I agree with Louise, basically. Look, I'm sure even Shaq would admit he's no great actor-- and the lines he was given were part of an infamously lame script that was not only disrespectful to the comics character, but blithely absent of anything more than a passing awareness of who and what Steel was. But, if you can look past the insulting script and slap-dash, 70s TVish production, you can see a young athlete with heart, giving it all he had. 

My understanding of the movie's genesis is that Shaq, who is well-known to be a fan of Superman (check out his tats), really dug "The Death of Superman" and identified immediately with Steel. I believe it was Shaq who was responsible for the creation of the movie, insisting on it as a follow-up to “Kazam”. Clearly, Shaq and John Henry Irons share many physical traits, so it was not unreasonable physical casting. Despite his lack of acting ability, Shaq had both earnestness and heart— traits he shares with our character. The fact that Shaq lacks John Henry Iron’s eloquence is something that could, perhaps, have been compensated for by a screenwriter who gave a rat’s ass. 

In the hands of a responsible, interested producer and writer, “STEEL”  could have been a fun, passably good superhero movie— certainly good enough to make a decent profit. Had the writer and director cared enough to recognize and understand the character and Shaq’s obvious strong feelings, they might have been able to work around Shaq’s acting deficiencies and maximize his strengths— and Steel’s. They could have made a profitable, lasting, low-budget superhero kid’s movie with heart. 

Sadly, the only people who seemed to want that was Shaq himself, and Steel’s two creator’s. I’m sure both Louise and I could have easily helped salvage that movie, and gladly would have. But of course, we were never even consulted.