Real Steel - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Real Steel Reviews

Top Critic
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
October 17, 2011
Its remote-controlled emotional responses leave little room for genuine uplift.
Top Critic
Tom Huddleston
Time Out
October 11, 2011
Satisfyingly sturdy and no-nonsense, a multiplex monster smartly constructed from tried-and-trusted parts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
October 7, 2011
Thanks to an admittedly corny script, some amazing fight scenes, and a terrific cast, "Real Steel's" actually a winner by split decision.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.0/5
Top Critic
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
October 7, 2011
Surely a story as elementary and essentially derivative as this one could be told in less than 127 minutes.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 7, 2011
They should call this overloud, underwhelming movie Real Steal.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
October 7, 2011
Real Steel, a heartwarming sci-fi sports movie about a father and son who reunite through robot boxing, testifies to the formidable power of ridiculousness.
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
October 7, 2011
Aas the plot proceeds from boy-meets-dad verbal sparring to an uneasy peace to the underdog-vs.- champion title bout, it becomes increasingly easy to forgive its many nicks.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
October 7, 2011
Real Steel is a blast, an unabashed crowd-pleaser that mixes Rocky, Transformers, video games and father-son bonding to great, if corny, effect.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
October 7, 2011
The story remains sadly mired in botdom, which leads to some boredom.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 7, 2011
It's 10 percent lovable underdog hokum, 23 percent sentimental family drama and 67 percent rivet-popping punch-ups.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 7, 2011
What it lacks is the human element. Charlie is more of a rat than a rascal, and instead of working hard to build and operate his robots, he's literally going through the motions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
October 7, 2011
A slightly soggy tale of father-son bonding, crossed with an action-adventure flick about high-tech battle-bots.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 7, 2011
It's so virtual, so distant from the thrill, that you wonder what the point is. Do you really want to pay to watch an actor playing a kid who in turn plays what amounts to a video game?
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
October 7, 2011
Feels as if it were made inside the mind of a kid obsessed with robots.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 7, 2011
While the sappy boy-and-his-robot drama pales next to the terrific "The Iron Giant," the actual 'bot battles are vicarious fun.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
October 7, 2011
[Real Steel] borrows so much from other films that it might better be titled Reel Steal: not only from The Champ, but from Rocky, the Transformers movies and even some Star Wars.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Leah Rozen
TheWrap
October 7, 2011
There's nothing real about Real Steel except its shameless desire to please by going where better and more successful movies have gone before.
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
October 7, 2011
You've probably seen toy commercials that present a more thoughtful dystopian future. And yet, in the moment, this film will make you want to do nothing except stuff your face with more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 6, 2011
Though the premise of fighting robots does seem a plausible and intriguing extension of the contemporary WWE world, Real Steel is hampered by leaden, clichéd moments in which a stubborn boy teaches his childish father a valuable lesson.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
October 6, 2011
Real Steel is ridiculous, but it is not dispiriting. If you're going to make this movie, it should be made just this way, with commitment, verve and a complete disregard for physics, robotics and environmentalism.
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
October 6, 2011
All things considered, it is a well-wrought piece of entertainment, confidently paced, although its necessary subplots are little more than dutiful filler sandwiched between fight sequences.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 6, 2011
The tear-jerking in Real Steel is as shameless as its product placement. We're being hustled.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
October 6, 2011
Lovers of blood sport action ... are going to enjoy the well-staged fighting sequences ... while tender hearts seeking emotional depth will find the father-son conflict reasonably engaging.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
October 6, 2011
Neither as bad as it sounds nor quite as good as it could be, although the 9-year-old bruiser next to me pummeled the armrest, spilled his soda and screamed "awesome" through every one of the fight scenes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 6, 2011
Yes, it's unapologetically sentimental (and sometimes unapologetically cheesy), but Shawn Levy's film has an irresistible force.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
October 6, 2011
The movie uses every trick it can to pull this off, which means using us. But to paraphrase Bill Withers, I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used, then keep on using me until you use me up.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 6, 2011
I suspect a lot of what I found synthetic and sort of galling in "Real Steel" will work just fine with the target audience.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
October 6, 2011
Real Steel falls somewhere near the intersection of elation and shame, essentially reworking the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling non-classic Over The Top for the equally ridiculous sport of android fisticuffs, and mostly getting away with it.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
October 6, 2011
Imagine what you'd get if you squished "Rocky" and "WALL-E" together in a giant industrial press: a gooey, drippy mess, leaking lubricant and metal shards all over the factory floor.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 6, 2011
"Real Steel" is a real movie. It has characters, it matters who they are, it makes sense of its action, it has a compelling plot. This is the sort of movie, I suspect, young viewers went to the "Transformers" movies looking for.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
October 5, 2011
This is real movie making that packs a solid entertainment punch, proving it doesn't matter what the genre is if genuinely talented and dedicated people are pulling the strings instead of hacks.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 5, 2011
By the time the two hour running length has expired, it's safe to say that Real Steel comes across as a legitimate crowd-pleaser.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 5, 2011
Demonstrates the way CGI-
driven bot cinema can fruitfully coexist with father-and-son bonding cinema to create charming entertainment - part warm hugs and part cold clang.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 5, 2011
A toy tie-in, an overlong movie that takes on some of the grimy veneer and colorful characters of a "boxing picture," sanitizing it for children.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
October 5, 2011
The movie really comes to life during the marvelous boxing sequences, which are often drop-dead exciting.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
October 5, 2011
Real Steel is a well-made, well-managed family fighting fantasy that combines high tech and low aspirations to go the distance in fairly lightweight fashion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
October 5, 2011
The element that lingers longest is a subtle strand ... of recessionary anxiety.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
October 4, 2011
Atom is complimented by a ringside announcer for displaying a fighting style that's "almost human." This is about the highest praise the mechanistic, spare-parts melodrama of Real Steel deserves.
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
October 4, 2011
It's hard to buy into the notion that fans could ever be as rabid to watch a couple of machines tear each other apart as they are to see two men sweating and straining and bleeding on the canvas. Without human consequence, where's the drama?
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
September 29, 2011
This punishingly predictable tale will test whether sci-fi action fanboys can stomach having their cherished genre infiltrated by sentimental hokum about a down-on-his-luck dad and his spunky long-lost son.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
September 28, 2011
Though set in a future where boxing has gotten so intense only high-tech robots have what it takes to compete, Real Steel still trusts a good, old-fashioned father-son drama to deliver the thrills.