Max Steel (2016)
|Writer||Christopher L. Yost|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi|
|Content Rating||PG-13 (PG-13)|
|Company||Dolphin Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Mattel Entertainment|
Max Steel (film)
Max Steel is a 2016 American superhero film based on the action-figure line of the same name. Directed by Stewart Hendler and written by Christopher Yost, the film stars Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Ana Villafañe, Andy García, Maria Bello and Billy Slaughter. Based on the eponymous toy line by Mattel, the film chronicles the adventures of teenaged Max McGrath (Winchell) and alien companion Steel (Brener), who combine their powers to form the superhero Max Steel.
Filming began on April 29, 2014, in Wilmington, North Carolina and wrapped in late May 2014. Dolphin Films and Mattel Playground Productions co-produced the film. The film was released in the United States on October 14, 2016, by Open Road Films and was a critical and commercial failure, only grossing $6.3 million.
Teenager Max McGrath moves with his mother Molly to the town of Copper Canyon, where he had been born and where his father Jim McGrath had died in a supposed storm. In his first few days at school, he realizes that almost everyone in town knows more about Jim than he does because his mother refuses to talk about Jim's past or death. During dinner with Jim's friend Miles Edwards, Max learns that his father worked for N-TEK, an advanced research company now run by Miles. Concurrently after arriving, Max discovers he emits a unique form of tachyonic energy called TURBO which is powerful enough to overload any electrical item but has no control over when he emits this energy. After sensing an overload during a date with Sofia, Max encounters an amnesiac alien creature named Steel who symbiotically bonds with Max to absorb the energy.
Finding themselves being chased by mysterious men, Max takes Steel to his high school to hide and finds himself opening up emotionally to him for the first time in his life. Max learns to control and harness his powers, including linking with Steel into a suit of armor. Whilst linked, Max starts to see his father's life through flashbacks shared with Steel and learns A race called the Ultralinks with the power to manipulate the elements launched an attack on N-TEK. In search of answers, Max goes to visit Miles at N-TEK, who explains that Jim was working on creating a generator capable of creating an unlimited source of power, and suggests that Jim died in an accident caused by not following safety procedures. Feeling another energy spike, Max finds solace but is soon caught in a powerful storm, which he realizes is an Ultralink. Working together, Max and Steel defeat the Ultralink and to their shock, find it looks identical to Steel. Another flashback hints that Steel was responsible for Jim's death, causing Max to lash out at Steel and walk away.
Max discovers Molly is missing, and borrowing Sofias car calls Miles who reveals he is aware of the Ultralinks, and that Molly was kidnapped as a trap for Max at the old N-TEK Facility where Jim died. Max goes to the facility and finds Steel captured, where he has a flashback that shows the truth, who reveals that Jim McGrath was an alien who naturally generated TURBO, and Steel was his partner. The Power Generator was a machine designed to harness and focus his natural energy, however, Miles became addicted to infusing the TURBO into himself for the power it gave him, and allied with the Ultralinks to absorb Jim's energy for himself. Jim overloads the core, but his final words are telling Steel to find and protect Max at all costs.
Edwards entraps Max, having created a suit of armor that drains TURBO, seeking to harvest his tachyonic energy for himself. Learning to use his armored form as Max Steel, Max fights Edwards aided by the mysterious men, revealed to be an N-TEK Special Forces Squad who were working for Miles to find Steel, but are now working for Molly (as majority shareholder of the company). Working together, Max and Steel generate so much energy that Miles is unable to absorb it, overloading him in a massive explosion. Molly reveals that after Jim's death, she feared the Ultralinks would come after Max so she constantly moved until Miles suggested they move back to Copper Canyon in case Max started to emit TURBO. Max apologizes to Sofia for his behavior and makes a date for that night, and then goes for a fly in the armor with Steel's assistance.
- Ben Winchell as Max McGrath
- Maria Bello as Molly McGrath
- Ana Villafañe as Sofia Martinez
- Josh Brener as the voice of Steel
- Andy García as Dr. Miles Edwards
In addition, Mike Doyle appears briefly as Jim McGrath, father of Max.
An early attempt to create a Max Steel film occurred in December 2009 when Paramount Pictures purchased the rights to the franchise. Taylor Lautner was an early choice for the starring role, although he later dropped out due to commitment to the Stretch Armstrong film. In January 2013, production was suspended when Max Steel was developed into a television series of the same name, airing later that year. In August 2013, plans for a new film adaptation resumed with Mattel partnering with Dolphin Entertainment to fund the film.
In February 2014, Ben Winchell and Ana Villafañe were cast as Max McGrath and Sofia Martinez, respectively. That same month, the press officially confirmed Andy García's casting as Dr. Miles Edwards. In May 2014, Maria Bello and Mike Doyle joined the cast as Molly and Jim McGrath, Max's parents.
Principal photography commenced on April 29, 2014, in Wilmington, North Carolina, and ended on May 31, 2014.
Max Steel grossed $3.8 million in the United States and Canada and $2.5 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $6.3 million, against a production budget of $5–10 million.
Max Steel opened on October 14, 2016, alongside The Accountant and Kevin Hart: What Now?, and was expected to gross $5–7 million from 2,034 theaters in its opening weekend. After grossing just $637,795 on its first day the film went on to open to $2.2 million, finishing 11th at the box office. In its second weekend the film grossed $680,104 finishing 17th at the box office, making it a box office bomb.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rare approval rating of 0% based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 2.7/10. The site's critics' consensus states: "Bereft of characterization or even satisfying rock 'em sock 'em, Max Steel feels like futzing with an action figure without any childhood imagination." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score 22 out of 100, based on reviews from 7 critics, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
IGN critic Alex Welch gave the film a score of 4 out of 10, summarizing his review with: "Max Steel is one of the more forgettable and pointless attempts at a superhero franchise in the current post-MCU Hollywood market, lacking any of the originality or vibrance that could give it even a remote shot at a successful future." Variety's Joe Leydon gave a negative review, describing it as: "A half-baked, time-wasting curtain-raiser for a superhero franchise that is never, ever going to happen." Christy Lemire for RogerEbert.com gave half a star out of 4, writing: "For a movie about developing the greatest energy source in the universe, Max Steel is surprisingly bland" and that "a movie based on a toy should be a whole lot more fun than this." The Hollywood Reporter critic Frank Scheck gave an unfavorable review, writing: "Even tweens may find themselves underwhelmed by the new live-action film based on what — for many of them — may be their favorite Mattel action figure. Delivering a bland cinematic origin story which seems calculated to boost Christmas toy sales, Max Steel is a stillborn, would-be franchise starter, sneaked into multiplexes without advance critic screenings."
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment released Max Steel on Digital HD on January 3, 2017, then released the movie on Blu-ray/DVD on January 10, 2017.