WARNING THERE WILL BE MASSIVE SPOILERS DISCUSSED IN THIS REVIEW! ALSO THIS REVIEW IS RATED PG-13 FOR SOME BAD LANGUAGE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I know I'm not usually a person who loves spoiling things but I feel I must for this review. It's a wierd movie such as this would be my rare exception to my rule. But given that so many others have panned the film it appears I'll be the only one with the glowing review. And that's fine by me, yeeeeesssss (apologies for that too many times viewing Beast Wars and Machines has lead me to doing that a lot, yeeeesss. ARGH!) So those who don't give a care but want your reasons on seeing this film? Well hopefully my review will do the trick.
This isn't a perfect movie by any means. There are plot holes (What's Blackout doing here? Wasn't he killed in the last movie? How'd he come back?), scenes that drag on excessively long (namely a TON of scenes in the beginning of this film involving Sam, his family, and being in college), and things you will witness that will scar you mentally for the rest of your life (namely John Turturro in a thong thus we are able to see his butt cheeks). The infamous twins (Skids and Mudflap) aren't as annoying but to me and weren't as bad as they where made out to be by a ton of reviewers. At the very least, I have to admit the hype on how bad they are being Car Car Binks is wrong. They're annoying yes, but I don't think no one will ever be Jar Jar and top Lucas in that regard. They actually do some fighting that works which doesn’t randomly and accidentally do things that work for the good guys. Nor, do they hinder the good guys like Jar Jar did.
So why do I love this movie? Here's what the reviewers neglect to inform you. All the deadweight from the previous movie is dropped (hackers and Chief of Staff subplots) replaced with a Femcon going after Sam. The reveal (a bit predictable), was still awesome. There was an almost Terminator-like level of fun watching Sam, Mikaela, and Leo run for their lives at this being of awesome destruction with some great payoff.
Moreover, that's the key this time out, the writers focused on the right band of human characters. Again yes there was excessive amount of time spent with Sam's parents, but still they where somewhat amusing. Sam's newest bud, Leo also does get somewhat annoying at times but there's a great scene with Turturro's character that make's up for it. Moreover, speaking of Turturro's character save for ONE SCENE (said thong), he's much more improved and likeable. Not to mention a little hint of bad assery (see him taking out security guards). The LeBauf does what he's great at playing the happless man in distress and a believer of fate. As does what Megan Fox does what she does at her best and that's just look hot for males to drool at.
The two army men from the previous movie (as played by Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel) don't have as much backstory as they had in the previous film. Still their two VERY entertaining characters even if they don't have much to evolve from other than being harden soldiers who've been helping the Autobots slag Decepticons in a US funded group called NEST (think Sector Six, but run fighters not men in black). Then there's of course the General behind their unit (who happened to be their commanding officer in the first movie, who I thought bought it) played by well I don't know the actor's name, but to me and 24 fans he is Aaron Pierce. I have to say it is a wise move by Bay because the actor as he did in the original is just so easily much more accessible than say Voight and carries a definite bad assery about him. When this man walks into a room, he has a commanding presence about him.
Another element I have enjoyed in this live action film franchise is the musical score by Steven Jablonsky. Again, it's that Terminator-like themes he uses that make the score so darn enjoyable. With also his return as another advantage are recurring themes (Optimus's and the Decepticon's being the best) that are necessary. As such, his score heightens the action and amusement, which is always key in making the film all the more enjoyable.
Then there are of course the Decepticons. Unlike, say the first movie we get Starscream and Megatron in the first thirty minutes. We get more of the classic relationship between these two titans. My only regret is we never got any finish as was in the first film. Screamer and Megs hall out when the fighting ends and we get nothing more unlike in the first when we saw Screamer leaving. Still, every scene with them is utter gold. I know how some fans will cry out there wasn't much back stabbery from Starscream in this, but considering he had to deal with TWO heads of the Decepticons and not one it make's sense his usurping ways would be done a little.
