Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a tough movie to review. On the one hand, I don't want to say it's better than Transformers 2, like that's some sort of compliment that should make you all run out and see it. On the other hand, as critical as I am of Transformers 2, I think some critics out there need some perspective. This is a Michael Bay movie based on transforming robot toys from the 1980s. With that in mind, I actually thought it was pretty darn good. I mean it's not a great, ground breaking film, but if you're thinking, "hey, I'd like to go see that movie about alien robots that turn into cars and big freaking guns... you know, the ones kids play with," then I feel like you'll be pretty happy.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon takes place a few years after the second installment and Sam is looking for a job. He's also dating a new model and Michael Bay spares no time sticking it to Megan Fox, effectively rendering Mikaela and Sam's relationship as completely worthless. The Autobots are still allies with the Americans and stand guard waiting for the next Decepticon battle.
The film learned a little from it's previous mistakes and did some things really well. I actually felt like I understood the transformers characters a little better and I could actually distinguish between good guys and bad guys this time. It's amazing how much more meaning that adds to the action sequences. While I found the Shia LaBeouf schtick to be a little tiring in the second film, I thought he had some really great scenes in this film that gave his character a lot more depth. And one scene that, despite myself, I laughed really, really hard at (highway chase/battle). He really is pretty great at the character. And the plot was a vast improvement over the second film, with some pretty great twists and turns albeit a tad long for this type of movie. I can't reititerate enough here that I am NOT saying this is phenomenal story telling, only that it is an acceptable enough casing for an exciting and fun action film.
Now I know there are some people out there that wish this series could have been some great, deep, and awesome science fiction film. And maybe it could have been in different hands; I'm not saying that wouldn't have been super cool, I just don't have those expectations and I can appreciate this movie for what it is. That said, I still have some issues with it that I can't completely get past. Continually pairing Sam with a super model does not make his character more relatable and just reminds me what a dirty old man Michael Bay is. And it doesn't really fit Sam's character; I would love to see him with a "girl next door" kind of hottie that would make me root for their relationship. After some thought, there are some moments where Optimus Prime seems a little to blood thirsty, like maybe the lines between being a bada$$ and being honorable got a little blurred on this one. And finally, while the cheesy, not funny at all comic relief was greatly reduced in this one, it was still there. Thank goodness Sam's parents were only on screen for a handful of minutes, but in that time they managed to cuss like sailors and remove me completely from the film.
Well for awhile I thought it was never going to end. I think the climactic action sequence takes an entire hour, and while it's awesome in its effects, it starts to give you a headache. Optimus Prime always swoops in at the last minute (seriously, where is that guy sometimes)! The most annoying thing about the ending for me, is that in the final battle between Optimus Prime and Sentinel Prime, right when Sentinel has the upper hand is ready to deliver the kill shot to Optimus, Megatron interrupts and, for all intents and purposes, saves Optimus Prime's life. WHAT?!?! I mean, I'm not a superfan from the 80s or anything, but I have enough understanding to know that Megatron is kind of Optimus Prime's arch enemy. Like a lifetime of battles against each other trying to get the upper hand. So Megatron doesn't choose to wait 5 seconds and kill two birds with one stone? As a side note, poor Megatron has been sorely underused. Poor guy.
This is a great summer blockbuster. There's a reason it has 90% audience approval despite the critics. Don't take it seriously and have some fun watching it. I give it a strong 3 out of 5.