area, whether as Max discovers his powers, meets and bonds with Steel, harnesses his abilities, battles with the bad guy, gets the girl, or learns the truth. It’s all been cobbled together from an old and outdated playbook that leaves the movie up (down?) there with the likes of Albert Pyun’s Captain America as one of the lesser, most forgettable Superhero films of all time, but without the cheesy fun factor the worst of the worst so often manage to cultivate.
No, this is just a flat, less-than-routine Superhero movie deemed to just be forgotten, the worst fate a movie can find.That leaves precious little room for positives. The acting isn’t at all impressive beyond Ben Winchell, who may not be in the same league as his Superhero lead peers but who does give an honest effort to find the character’s center even through the deluge of mediocrity around him, both his co-stars in performance and his work as it’s on the script. He’s appropriately baffled, frightened, doubtful, and increasingly strong throughout the movie, following the typical arc of the nobody who, with a little help, becomes somebody through the course of the movie.
Steel is a dull sidekick, voiced peculiarly in a Robert Picardo from Voyager sort of inflection that lacks that performance’s even-keeled balance between light comedy and serious structure. Here, Steel falls more into campy kids movie territory, as if the voice from Flight of the Navigator regressed back to the second grade. It works well in that regard but for others it’s likely to be too hammy and simplistic to carry the movie anywhere of prominence. The film’s name actors sleepwalk through the experience, the latter of whom will be pegged by even the least savvy of audiences from the moment he’s introduced.
Max Steel’s 1080p transfer is technically fine. The image yields nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary, featuring a straightforward, digitally sourced picture. Detailing is fine, unexceptional by the highest standards but perfectly acceptable by average standards. Basic clothing and skin textures yield satisfactory textural definition. Colors are likewise fine, boasting pleasant neutrality and handling one of the more aggressive monochromatic moments well enough. Black levels produce pleasing depth and flesh tones show no signs of stray from natural. No source or encode flaws are blatantly obvious.