Real Steel – Movie Review

Real Steel – Movie Review

Review by Stacey Tuttle

“I want you to fight for me.  That’s all I ever wanted. “  Max to his Daddy

They talk about the baker who doesn’t bake at home, or the cobbler whose kids have no shoes…  In Real Steel there’s that same kind of irony—a fighter who won’t fight for the people in his life.  It’s a family common phenomenon.  Why is it that we will do these things for strangers but we don’t do them for those closest to us?  

Charlie was a fighter himself, then he worked with fighting robots.  He had been fighting all his life, for everything but what really mattered.  When it came to things that mattered, things like relationships, like his son…he quit before he even began.  Is it fear of failing at something that actually matters?  Is it that family requires vulnerability?  Maybe the reasons vary from person to person or maybe it’s a universal truth, I’m really not sure.  But I know I see it all around me, and all IN me.    You probably, if you are honest, can see it in yourself too.  Even if not, you surely have been on the receiving end at some point or other. 

Max was on the receiving end.  He was a remarkably articulate and insightful young boy (gotta love good script writers!).  He got it right off.  He knew that his Dad was getting money to pass off responsibility of raising his son to someone else who wanted a child and he called Charlie out on it.  “You sold me?  You sold me for fifty grand?!  You owe me half!” (He does kind of have a point.)  He asked Charlie, “Do you even think about the stuff you do before you do it?”  Charlie had a great fighting bot, but rushed unreasonably (and against Max’s wiser counsel) into a fight without proper preparation.   The bot was destroyed, along with the last of their financial resources and hopes.  Max tells Charlie, “He was a great robot and you never gave him a chance.  Just throw him away.  That’s what you do, right?  Just throw him away.”  Of course, Max isn’t just talking about Noisy Boy, the robot.  He’s talking about how himself too. 

Charlie didn’t think through having a son.  And when he felt it was too much, he just threw his son away, in effect.  He left and never looked back…now he’s doing it again, and accepting money to do it.  Max keeps giving his dad a chance to fight for him.  He keeps risking his heart and getting hurt.  But Charlie is like Atom, his sparring bot – he’s a fighter, and he seems to be built to take a lot of hits.   So he keeps getting back into the ring with his Dad, he keeps on fighting for love and a relationship with Charlie.  He tells Charlie, “I want you to fight for me.  That’s all I ever wanted.”

Of course, Charlie finally gets the message and he comes through for Max.  But what about you and I?  What are the areas and relationships in our lives where we need to finally get it and come through?  That takes some soul searching. 

Alternatively, what are the areas and relationships in our lives where we feel like someone has failed us?  That is going to take some soul searching too.  And it’s going to take some forgiveness and some risk if we are going to get back in the ring and fight for things to get better.  What if someone failed you and you know it can’t ever change—the past is done, but the effects are still there?  Your Dad may not be like Charlie, he may never fight for you, may never come around and change.  What then?

Do you know there is a Father in heaven who wants to fight for you?  Who DOES fight for you?  He fought to the death for you, literally.  And then he beat death for you.  He is your Advocate (I John 2:1), your Deliverer (Romans 11:26), your King of Kings and Lord of Lords (I Timothy 6:15), the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), your Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14), Refuge (Isaiah 25:4), Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4), your everlasting Father (Isaiah9:6) and your Shepherd (Psalm 23).  His righteousness goes before you and his glory gets your back (Isaiah 58:8).  In fact, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him”  (Isaiah 64:4). 

Don’t despair if you feel a little like Max.  If you are desperately crying out for someone to fight for you, cry out to Jesus.  He loves you, fights for you and acts in your behalf. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • Are there things you do for strangers but don’t do well for those you love most?  Have you ever thought to ask those around you to tell you the areas that they see you excelling at with others and perhaps rather failing at in your relationship with them? 
  • Who has disappointed you by not fighting for you?  Have you ever felt that anyone gave up on you or quit you?
  • Does it change anything for you to know that God is fighting for you?  How can that strengthen you? 
  • In what areas in your life do you need to know (right now) that God is acting on your behalf, advocating for you, fighting for you? 

Click here to read a list of quotes from Real Steel.