With “Max Steel”, RTL Nitro is showing one of the most boring and outrageous superhero films ever made tonight from 10:20 p.m. I would like to be the next Iron Man, but it’s just a bunch of electronic waste…
+++ Opinion +++
For a change, the superhero film “Max Steel” is not based on a comic, but on an action figure series and the associated animated series. But ironically, that just makes the film even more generic — like it was simply cobbled together from a handful of well-known comic book franchises. Unfortunately, the result is not a technical masterpiece like Tony Stark did back then, who welded his Iron Man armor together from electronic scraps in a cave in the desert, but a large pile of scrap.
In 2009, then-famous “Twilight” werewolf Taylor Lautner was originally slated to star in the live-action version – but when the time finally came in 2016, the largely unknown Ben Winchell filled in for him instead. At the same time, this meant a significant reduction in the budget. In the end, the toy company Mattel only had a measly five to ten million dollars. (Competitor Hasbro is much more generous with “Transformers”, “Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins” or “Barbie”.)
Despite the mini-budget, “Max Steel” still turned out to be a catastrophic flop: A mere miserable $6.3 million came in at the North American box office (that doesn’t even cover marketing costs). In Germany it was only enough for a direct home cinema evaluation:
» “Max Steel” at Amazon*
This is the (super boring) plot of “Max Steel”
After another move, teenager Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) returns to the place where his father died in a lab accident years ago. While he quickly falls for sweet Sofia (Ana Villafañe) at his new school, his body isn’t just going crazy because of the love hormones:
Max charges himself electrically again and again until the stored energy can no longer be controlled. Max only gets to grips with his new abilities when he meets the alien, robot-like being Steel. Because when the alien and the teenager connect, they mutate together into the invincible superhero Max Steel…
Definitely not an alternative to Spider-Man
The parallels to Peter Parker aka Spider-Man are of course obvious in this plot. But Ben Winchell just isn’t Tom Holland or Tobey Maguire. Nevertheless, the blame does not lie solely with the pale main actor: The brooding Max is given a sidekick in the form of the alien robot Steel, who acts like a really lousy stand-up comedian, throwing out one embarrassingly inappropriate oneliner after the other.
And where Spider-Man still swung through the street canyons of Manhattan, Max just jumps and flies around a little in an empty ruined building – something spectacular is definitely different. Even when Max eventually reunites with Steel to form Max Steel to activate his barely defined “turbo powers,” the result is more reminiscent of a budget version of the “Power Rangers.” Outrageous, interchangeable, boring – that’s how you drive out the last bit of fun even from a superhero story!
The FILMSTARTS review of “Max Steel”
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