Will Brandon believe me when I write that I enjoyed Real Steel a lot more than Warrior?
Should I bother mentioning that Redbelt is probably the only fight movie of the last ten years worth watching?
Should I stop comparing movies and start complaining about Warrior's unsuccessful variations on a tired formula? Warrior tries too hard to tie too many threads together. It over-reaches and, in doing so, never properly develops any single story strand.
Should I rant about the unlikable characters? I'm supposed to care about a state teacher (paid more than enough money and excellent benefits for working half the year) who can't budget properly? Who defies the odds and wins back his wife's favor (not to mention the fawning school principal) by being a Real Man? Am I supposed to care about a whiny ex-soldier who hates himself and everyone else? Really, deep down, he's a hero, too, right? AM I SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT NICK NOLTE??? The wounded old man thing was interesting the first few times he did it. I want to see Old Man Nolte in the ring next time.
I didn't care about any of the characters. I certainly didn't care about how they relate to each other.
The MMA fight scenes were less interesting than sitting through a regular UFC match. Not very interesting.
It's never a straight hero story or underdog story, though it plays around in that territory. Both brothers are fated to succeed without any real consequences. The manufactured tension is created by having these two brothers go head-to-head in the championship match.
Unfortunately, the stakes never mattered.
I think that my problem here is that no one is really humbled, excepting maybe the dad, but even he reconciles with his sons by reconciling with the bottle. Contra TMBG, Everybody does get what they want and that is... beautiful? Hardly.
Back to the comparisons...
Real Steel had some worse story flaws, but...
It had a lot of straight-up goofy unapologetic schmaltzy heart to make up for it.