People tend to be pretty divided when it comes to the Michael Bay Transformers films. The division can be broken down into three parts. The first being fans of the original 80’s animated series, the second being those who are familiar with Michael Bay’s work, with the third comprising of the average movie-goer. Due to my lack of familiarity with the main Transformers universe, I’m somewhere between the second and third groups.
The basic story of the film takes place a few years or so after the events of Revenge of the Fallen. Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) has just graduated from an Ivy League university, paid for by the military, and is living with his new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Meanwhile, the US Government and the Autobots discover the remnants of a Cybertronian cargo ship on the surface of the moon, piloted by Optimus’s predecessor, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy).
The story of the film plays out like a combination of a war film and a political thriller, as most of the plot centers around a global conspiracy surrounding the race to the moon from the 60s. One thing I noticed is that the story tended to focus more on the human characters than it did the Transformers themselves. In fact, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and Megatron (Hugo Weaving) don’t have a lot of screen time. However, this isn’t a bad thing with this film, as the human characters play a more important role. They even fight against the Decepticons about as much as, if not more than, the Autobots in the third act.
This film does have its fair share of flaws. The notable one being how the third act feels almost too long as it attempts to build up to a climax. This film also has two moments where the editing gets really choppy, as if there were certain scenes that they forgot to shoot, when they are making a transition from one point in time to another.
A lot of people were even more wary when it was announced that Megan Fox had quit/was fired from the franchise. However, I think this was actually something the film needed, as Huntington-Whiteley’s performance, most of the time, is actually stronger than the performance Megan Fox most likely would have given. Although she has range, she always seems to default to this ‘pouty,’ emotionless, “too-much-Botox-in-my-lips” expression….she is able to emote with her voice, but struggles to emote with her face in certain scenes.
This film is a bit of a mixed bag, but if you’re into action-packed war movies, then it’s worth your time. If you’re a die-hard fan of the Transformers universe, then you may find this film more enjoyable than the previous two films, even if it didn’t include Unicron, like the Super Bowl trailer indicated. Overall, I give this film a 3.5/5. A far-from-perfect, but enjoyable film.