Stewart Hendler’s Max Steel was a film for which I had absolutely zero expectations going in, as I am not the biggest superhero/action movie fan, nor did I follow the Max Steel TV show or toy line. Unfortunately these expectations were met. Max Steel is the story of Max McGrath, a high school student who’s recently moved back to his hometown, after moving from place to place for years with his single mother. His return to town comes with his discovery of superhuman powers, as well as their relation to his father’s mysterious death years earlier.
One of the biggest issues with this film is its inability to decide which genre it’s trying to be; toeing the line between action and comedy, with some sci-fi and horror elements sloppily thrown in. However, seeing as its billed as an action film, it takes an excruciatingly long time to get to any real excitement. Steel takes its sweet time establishing the importance of Max’s late father over and over and over again. The film offers only two real sequences of action, one of which truly serves no purpose other than further exposition.
Christopher Yost’s writing relies too heavily on repetitive and unnecessary exposition. I was easily able to predict what would be “revealed” next – even down to the dialogue itself. The characters are poorly developed and their motives are constantly unclear. Characters would seem to have strange ulterior motives, only to return to their normal characterization. However, even these issues could have been somewhat forgiven if the film had been at all visually stimulating. Steel is shot almost entirely handheld, which does not blend well at all with its reliance on computer generated effects throughout. Overall, Max Steel breaks no ground, nor does it wow in any aspect of filmmaking. It is an underwhelming, slow burn of an action film with a disappointing, predictable climax, as well as a half-assed attempt at the suggestion of a sequel.