When Chris and I decided to see Real Steel in theatres this weekend, I don’t think either of us was expecting much. And to be honest, the story went about how you’d expect, aside from one key element – the life lent to the movie by its audience.
I’ve only been witness to a few incidents where the audience of a movie has given it a life of its own – Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Titanic, and Ali being films that immediately come to mind. So what sets them apart from some of the more iconic blockbusters out there? For some reason, there’s a presence that draws you out of the theatre experience and inspires you to step beyond your innate disbelief, live alongside the characters (if only for a few short minutes) and cheer them on as they face the impossible. Everyone loves a good underdog story, but this goes somehow beyond that.
I wish I could identify the exact moment in Real Steel where I stopped thinking of it like a cheesy, live action version of Rock’em Sock’em Robots and started giving the movie a chance to prove its mettle without my internal criticism. It might’ve been when you learn that Atom’s sentient – sort of. The scene where Atom picks up Max and they share a moment of complete understanding is probably what cinched it.
Apparently the couple sitting beside us agreed. They were probably my favorite part of the entire movie experience. Sitting next to them, complete strangers though they were, allowed me to enjoy the movie from their point of view. Before they began audibly engaging with the movie, I’d begun building a critique in my head. Listening to their exclamations of worry and excitement, let me step outside my preconceptions and enjoy the movie just for being itself.
If you enjoy movies that have a lot of heart, inspire you to root for the underdog and let you leave a movie theatre feeling good, you might want to considering giving this flick a chance.