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All the robotic fighters are sentient, to an extentWhile it appears that most of them are controlled via their owners, their ability to learn showcases that their AI slowly evolves over time and they start to become self aware.
"Farra Lemkova" my ass....Excella, what are you doing here??
Atom was an early prototype for Zeus.I honestly expected this to be revealed near the end. The eagerness of Zeus' owners to buy Atom made me feel that they knew something that Charlie and Max didn't. It was stated that Atom was considered an unusual Generation 2, and he was very good at adapting (which was also Zeus' specialty). My guess is that they didn't expect anyone to find an old prototype, and didn't want the technology getting out. Certainly, they never expected a pro-boxer to turn the prototype into something capable of going toe-to-toe with the latest version, though... This could actually fit quite well with the idea that Zeus' designer had been in retirement. It also give some extra weight to the final fight, as Atom represents a more basic design, that he had abandoned in favor of going bigger and flashier. He was literally having his mistake pounded to bits by his abandoned greatest creation.
Atom's success will begin a major renovation of the sport, with many former human boxers now being brought in to "train" the robotsThis means Charlie and Max escentually re-employed thousands of people singlehandedly. If this turns out to be true, this would be awesome!
The name Zeus was a subtle reference to RockyHe played the same role as Apollo Creed, and shared a name with the mythological father of Apollo.
The sequel has Charlie going full-time into training boxing robots, while Max's aunt and uncle invest in a robot boxing team so Max can get into developing boxing robots professionally...which means that the next Real Steel tournament leads up to Charlie and Max FACING EACH OTHER.
Atom's popularity is gradually destroying big-League boxingLemkova gave no sign of actually thinking Atom was a threat to Zeus, so why the 200-grand offer? Answer: Atom's popularity is drawing attention to the small-time independent fight circuit, and people are discovering the entertainment value is about the same at a much lower ticket price. Lemkova doesn't want the competition, so she tries to pull Atom out of the equation so people will come back to her overpriced and probably-rigged productions.
The sequel will have a theme of escalation.