Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Superhero Media: Max Steel (2016)

I found this on Netflix a little while back and decided to give it a go on a quiet night, even though I've never seen a single episode of the animated programme. Max returns with his mother to the small country town where his father died over a decade before in a mysterious explosion. Before you can say "Spider-Man, anyone?", Max has stumbled upon an alien computer called Steel and the pair start to work together to fight an oncoming invasion. Unique, Max Steel is not, but it does have a great deal of charm and excellent production values; the scenes in which Max discovers the energy his body produces have some gorgeous CGI, far better than most major release films. The costuming is also excellent, with the "Max Steel" reveal being really neat and the forgettable villain also looking like a refugee from Tron: Legacy, but in a good way. 

There's not a great deal more I can say directly about Max Steel, as the story is pretty basic and the charm that is there comes from the design, rather than the basic script. The world-building that happens is subtle enough to ignore, but the names of the aliens are so forgettable that I haven't even been bothered to look them up for this article. There are shades of Image Comics' Tech Jacket here, as well as the relationship between Max and Steel being reminiscent of Bootser Gold and Skeets. This isn't criticism, this kind of bricolage of existing tropes and ideas is my kind of thing, being a postmodernist, comics like Invincible and Hawkeye - Kate Bishob do this really well. Yes, Max Steel is a combination of Tech Jacket, Spider-Man and Booster Gold, but that doesn't mean that he's not interesting in his own right. It's a good lesson for creating your own supers for gaming. 

I'm not rushing out to give the Max Steel animated progamme a go, but if there were more films, I'd happily watch them. In the same vein, don't expect to see a Max Steel joining my Ultimate Alliance project any time soon. What I really should do is read some more Booster Gold. I really hope we get a good Booster Gold film some day, but until then, Max Steel is enjoyable enough and certainly more fun to watch than a few things I've seen.

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