So what about the three big Cons introduced in this chapter? Namely Soundwave, Devastator, and the Fallen himself? I will admit I am somewhat disappointed they didn't use Soundwave's classic techno modified voice. Nor, he didn't say any classic Soundwave lines like, "Ravage eject. Operation eradication." Still, he's Frank Welker (the original G1 Voice Actor of the character) voicing him doing as someone put it on this board, a "Dr. Clawish" tone. It works, and he fills his role nicely being the information net for the Decepticons. Plus he lives so another bonus.
Devastator and the Fallen disappointed me I will admit. For two highly respectable bad guys in other versions of this (namely the comics) they fall pretty easily. I will admit I can stomach Devastator's end more than the Fallen. I know the whole, "He can only be killed by a Prime." But once Optimus gets on him the dude gets owned hard by the Autobot. Sure Megatron also got it just as bad, but considering he was more of an active combatant in the climax than the supposed big bad. Still I will give props to Bay and the people behind this movie for getting Tony Todd (aka Candy Man and one of the big bads from S7 of 24) being the voice. He actually brings it in making the character seem menacing. With the remaining versions they're just there. Some of them highly memorable (i.e. the giant one used in the beginning) and others not so much (the nameless Decepticons who chose no alternative mode and are Megatron-lite). Regardless, those who hungered for more bad guy bots this movie fills that quota nicely.
Of course then there's the other reason why I loved this film namely the other Autobots and the walking robot god of bad assery Optimus Prime. Sure he doesn't have much screen time as he did in the original, but Optimus make's up for it quite easily with each scene he's in being absolute gold. Again Peter Cullen delivers and proves once more why he is the perfect Optimus Prime. The man has such voice you'll listen to anything the man utters. That said, Prime has such a good presence from Cullen it's what makes the impact what happens to him in the climax of the second act all the more powerful (much like in the animated 1986 movie). As such when he returns my inner fanboy couldn't help but be all glee. Those who thought him weak in the previous should have no quarrels here. The bot has vastly improved his warrior skills. The same goes for Bumblebee, who retains his radio-like voice. Honestly, it does work better than the actual voice actor for this version of the character.
As for the minor Autobots, Ironhide gets the more vocal role and most active role amongst them (though the newest Auto named Sideswipe nearly upstages him with some good one liners and a sweet move at the beginning). The same goes for Jetfire and Wheelie, who both are nice new additions. My only complaint with the two is after the trip to Egypt they're never seen again save for one at a crucial moment. The Arcee sisters are interesting and honestly I wish we had more time seeing them but oh well. They fill the void nicely of being Autobots and fodder. The same goes for Ratchet, but honestly, not a big fan of him and understand why he gets the short straw in just being there and having one line.
Which is the way to see this film? If you're a fan of the first film and of Transformers you have to view this much like everything else currently in the universe. This isn't G1 but elements from that series as always carries on here. As is Easter Eggs for said fans (which I'm keeping my yap shut on those). The same goes for fans that enjoy huge monsters rampaging (aka Godzilla films). This is about as close fans of those movies will ever see it done actually right. Army, Navy, and Airforce vehicles and weapons are perfectly made scrap in the hands of the Decepticons. Which to me is probably the reason why most will enjoy this film more than critics.
That said the action is typical of a Michael Bay film: if it's an object it will explode. True the action sequences are about as jittery as they where in the previous, but it didn't bother me then though it'll probably bother those who had issues with it before. Not to mention editing and cutting hasn't ever been his strong point (Bad Boys II and Pearl Harbor come easily to mind). What he lacks in those departments is giving us entertaining movies. This movie will be so much superior when it'll be released on DVD. When you can skip right to the good parts, ignoring or fast forwarding the needless clutter. I'm curious to see what this is like on IMAX where Bay has said the action sequences are extended. Perhaps a repeated viewing is in order for me in the future. Regardless, this film to me was worth the eight dollars and fifty cents I paid. It's nothing more than a popcorn flick that won't win any film professional film critics' heart, but to those who grew up on this series, and those who enjoy mindless action flicks. It truly is more than meets the eye.
4.0 out of 5