My love affair with the Transformers dates all the way back to the days of my misspent youth. When cartoons served no purpose other than to entice my brother and I to beg our parents to spend their hard earned money on tiny plastic cars, trucks, jets, and dinosaurs that also turned into robots. Sure the blueprints required to perform these transformations were often times far too complicated for our young minds to comprehend, thus leaving the toy is some sort of pseudo-car/robotic form. But as long as we had a new episode of the show to look forward to while getting ready for school the next morning, we never seemed to mind.
Being that the toys and cartoon were such a big part of my childhood, you can imagine that I was pretty excited about the first Transformers movie, even though Michael Bay's name was attached to it. All in all, I ended up enjoying the first one a good bit. There were a few little things I didn't care for, but if nothing else it introduced Optimus Prime to a whole new generation, my son included, and for that I'm thankful. The sequel was a bit of a letdown, but I still didn't hate it as much as some other people I know *cough*mybrother*cough*. I just knew that the powers that be in Transformers hq were going to learn from those criticisms though, and deliver the goods with Dark of the Moon.
Once again, it's not perfect but I definitely think that Dark of the Moon makes strides toward getting the franchise back on the right track. Some of the problems with Revenge of the Fallen are still made, like introducing lots of new characters who don't get any introduction and only seem to serve to sell toys and take up some space in the background. This one even goes so far as to include a couple of Nascar Transformers, which sounds really lame, but I gotta admit they looked kinda cool. Still it's not like we even get to learn their names, so I'm guessing they are included solely to get redneck kids to run out and look for "Nascawr Rowbawts". On the other hand though, some of the new characters shine, and even steal the movie a bit. I loved every second that Laserbeak had on screen, always loved him when I was a kid, and despite that fact that I was disappointed that he never transformed into a micro cassette and jumped into Soundwave's chest, he was very well done. Shockwave also impressed, dare I say he's even cooler here than he was in the cartoon, Bay definitely had him bringing the pain.
There's forced humor, which I know we should expect from Michael Bay who seems to be something of a 12 year old simpleton trapped in the body of a grown man who is given millions upon millions of dollars to make movies. Personally though, I can do without it in my movie about giant robots kicking each other's giant metal asses and turning into jets and trucks and shit. At least it seemed to be dialed down a bit this time around. Wheelie was still in it, and he had a sidekick this time, but Mudflap and Skids were mercifully omitted. My biggest complaint though is that John Turturro rears his talentless an unnecessary head again. I seriously hate that guy, he does nothing but cheese up the proceedings with his ridiculous overacting. Thankfully Anthony Anderson is once again absent, as is Sam's ridiculously annoying roommate from Fallen. No Megan Fox this time either, but aside from all of her "running in slow motion" scenes, she never really bothered me all that much, and those scenes were hardly her fault.
What works in this movie though I felt like worked pretty well. The plot was a little hokey, with the whole moon landing being a secret mission to investigate a crashed space ship which contained a Transformer who had escaped from the war on Cybertron with a weapon that supposedly would've turned the tide for the Autobots. Russia and Sputnik are even involved. Again, it's hokey, but it's a Michael Bay movie, so aside from maybe a special effects nod, we aren't looking at Academy Award consideration anyway. The most important thing to have in a Transformers movie is hot and heavy robot on robot action, lots of explosions and robotic carnage, and in that regard Dark of the Moon delivers in spades. There are so many great action sequences, culminating in a final 30 minutes or so which more than makes up for all of Revenge of the Fallen. There were so many "holy shit" moments that I lost count. I should mention though, that despite the fact that it was a really badass scene, there was one thing that forced me to send the following text to my brother: "Michael Bay just crossed a fucking LINE". I won't spoil it here, but there were two major things that happened that I was REALLY upset about. Not that they were such terrible things in the context of the movie, just that the Transformers fanboy in me felt betrayed. Then again, during the big finale, Megatron did something that forced my inner fanboy to squeal out loud like a little girl.
I didn't really see any point in going into a lot of detail on the plot in my little post here. Transformers people are going to go see this, and non-Transformers people aren't because they're stupid and watch shit like Harry Potter. You've all seen the trailers, and have probably heard/read plenty about it already. All I can say is that I urge anyone who liked the first, but didn't care for Revenge of the Fallen to not give up hope and check out Dark of the Moon. I wasn't disappointed in the least. It's a bit of a long ride, clocking in at over two and a half hours, but it's a fun one that's rarely boring.