Review - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the latest explosion-laced film from Michael Bay. Hoping to capitalize on the success of the first film, Transformers, Bay has worked in just about everything from the original. Familiar characters, music and storylines have all returned, but do they work? Before I get into the review let me say this. I liked this movie. With a caveat. It wasn’t as good as the first one. See, the first one had a few things going for it. First, there were no expectations. Sure it was a film about Transformers, but no one really knew what to expect other than tons of bombast and giant robot battles. Second, Steven Spielberg. You could tell that in Transformers Spielberg did lots to sort of rein in Bay and his style. In the sequel, not so much. Spielberg still had his say but it definitely seems like this time around Bay did much more of the heavy lifting as far as the production went. Now, onto the good stuff. Not a spoiler free review, so keep that in mind. There was something missing from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The first film had a special sort of magic that really made it a pleasantly surprising film that worked on multiple levels. This one suffered from some basic moviemaking flaws. For one it was way too long. It clocks in at about 2 ½ hours, which is similar to that of the first one, but this one felt much longer. There were at least 30 minutes of footage that probably would have been better served as deleted scenes on the DVD. These scenes effectively made the movie feel a little bloated and honestly drag on at times. For instance, towards the end when they are seeking the Matrix to beat the Decepticons to it, the entire detective-search sequence was about 5 scenes too long. Just too much time was spent going from point A to point B to point C. With the length was the issue of pacing. Overall, the film felt really uneven. Some scenes seemed to serve a purpose while others were just filler (the entire scene with Sam’s parents moving him into college for example). This is going to happen with a Bay film because of the fight sequences but I couldn’t help but think that the movie lacked something. It was this constant buildup with no real sense of urgent need to resolve anything, and the final fight with the Fallen was quite anti-climatic. Sam and Mikaela. I get the need to show a dichotomy between choices. And in Sam’s case, the choice between declaring his love for Mikaela and in becoming a man is treated wholly separate. Some would argue that the two are intricately intertwined but to each their own. There wasn’t even much chemistry between the two of them on screen, which didn’t do much to convince you that they really loved each other. Just about every scene they were in together there was someone else in between them. That could have been to symbolically show the obstacles that Sam faces, but I doubt there was that much foresight into the scenes. There were way too many Transformers. The first film had about five on each side, which was a good amount of Transformers and really let you get to know the characters. This time around there was about 20 Transformers with the balance clearly tipped in the favor of the Decepticons. Of course this leads to great battles, and the final all-out war in Egypt at the end takes up about 45 minutes of the movie (maybe not that much but it seemed like that). The best battle however is the one halfway through the film. Optimus Prime pretty much takes on three Decepticons at once and hands it to all of them, essentially cementing him as a genuine badass. Bumblebee later proves a similar status when he defends Sam and his parents from two Decepticons. I won’t get too much into the plot because it’s pretty straightforward. The Decepticons want to destroy the sun to gain more power to create more Decepticons. Simple enough. It was nice to see more Megatron and Starscream banter in the film…that was really missing from the first movie. But Ratchet and Ironhide got about 5 minutes combined of screen time. They were replaced by Arcee and the really annoying (and controversially stereotypical) twins. Seeing the Constructicons come together and form Devastator gave me goosebumps, and watching him in action was pretty sweet (although his demise was drastically untimely). The film was good overall, but not as good as the first one. There were simply too many expectations for Bay to live up to and I don’t think he hit them all. What we’re left with as viewers is a decent follow-up to one of 2007’s unexpected hits. The movie will be great to watch on Blu-ray when it hits the medium for the special effects alone, which actually look better than they did in the first movie. A glut of Transformers kind of hurt the movie and really took away screen time from some of the humans (Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson mainly). Megan Fox was looking incredible and Shia LaBeouf is clearly comfortable with his role, so that all works. I just felt like the movie was missing a little something. Kind of like a good recipe that is missing that one spice to make it great. John Turturro reprised his role really well, which was nice to see. The whole Sam-Mikaela thing sort of overshadowed the Autobot-Decepticon war, which was kind of disappointing. A few questions about the film arise, like since when did Transformers become capable of copying humans (I know there are Pretenders in the Transformers universe but Alice seems to stretch that concept a little too far)? Why does Devastator have balls? In two years the shard never once fell out of his hoodie? The Transformers are supposed to be kept secret, but how did they cover up Carson City fro the first movie? These questions don't kill the movie, but having them answered certainly would've helped. In the end, it is what it is. A movie about giant robots fighting for survival amidst explosions, loud noises and dripping sex appeal. I will say this: Bay knows how to make a summer movie. This film is a symphony (or a cacophony if you view it that way) of explosions, fighting, T&A and a little bit of insecurity thrown in for good measure. It is everything you could POSSIBLY want from a summer blockbuster and then some. An all-out assault on the senses that will keep your ears ringing a week after seeing the film. And you know what? That's fine with me. The critics be damned, this was a good movie. I should clarify that this film is not good in the sense it's got Oscar written all over it, but good in that I want to see hot women and explosions while forgetting the outside world for a second. Or in this case, 8,820 seconds. When you look at it that way, it doesn't seem that long. Overall score: 70 out of 100


  1. had few questions of mine own and one thing it want carson city it was Mission City. one the general guy who was in that ops room that ran nest from afar he was the guy leader of the qatar base that supposedly died yet here he was. also sams roommate from college was whinning and seems like he was put in there as a sidekick for tuturo. but overall good movie and was upset about jetfire as he was never a prime and figure he might of had his own personal fight with starscream but guess not.


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