After the ringing in our ears eventually faded from all the clangs and explosions that was the last Transformers movie, it was time to take stock of where Michael Bay was taking the franchise. Of course the answer was: nowhere particularly good.
Revenge Of The Fallen – either due to a half cooked screenplay thanks to the writers strike, or simply down to Bay’s worst instincts as a filmmaker (most likely both) – was an obnoxious endurance test of a movie. Huge lapses of logic and extended action sequences that were punishing for all the wrong reasons joined forces to form a deeply unsatisfying experience that oddly was still super impressive to watch.
Well here comes part three and the only real difference here appears to be less sand…
Following the conspiracy theory plot of the first movie that concerned a boy stumbling on a secret alien civil war and a hidden alien relic stashed by a shadowy government agency; and the conspiracy theory plot of the second which dealt with hidden alien relics stashed under the pyramids that were also being searched for by warring aliens, comes Bay’s most tin foil hat plot yet.
It seems that the moon landing in 1969 was actually put in place to raid a Cybertronian ship that crash landed there eons ago and that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin only made history in order to break in and steal shit from a broken down space vehicle like a couple of carjackers. On top of that, the Decepticons have human conspirators dotted around large corporations in America and are assassinating them to rub out the paper trail (although how much paper a robot bird that can turn into a photocopier can trail, I’m not sure). Somehow Sam Witwicky is still in the middle of things and yet all he can do is whine about having no job and being dumped by his universally hot girlfriend (goodbye Megan Fox) only to date another (hello the emote-free zone of Rosie Huntington-Whitely). By this point, Shia Labeouf’s Sam, who was a truly likeable lead in the original, now worryingly sees to be a spiteful, abusive rageaholic who screams like a furious man-child when he doesn’t get his way.
Anyway, after a Decepticon attack on Chernobyl reveals stolen Transformer tech, Optimus Prime is furious and upon learning of the moon crash site, goes to investigate. He finds the deactivated body of his mentor, Sentinal Prime (borrowing the voice patterns of a game Leonard Nimoy) and ressurects him only to learn of a plot to transport Cybertron here and rebuild it using humans as slaves.
It’s at this point it’s probably best to just jettison the plot, which barely makes sense on it’s own but when laid next to the plots of the other two movies, makes you wonder if – with about 4 or 5 nefarious plots all unfolding over periods of millions years – the Deceptions have any sense of management at all.
Eventually all the impenetrable plot and baffling cameos (John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and… er… Ken Jeong) give way to the typical gonzo, Michael Bay, action extravaganza which sees the whole of Chicago under siege.
The 40+ minutes of carnage contains such brain barbecuing sights as a massive, tentacled, robot tape worm boring through a building like a block of cheese, a jet-packed Optimus Prime racking up some serious kill points and a truly phenomenal wing suit scene that blows up amazingly in 3D, but all the devastation and noise is rapidly starting to lose what appeal it once had. It’s surprisingly violent too with multiple scenes of Transformers getting popped, execution style while they beg for their life coming on a little too strong for the source material.
Optimus past his Prime…