Minor Plot hole: Breaking into a robot junkyard is a dangerous thing to do. Even at night, there are guards in watchtowers to make sure it is very hard to steal anything. But it becomes easy for a kid to leave said robot junkyard with a 1000 pound robot he found at the bottom of a precipitous 50 foot-crevasse, fused with the ground itself, and alone without his dad’s help. Good thing the art of editing was invented otherwise lazy scenes like that would not exist.
Minor Plot hole: And why did Charlie leave his son at the bottom of a dangerous ravine? He almost died a minute ago – had to be saved, and somehow Charlie can chitchat with the soil and know it won’t crumble under his son’s feet again. Talk about inconsistency. You save your son’s life from a dangerous terrain, and seconds later you are leaving him alone knowing his plan is to dig up a giant robot from the same dangerous terrain.
Major Plot hole: There is no way for Atom to potentially defeat Zeus in his underdog fight at the end of the movie. You see, even if Real Steel mimics the typical boxer movie – the robot rules of the sport make it impossible to translate the underdog story properly. Allow me to explain in excruciating details:
1-There is no weight limit. Zeus, the mighty robot champion is at least twice as heavy as his tiny challenger Atom. Try it in real life: have the boxing heavyweight champion have a fight versus the boxing lightweight champion and bet with your friends how many punches the small man can take before his brain turns to liquid shit. Not only is Zeus twice as heavy as Atom, but as a robot, he moves as fast as him. So there is literally no physical advantage to be a smaller robot in this boxing competition.
2- There is no technology limit. Zeus has piston-powered fists that make him able to punch robots WITHOUT moving his arms. This gives him a clear advantage that the other robots do not have. And Atom really has no technological advantage over Zeus. But he does have his shadow ability that lets him copy human moves. But why is this shadow ability so rare? If it was such a good ability, you would think Mashido, Zeus’ designer, would integrate it to his robot. In this robot game, the winner is not the one with the most skill and willpower – it’s the guy with the most cash to buy the best robot and the best robot designers.
And thus, we can conclude that the premise of Atom having a shot to win against Zeus is simply impossible.
Unaddressed Issue: In several early scenes of the movie, Atom is hinted at being a very different robot with a soul or at least a sentient being. This is however never brought up again, nor is it paid off in any meaningful way. Could it have been used as an explanation to why Atom can beat better robots than himself? Nah. Pure luck is always a good excuse. Thanks for wasting our time Dreamworks!
Unaddressed Issue: Charlie gets beat up and mugged by Ricky next to his trailer after failing to repay his debt. At no point after the fight does Charlie and his genius son Max think about activating their robot right beside them to run after their oppressors to take their money back. Killer robots can only be used for violence in the ring apparently.