Max Steel – Blu-ray Review

For a film that’s been sitting on the shelf for over two years, Max Steel is not the complete and total disaster that everyone assumed it would be. Sadly, Max Steel isn’t very good either. The story by Christopher Yost is an amalgam of Guyver, Iron Man, and Power Rangers. It’s incredibly hard to mess this up when you have that combination but he pulls that off with an unimaginative storyline and bad dialogue. Not only that but the origin story that Yost tries to build around Max and Steel is barely coherent and all of the characters are one-dimensional.

Relief was supposed to come in the form of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn’s Stewart Hendler. Unfortunately, Hendler seems more equipped to directing short episodic stories. Max Steel is unfocused from start to finish and the way that Hendler progresses the story is a bit boring. Fans of the toy will be sad to find out that the Max and Steel armored combination are sporadic and a majority of it is in the final half hour. In addition, the film blatantly copied the in-the-helmet perspective from Iron Man. It’s kind of sad that the creative forces behind Max Steel weren’t more creative with the material. On the bright side, Hendler handles the special effects aspect of the film with such relative ease – it’s surprisingly good.

For the most part, I don’t blame the cast for their subpar performances. The material they have to work with certainly doesn’t give them much opportunity to shine. Ben Winchell may have a limited acting ability but he seems highly invested in the role. Ana Villafañe is a bright spot in the film as her charming performance makes the film tolerable. So, too, is Josh Brener as Steel. He gets most of the laughs through his Baymax-inspired one-liners. The film’s two veterans, Andy Garcia and Maria Bello, simply plod through the film. Moreover, their roles seem to get more embarrassing as the story progresses.

Overall, Max Steel is a surprisingly boring and forgettable film. It’s a shame considering the conceptual storyline has the potential to be a good superhero film. But almost everyone involved seems to be uninspired by what they were creating and that, inherently, is the biggest problem with Max Steel.

Movie Rating: 1.5/5 atoms

Video

Max Steel is presented in a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. For a film that unremarkable in terms of cinematography and palette choices, the video transfer is technically sound. The contrast is good and the black levels are nice and deep. The details are just average, though, since some scenes are lacking fine details in the film’s close-up shots. The colors are adequate enough due to Steel’s dreary palette but at least the colors are natural looking. Again, all of the visual problems are related to the film itself instead of the production of the Blu-ray.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio

Max Steel is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround audio track. The audio presentation for Max Steel is incredibly lively and immersive. The dialogue from the front channel doesn’t come in clearly due to the actors’ vocal deliveries, but it becomes clearer as the film progresses. The directional sound effects from the surround and rear surround speakers provide a cohesive and immersive listening experience. The subwoofer will get a workout with the loud sound effects. It also provides a pleasant punch for the film’s few action scenes. Overall, this is a great presentation.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Max Steel‘s Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Finding Max
  • Imagining Steel
  • Building the Suits
  • Behind the Stunts

There isn’t a lot of special features to be found here but there are a few good nuggets in here. “Building the Suits” provide interesting looks into Max’s armored suit. “Behind the Stunts” shows off the training, wire work and fight routine behind the film’s few action scenes. As you might expect, this is the shortest featurette in the entire Blu-ray. “Imagining Steel” provides a look into the special effects that went into making Steel but Josh Brener is nowhere to be found. “Finding Max” is the longest featurette in the entire Blu-ray and it primarily focuses on Ben Winchell. This featurette shows us how likable Winchell is and why his co-stars, director, and producer all love him. If this featurette is your thing, then check it out. Otherwise, feel free to skip it.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms


Overall, Max Steel is a subpar superhero film that highlights the negatives of the superhero genre. Even with its short runtime, the film still feels like an eternity. The video and audio presentations are solid but the special features are a bit lacking.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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