The youngest of the three Russo siblings, he is the naïve younger brother, who at the beginning of the series is an underachiever (when it comes to wizard school), being far behind his siblings in his magic lessons (as seen in "Potion Commotion"). Even though his full name, Maximillian, is stated by his grandma, he mentions his name is Maximum in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie.
Max Russo like his brother and sister, is half-Mexican (on his Mother's side), half-Italian (on his Father's side), and both their Mexican side and their Italian side come into play on many occasions.
Max is a generally cute, witty, cheeky boy with a very imaginative and out-going personality. Like Alex, Max is often depicted as a slacker and is been known to use magic mischievously. He is very naive and has a short-attention span. His mother, Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera) sometimes treats him like the baby of the family (examples: the episodes "Movies" and "Alex Does Good"). He sometimes assists his sister Alex (Selena Gomez) in pulling pranks on their brother, Justin (David Henrie).
Now at 14 born in 1995, he is the youngest of the family, which puts him at a disadvantage when being compared to his siblings, who have a head-start on him in their wizard training (although when Conscience came Max began doing wizard studies to the point of which he passed Alex in "Night at the Lazerama"). Max generally acts very carelessly, mainly because of his lack of real intelligence, though seems to be able to seem smart in his own unusual way that seems to work for him. A bit of Alex being seen in him because though Alex is a slacker with poor grades and known for her reckless use of magic, she secretly possesses strong intelligence that she prefers to keep hidden so as to be different from her brother Justin, a brainiac. Max also has a skill of getting out the truth of others through randomness, a skill rarely used unless being asked for advice or being needed for a specific situation. This shows that all three children hold a different type of intelligence that made them unique, with Max his knack for getting out the truth, Alex with her natural skill at magic that can best her siblings, and Justin his wide range of knowledge over many things that may seem like things no one else cares about as Alex makes it out to be, yet hold significance in varying levels, with how he argues with his sister.
In general, Max is unsuccessful at magic most of the time. Because of this, in preparing for the contest to keep their powers as a wizard, Justin and Alex focus on each other while discounting Max, believing that he couldn't possibly win. However, it is sometimes seen that Max may pull an upset, and be the one to keep his powers. He is shown to have a "C" in Wizard Class which makes his average much better compared to Alex who has an "F" for her poor effort and focus in wizard class, since she never tries. In the season one episode "Potion Commotion", when he gets his full powers, Max is able to cause snow to fall in the restaurant and to transport the loft the Russos live in to China and Hawaii. He later gains more control of his powers so they don't go haywire.
At times, Max's stupidity is so potent that he is oblivious to what should be obvious and unable to discern sarcasm from sincerity. The most notable example of both is in "Hugh's Not Normous", when he failed to notice that Alex's room had shrunk and when he took a sarcastic remark made by Justin on the Wizard Stretcher having a tickling function seriously, in addition to taking Alex's insult of "You're on your own, jerkface!" to be a spell. In the episode "Cast Away (To Another Show)", Max describes himself as "the one who does incredibly cool and serious stuff that people laugh for no reason", meaning that he takes himself very seriously and is blissfully unaware of his unusual nature towards other people. Though early in the episode, after noticing London Tipton stupidity, Max remarks "That girl is really dumb. And that's coming from me!", indicating that he knows, however, his own limitations.
Max is a fun wizard and sometimes uses magic irresponsibly but on the whole he prefers to cause havoc without magic. He is quite mischievous and quick to use magic in a situation, like his sister, and it often leads to disaster. However, in the end he makes things right with his abilities and help from his siblings. Max is dependent on magical aids such as his wand and brother and sister. In Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, he is shown to be able use his powers very independently, as he is constantly seen casting magic without a wand or spells. He uses an "E Wand" (similar to a Wii Remote) and has been known to break his wands by accident when put in his pocket.
Another disadvantage to being the youngest is he is constantly babied by his mother. In "Movies" she began babying him because she realized both Justin and Alex were growing up very fast. She doesn't like him dating. In the movie, Max says his mom pinches his cheeks.
Max's self-confidence and impulsive behavior also makes himself entirely devoid of fear (as noticed in "Wizards and Vampires vs. Zombies", where he wasn't afraid to stand up to the real zombies at the Zombie Prom). He is always willing to try new things and make new goals. He sometimes has little regard towards safety. Max usually likes to be his own person and often keeps his mind open for finding new things to do; some of which are considered career choices (considering the idea that he might not become a full wizard as an adult), though Max usually takes action without thinking about the details (he once decided to become a pilot by only going to flight school for two days). Max also has a few strange habits, such as putting marshmallows with asparagus or using his mom's dress as a Darth Vader cape. Max is very easily amused and often thinks differently from others ('he thinks microwave popcorn is magic'). In fact, this unusual way of thinking allowed him to outsmart (or as Alex said "out-dumb") a genie into undoing her twisted wishes, and managed to get Juliet Van Heusen to say how she feels about Justin by saying something "random" in conversation. He has also been known to "twist" certain scenarios for his own advantage.
