By Mandi Bierly
Updated June 15, 2010 at 07:11 PM EDT

Image Credit: Greg WilliamsThough it might be disappointing to anyone hoping to see Hugh Jackman in a sweaty wifebeater, the first image from Real Steel, the movie in which he stars as a former boxer who bonds with his estranged son when they train a robot for 2020’s World Robot Boxing league, still looks intriguing. According to USA Today, the film, directed by Shawn Levy (Date Night), employs “19 real-life animatronic giants” whose fight sequences will come to life through motion-capture animation. In the movie, set at a time when human boxing no longer exists, the robots are controlled by their “corner men” (i.e. Jackman’s character and his son, played by 10-year-old Dakota Goyo).

“The heart of the story is this father and son relationship and in comes this junkyard robot called Atom that the kid’s in love with,” Jackman said. “I abandoned the kid pretty much at birth. But we come together because the boy’s mother has died. We have a lot of distance to make up. It’s through this mutual interest in robot boxing that they find a way to come together and form a bond.” Take that statement, add in USA Today‘s commentary that “Atom seems to have flashes of intelligence and understanding beyond his metallic brethren” and Levy “roots the movie in state fairs and more nostalgic, Americana settings rather than a cold, futuristic dystopia” — plus the fact that Steven Spielberg is an executive producer — and odds are, this robot fighting film is making us weep at some point.

Do you feel the tears building? Or does the concept give you a case of the giggles?

Read more: