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- Complete Monster:
- John Dread is the leader of DREAD, a terrorist cell that engages in mass death and destruction in the name of world domination. Dread runs his organization with icy ruthlessness, and regularly places thousands of innocents in harm's way, with notable instances involving trying to flash-freeze an entire city; hoping to blackout Paris and all of its life support systems; attempting to destroy the United Nations headquarters; and disabling a satellite and leaving it to crash into an entire city, all in order to further his plans. Though at first seeming rather professional about his crimes, Dread decides It's Personal with Max Steel when, after failing to dissect the teen alive, his own face is scarred by Max, leading Dread to kidnap the boy's best friend while promising to exchange him for a vial of powerful nanoprobes, at which point he tries to kill the boy anyway just to torture Max. As a final attempted atrocity, Dread tries to obliterate the Swiss city of Geneva, killing its entire population plus the gathered world leaders, then blame the deaths on N-Tek, the spy organization made to thwart Dread's crimes. With no empathy, remorse, or limitations to his ambition and greed, John Dread personified the very worst of the various terrorists Max Steel encountered throughout his missions.
- The appropriately-named Psycho is an ever-grinning lunatic who is Max'smost personal and hated enemy. Psycho first met his nemesis when he splashed deadly nanoprobes all over the boy, hoping for them to excruciatingly kill him, unknowing that it would create his worst enemy, whom he would later go on to attempt to dissect, freeze to death, and drop a satellite onto the hometown of. Serving as John Dread's right-hand man for most of the series, Psycho gleefully commits any and all orders given him, the higher the body count the better, and often goes beyond what his orders entail so as to inflict as much pain and death as possible, such as trying to murder two innocent teens for merely stumbling nearby his base, or by trying to annihilate a small village with an erupting volcano he is only supposed to be mining. His loyalty to Dread being simply a pragmatic partnership, Psycho often enacts his own schemes, normally involving acquiring plagues or nuclear missiles in order to destroy any city he wants then hold others for ransom while attempting to kill anyone in his way, an entire cruise ship of innocents being just one instance of this. His own accomplices fare no better than his enemies, as Psycho tries to silence a captured compatriot, abuses his minions, and brutally murders his partner, Bio-Constrictor, even after the latter assists Psycho in attempting to transform all of humanity into monstrous creatures under his control. Nigh-invulnerable and always seeking to one-up Max Steel, Psycho lives up to his namesake as a truly psychopathic madman who proudly embraces his atrocities as if they were ends unto themselves.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Max's catchphrase is "Going Turbo!" Doubly so since Disney XD would go on to air the remake series.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- Psycho's arm has a creepy sort of casualness to it given the size and functionality of the thing. He also takes his face off. Oh, and the face underneath? It looks like a mix between The Joker and a Terminator.
- Viewers of sufficient age will notice immediately that L'Etranger is meant to be a sexual predator.
- Max's infestation is pretty damn freaky.
- Bio-Constrictor is a man made out of snakes. That's horror movie material right there.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: While it hasn't aged well, the CGI was impressive for the time; the series moved to Cartoon Network because they were willing to continue funding for the third season as-is, whereas the WB wanted to switch it to traditional animation.
- Narm: Max searching "My fingers emit liquid energy" on Google, followed by searching "WHAT AM I?!".
- Snark Bait: On top of having a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, there's also the fact that it's based on a cartoon that not many people watch, which begs the question of why the movie exists in the first place.
- Special Effect Failure: Aside from maybe Max's suit, the CG looks like it came straight out of the cartoon.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Some viewers' opinions on the CG of Steel, the tachyon energy, and the Air Ultralink/Air Elementor.
- They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot Twist: The revelation that Steel might have betrayed Jim to Ultralinks. An event that could have turned the usual hero dynamic upside down became undone by a hollow revelation that carried no emotional weight.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Andy Garcia doesn't exactly scream sinister Big Bad. This might have been the point, given that him being the villain was seemingly meant to be a big reveal, but he's pretty underwhelming compared to the Miles Dredd from the cartoon.