Overwrought with an indiscernible plot and outlandish action sequences, the sequel to the popular Transformers franchise is brutal in every sense of the word. I took a sheet of paper into the theater, to jot down things both “Good” and”Bad”. It ended up double sided “Bad.”
Where to begin. I could simplify my review in three phrases.
It starts shitty.
It stays shitty.
It ends shitty.
But where’s the fun in that? Sure, it might make me hilarious (which it obviously does), but I’m shooting for the truth.
And honestly, there is not a thing within this movie that makes it worth seeing. And that’s sad. The first one was a lot of fun, and a nice action film based on the 1980s cartoon and toy line. It was mindless, sure, and not a flawless film by any means. But when I walked out of that theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I felt entertained. I felt like I got my money’s worth. This time, I feel like director Michael Bay stuck his hand out, I handed over my money, and then he proceeded to bend me over, and jam a rake (not the handle end either) into my cute little butt.
It starts off brutally connecting the end of the first film with the beginning of this one. Creating a Military/Autobot alliance for the protection of Earth. And instead of showing us how all this came to be, we get a shitty little ten minute intro that brings us to “today”. Not only is it lazy storytelling, but it’s just flat out tough to watch the franchise go down the toilet 10 minutes into the sequel, knowing they already got you to pay. Then, after that ten minutes, huge problems in Shanghai, and BOOM! First high action sequence. Problem is, it doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. It’s loud and shiny, and that’s about it. Cue Shia LeBeouf’s character.
And then, about 20 minutes in, I’m already agitated at how bad it’s started. And IT GETS WORSE. Sam’s parents, the caricatures that they are, add NOTHING to the story, or to the character of Sam. They are just cookie cutter parents, and not even good cookies. Their the ones you left in the oven about 8 minutes too long and now their all burnt and inedible. They toss out generic line after generic line, generic action after generic action. And their dog, good god. The thing is humping another dog, REPEATEDLY. About three times in 5 minutes, actually. But then again, Bay isn’t one to be subtle.
Another problem I had is that while the first one was actually fairly wholesome in terms of language while being action packed, this one goes for the crude joke and foul language WAY too much. I don’t remember there being more than maybe three potty words in the first one, and the sequel is full of them. Even the robots are cursing. It’s crass, it’s pointless, and it’s actually pretty distracting. One of them even uses the word “pussy”. A little bit too much. There are plenty of drug references, too, if you were wondering.
Next, I HATE recycled villains. And guess who’s back, along with the new character The Fallen? Damn right, it’s Megatron. Nothing makes a first movie seem more pointless then when the main villain returns after their demise. And then, on top of that, the thing they were fighting for in the first (The All-Spark) is basically rendered pointless, because the one fragment of it that somehow managed to stayed wedged in Sam’s shirt for two years (don’t get me started) and starts the events of this go-round. Then, another all-powerful device (The Matrix) is brought into the storyline, one that’s able to bring anything to life.
So, anyway, Sam goes to college and gets an annoying roommate, goes to an impossibly well-furnished and clean Frat Party, and gets caught making out with a human deception. Okay, if they can infiltrate humans AS humans, why don’t they try that? Worked pretty effectively. While rolling up in a tank might seem conspicuous, appearing as an 18-year old horny college female might get you a little closer to whatever you want to find. (Oh, and what point was she? Did she actually attain anything?)
Every robot looks the same. They don’t do the polite thing they did in the first and introduce you to the major players. Shiny silver robots appear, fight, and then go away. Or come back. Its tough to keep track because they all look the same. There’s no way to differentiate between anyone.
Apparently, and I’ve noticed this in every other Bay film, whenever anything is supposed to be serious, he goes to slow motion, serious looking, sunset in the background. It’s almost comical that I could predict, with great precision, each of these moments in this movie.
Jon Turturro’s character is back, if you thought that was possible. Sure, it makes a little sense (and in a movie that makes none) that is a little welcome. He’s a slight bright spot. His character is a bit over the top, but in a movie like this, there needs to be someone like this. But, of course, since he owns a butcher shop in New York, and there happens to be a dead pig hanging in the meat locker, they feel the need to edit in a swine flu joke. Seriously? Yes, seriously. It is one of the worst jokes I have ever heard in a feature film. Turturro actually begs one of the Transformers for the plot of their story. Irony, at its finest. Amidst a story, with no plot, a character begs another for the exact same thing.
The relationship between Sam and Mikaela is unbelievable. They have been together for two years, and haven’t said “I love you”? I suppose we’re supposed to believe they haven’t even held hands, kissed, or fondled the others genitals. Give me a break.
The movie is almost a parody of itself at times. The product placement, I get it. It’s fine, I understand it. The two new Autobots, Skidz and Mudflap? As racist as they seem to be, they’re also the Jar Jar Binks of this franchise. Killing them isn’t enough. They would have to go back in time and ERASE them from the movie and my memory for my forgiveness.
In the final battle for The Matrix (pretty original), Shia LeBeouf magically appears with his left hand wrapped. Now, I’m aware he was in a real-life auto accident that really jacked up his hand, but in a movie full of special effects, you can’t get that thing out of there? I actually started laughing that it just kind of appeared. I didn’t know he had time to find a doctor in the middle of a battle for survival.
Overall, the film just writes itself too many outs that it confuses itself. If anything happens, there is always something that can bring it back to life, or kill it harder, or louder, or whatever. Its like they took a group of 30 writers, passed a notebook around the table, and by the end, the script had nothing resembling a plot. But it had a lot of explosions.
And that’s, unfortunately, what people are going to pay to see. And the movie will make buckets of cash.
There is nothing about the film that merits seeing it. If you saw the first, and enjoyed it, stay the hell away. Re-watch the first. It can actually be classified as a film. This is visual special effects masturbation, and it’s pathetic. Do not see this movie . Save your money.
-Special Effects (it’s hard not to be impressed with those, no matter how gratuitous they are)
-Turturro (he actually adds a little bit of depth to the whole thing)
-Sans hyperbole, Everything else.
-The story, the lack of plot, the lack of credible direction, the characters, the performances, the way it almost erases the first movie, everything being too easy to fix, the soundtrack, the scene locations. Literally, EVERYTHING ELSE is bad.
Score: 2/10 (BRUTAL)
Special Effects: 8/10
Acting: 2/10 (that 2 is for Turturro)
Character Development: 0/10
Character Introduction: 0/10