Though Max is usually comfortable with himself most of the time, it has been shown that he somewhat craves attention and support from his family. In "Helping Hand", when Justin creates his original 'helping hand' spell, in which Jerry (David DeLuise) takes notice, Max tries several attempts to make his own magical project in order to gain the same attention from his father. This also may show that Max secretly wishes he can live up to expectations of his older brother. In the episode "Retest", it is said that Max is a lot like Uncle Kelbo. It is also shown in "Max's Secret Girlfriend" that Max does not like being compared to his brother and sister, saying that people expect him "to be as devious as Alex or as smart as Justin"
In the season two episode "Future Harper", it is said that sometime in the future all the mortal humans know about wizards and it was most likely because Max revealed the secret. Even though Future Harper (Rachel Dratch) did not say that person's name, Max guiltily points out himself that he may have likely been the one to have spilled the secret. In the episode "Max's Secret Girlfriend", Max tells his girlfriend, Nancy, he is a wizard and takes her on a magic carpet ride. The Russo family becomes enraged and invites Nancy over. They convince her that they are not wizards, even though they are, and she ends up breaking up with him for lying about everything. This may be how he leaks their secret.
In the trio episode in season 3, Max accidentally separates his conscience (Moises Arias) from himself, whom he names 'Roy'. Just as always, Max ignores everything Roy tells him and continues to sabotage Justin from becoming the family wizard, which ends in chaos. Tension is created between Max and his conscience when Max starts to do his schoolwork and chores, and Theresa neglects him by giving all the credit to Conscience. Later, Alex starts to notice Max's improvement and sabotages him by getting Conscience to go somewhere with Harper, which causes not only Max to do everything wrong, but puts Conscience in the process of becoming his own person. Alex then gets Conscience to come back and then uses a spell to put him back into Max. It is also later stated that, when Max cast a spell to set multiple monsters loose in New York City, one of which is a mummy that kidnaps Juliet, and all of the monster hunters (except Justin) are killed in action by the other ones; thus, Max is indirectly responsible for both. Max doesn't really care about the wizard duel, because he initially believes that he could be on the winning side, as visible in "A Wizard for a Day", Max constantly changes between Justin's and Alex's sides (much to their annoyance), and Max continues with this obnoxious behavior until "Franken-Girl", where they inform to him that he is alone. In the "Chronicles of Moises: The Voice of Reason" saga, despite constantly arguing with his conscience, Max become a serious and applied competitor of the family powers (much of Alex's chagrin).
In the episode "Western Show", when Mr. Laritate gets fired and Superintendent Clanton takes over as principal of Tribeca Prep, the students are expected to wear uniforms, in which the new environment has Max behaving normally. Max starts to act very maturely and starts applying to different colleges, which Jerry doesn't approve of, because he doesn't want to have to pay for college. However, when the gang gets transported to the Old West (as an attempt to show Mr. Laritate the old western business isn't as great as he thought, so would come back to the school), a fighting scene occurs, and the craziness changes back Max to his old self again.
In "Max's New Girlfriend", Alex and Harper find out that Max has been dating a girl named Nancy at school. He has been keeping her secret because he is embarrassed by his family, and has even told Nancy that his name is "Tom Sawyer". It's assumed that he is embarrassed by his mom and dad, but it's later revealed that Max actually didn't want Nancy to know he's related to Alex and Justin. To this, Max admits that he is tired of people always comparing him to his siblings, and for once, he just wanted somebody to like him for who he is and not who his brother and sister are.
Max's love interestsEdit
- Gertrude "Gigi" Hollingsworth (Skyler Samuels) – Max has a crush on Gigi, as seen in "Graphic Novel" (which Gigi, obviously, does not return).
- Jennette Brocolleti (Kathryn Foley) – Max asked outJennette in "Alex Does Good". Justin chaperoned the date at the their family's restaurant, where Max tried to impress Jennette by acting like a big shot, therefore, treating Justin unfairly. When Justin retaliated by embarrassing Max in front of Jennette, Max attempted to use magic to turn Justin into a clown, but it backfired. Justin and Max laughed about it later, but Jennette left, feeling repulsed by Max's humor (and disturbed by his clown look).
- London Tipton (Brenda Song) – Max flirted with her in Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana (crossover episode Double-Crossed). She thought he was strange but was impressed with his treatment of her. She kissed him on the cheek at the end of the episode. Earlier in the episode Cast Away (To Another Show)), noticing London's extreme lack of intelligence, Max makes a comment saying "That girl is really dumb. And that's coming from me!", which is proven true to Alex and Justin, as they are surprised that there is somebody actually dumber than Max.
- Nancy Lukey (Bella Thorne) - Max's first girlfriend in "Max's Secret Girlfriend".