Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When they examine the robot in the morning (after the kid dragged it out of the mud) Bailey makes the comment that it is unlike anything she has ever seen before. (The next day she suddenly declares him to be a sparring robot).

When Max is out playing with Atom he has the robot lift him up and he asked the robot if he can understand him. He then tells the robot he will keep his secret.

Later in the movie before a fight Max is working on Atom in the staging room. Max and Charlie are invited to the box office. When they leave Atom is left and he turns and looks at himself in the mirror.

Was Atom more than just a simple sparring robot?

share|improve this question
up vote 17 down vote accepted

We don't know for sure, and it's intentional : here an quote from Interview: ‘Real Steel’ Director Shawn Levy

SR: The idea of Atom’s sentience is introduced in the film, but is never fully explored, was that a conscious decision?

I had three versions of the movie. One Atom is alive, confirmed, a soulful, sentient being. Two, we confirm that Atom is just a machine regardless of what this boy believes, and three, maybe. Maybe the boy is right, but maybe he isn’t and we will never know and obviously I went with version three. Because when I confirmed or denied Atom’s consciousness the movie lost a certain magic. I think it’s epitomized in the scene where Atom is alone in the locker room and he’s looking at himself in the mirror. Some people think they see him move, and some people don’t.

share|improve this answer
The ambiguity is exactly what I loved about the movie. All the characters kept insisting that it is just a machine and all its behavior can be explained through the shadow function. The dialogue says one thing but the scenes are designed to make us feel the opposite. – HNL Feb 3 '12 at 3:25

I have reason to believe so, especially after the scene where max spoke to atom and said; "don't worry, your secret's safe with me." But it seemed more like atom was meant to represent a father figure to max. I started believing in the theory right after the scene where max hides around the corner. the scene occurred round about the 47th minute into the film.

I also found that Zeus seemed like he was also self-aware. Unfortunately I can't provide any evidence for this statement. a lot of the information needed can be found between the 47-49 minute.

share|improve this answer
Zeus did indeed seem self-aware when he glared at Max as he walked past him. – Wikis Apr 16 at 21:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.