Dear Real Steel,
You crafted the perfect kind of family-friendly boxing film. You used what was an inherently ridiculous premise as a means of grabbing the best of not just both worlds, but every world. You had your cake, ate it, then somehow had it still and continued to eat. You are a genius piece of marketed cinema, and the kind of methodically effective crowd-pleaser that is admirable for its sheer audaciousness and skill.
The tale you tell (that of a down and out robot-boxer operator who ends up with custody over the 11-year-old son he long abandoned, who must find the spirit and drive to become a champion and father once more) is rote, simple, and predictable. Yet through the charm, charisma, and sheer magnetic chemistry of the two leads, Jackman and Dakota Goyo as Max, you somehow make it work oh so well.
Were you a James Bond villain, someone would have to marvel at your sheer, mad genius. As a movie, though, us audience members can do nothing but sit down, give in, and cheer out loud as the junkyard underdog takes on the high gloss opponents that will never know what hit them. Much like I feel now.
With serious admiration,
Brian J. Roan