YMMV / Real Steel

  • Awesome Music:
    • "The Wings of Icarus" by Celldweller.
    • The score by Danny Elfman.
  • Designated Hero: Charlie. When he hears about his ex-girlfriend's death and that his son is left, he reacts with annoyance at the burden to him and indicates he knowingly left his girlfriend while she was pregnant. Then he signs him over to the boy's aunt and uncle for 100 grand, furthering the deadbeat dad vibe. Then he uses the money to buy another robot sight unseen that he knows nothing about, then takes it into a fight and gets it destroyed because he hadn't bothered to learn to operate it first or have the humility to go for a smaller prize. He then gets the nerve to not pay his rent at the gym he works at (and his childhood friend owns), then lambasts her for thinking of selling it, claiming her deceased father would be pissed off at her. He leaves Max in the pouring rain at a junk yard next to a deadly cliff to carry the robot he found after surviving a fall off a cliff. Only after this point, 45 minutes in, does he start to act even remotely decent.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Noisy Boy is pretty popular among fans.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Seemingly invoked with the Japanese release, due to the popularity of Humongous Mecha in Japan, with what the fact that the first trailer premiered in Japan.
  • Genius Bonus: The tactic Charlie uses in the final fight to nearly defeat Zeus is an actual boxing tactic called rope-a-dope, which Muhammad Ali used to defeat George Foreman.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: At the time, it seemed like this movie would fall into Zeerust turf. Then Robot Combat League came out, featuring eight foot humanoid robots using Motion Capture Mecha technology. While not nearly as advanced as the film, it's still surprisingly close. Extra hilarity comes from the fact the robot Crash, a more 'kiddy' looking robot with being a Stone Wall as its main strength and controlled by a parent child Determinator team, ultimately could prove to be a pretty good stand in for Atom.
  • Money-Making Shot: The somewhat spoileriffic shot used in the trailer of Atom, being controlled by Charlie using Shadow Mode, ducking under Zeus' wild swing and delivering a beautiful leaping punch back at him from behind.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Ricky already established himself as a Jerkass by letting Charlies robot be destroyed, but he only truly damned himself when he brings two or three other thugs to jump Charlie and Max and, upon learning that Charlie is now able to pay him back, beats the shit out of him anyway, not even caring about the money. When he learns from Max that Charlie's his father, he beats him harder. And then he and his boys steal all the money.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The film's very premise is One Must Fall 2097, and it's linked to "Steel," the Twilight Zone episode the film is based on. Or the Richard Matheson story that was based on. The film takes a few elements from the Matheson short story: robot boxers replacing humans, the main character is a former prizefighter, the climactic challenge is between the protagonist's fight and a current champion, and that the protagonist physically fights the robot himself. In the book this last part doesn't end well, while the film is a straight up underdog sports movie.
    • The premise of humans being replaced in fighting sports was previously done on screen in 1989 with Arena, with aliens replacing humans instead of robots. Robot Jox also definitely has a hand in the proceedings too.
    • A child left behind by their parent, a parent far too concerned with fighting robots in the ring. The child joins the robot fighting circuit, works their way up to a match against the champion, and in the process begins bonding with the parent. Am I talking about Real Steel or Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer?
  • The Scrappy: Max is a Bratty Half-Pint who is loud, boisterous, and honestly pretty annoying. He parallels the Trope Namer in many ways, honestly. Charlie isn't much better for the most part, see Designated Hero for details.
  • Spiritual Licensee: See the internet's pet name for the film: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots: The Movie.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The robots are realized through a mixture of animatronics and motion capture, both done perfectly, and the whole thing looks amazing.