By: Oberst von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Based on the allegedly popular Mattel toy, Max Steel tells the story of Max McGrath; a mild-mannered 30-something teenage kid who discovers that his body produces pure electric energy. Max must be relieved of this energy regularly or risk exploding. At first he uses his hands, but when that isn’t sufficient Max relies on a floating robot buddy to suck his excess energy away.
So basically, it’s a multi-million dollar metaphor, featuring Andy Garcia and Wheatley from Portal 2 (if Wheatley had the voice of a smart-Aleck teenage boy).
I have to hand it to the Mattel Corporation, they tried. On a budget reportedly less than $10 million, they created a film with decent special effects. They also recruited a cast of dependable actors such as Andy Garcia and Maria Bello. The basic ingredients at play here had some promise.
The first flaw is in the story, which is the plot to the first Ironman except the star is a whiny teenager instead of a smart-aleck super-genius. Mattel tries to have its cake and eat it too by attempting to combine pieces of the Marvel superhero formula with elements of Young Adult film adaptations. This is like trying to mix oil and water, and only shit floats to the surface.
Actor Ben Winchell, who plays Max, is apparently 22 years old, though he looks about 35. The casting choice for him as a high school age kid seems unfortunate. When the “teenagers” from John Hughes films of the 1980s seem young by comparison, you know you’re dealing with problematic casting choices.
The character Steel is Max’s floating alien/robot companion, and he doesn’t shut the fuck up. Every line from him is a sarcastic remark or attempt at humor, which gets old fast. Steel is played by Josh Brener, who doesn’t seem capable of any other emotion than sarcastic. Even Vision from the Marvel Avengers series manages to convey more than that.
Andy Garcia and Maria Bello are far too good for the roles they get here. Bello plays Max’s mother, whose only character trait is that she doesn’t tell her son that she knows everything. Garcia on the other hand is the mustache twirler who you’ll see coming a mile away, even though his villainy is supposed to be the big twist.
Weirder still is Garcia’s accent, which starts the film sounding typically American, but gradually gets thicker and more Eastern European as the film wears on. Whether this was a conscious decision remains to be seen, but if I ever meet Garcia, that’ll be the question I have prepared.
The other “enemies” in the film are creatures known as the Ultralinks, which are floating robots that apparently create tornadoes (this is never explained). Steel is apparently one too, but a good one, who quite quizzically doesn’t create tornadoes (this is never explained). Steel decided to join the good guys at one point, though, (this is never explained). The film instead relies on an open sequel-bait ending, which means that the filmmakers really thought audiences were going to give this franchise another chance…
When a Toy Company tries to make a superhero movie, the results are plastic.
Max Steel (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Max’s hands spray electric jizz
Take a Drink: for every poorly timed flashback
Drink a Shot: each time Andy Garcia’s accent changes
Take a sip: Whenever Steel makes a sarcastic quip