Movie Review: If Max Steel were a toy, it would be forgotten 10 minutes out of the box

Even if you’ve never heard of Max Steel, there’s a decent chance your kids have. A chrome-costumed teenage superhero with a fluctuating set of powers, Max was first introduced as a Mattel action figure in the mid-’90s, before making the leap to comic books, video games, two televised cartoon series, and nine direct-to-DVD animated films (only one of which, admittedly, has been released outside of Latin America). Given the volume of material bearing the Max Steel moniker, one might expect a cinematic version to play to the enthusiasts that have kept this property alive—especially in an era of largely faithful geek-pop adaptations. But the live-action Max Steel, arriving in theaters today more than two years after it wrapped production, isn’t some fans-only plunge into an alienating, cross-medium mythology. Quite to the contrary, it applies its brand name to an origin story so familiar—so entirely …

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