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Roll out with a new Autobot adventure.

Optimus Prime and the heroic Transformers of Cybertron are back for more after two years following the events of 2007’s summer blockbuster hit. This time around, the Autobots must defend Earth once again from the return of Decepticon forces. They also face a new threat from the title spark of vengeance: a former Autobot leader.

“The Fallen shall rise again,” states one of far too many toy concepts of which to keep track. Much like how the attendance rates at the box office certainly rose the first few weeks this movie rolled out to cinemas around the world.

After saving the world from Megatron’s Decepticon army the first time, the heroic ‘Bots now assist the United States Government in eradicating the entire ‘Con threat through a secret operations unit, code-named N.E.S.T. (great marketing tool, right?). A warning from yet another threat prompts the NSA to get more intimately involved with their operations (long before Edward Snowden broke the silence of their practices).

At a private conference at good guy headquarters, information is divulged a la “Last time on Transformers…” During this supposed government ordered intervention, a Decepticon scout intercepts the conversation from an orbiting satellite. Vital information key to the evil plot of the Fallen is revealed, including the final resting place of former master and commander Megatron. How’s that for life imitating art?

On yet another front, our human civilian hero Sam Witwicky is revisited as he makes the big trip to college while his parents reap the government benefits of housing Bumblebee, Sam’s Autobot guardian. Though his girlfriend Mikaela won’t join him on the quest for education, the hope remains that their relationship borne of victory through struggle might endure.

When Sam is reluctantly blessed with a strange gift from a Cybertronian artifact left over after part 1, the stage is finally set for the Fallen to take his revenge. But no Autobot or ally thereof would let that happen without a fight and an adventure to go along with it. Along the way, the heroes rekindle an old friendship with a human and spark a new allegiance with a rogue Decepticon scrapper. Maybe a few trips across the country and around the world would do this crew some good, too.

As the story progresses, Sam and Mikaela’s journey brings them face to face with a veteran Transformer, Jetfire the Seeker (who reformats to be complete with beard and cane). His fractured flashback sequences reveal history and backstory of the title characters, justifying all of Sam’s Cybertronian delusions. No sooner has this information been learned than the heroes are whisked away to find the Autobots’ ultimate power: The Matrix of Leadership. And it must be found before the nefarious scheme of the Decepticons can come to fruition.

There is no denying that Revenge of the Fallen is a “Bayformers” movie for “Bayformers” fans. The visual effects, while sometimes difficult to fully make out, are absolutely stunning and at times even beautiful to watch. Favorite characters from the traditional Hasbro lineup make their big screen debut, including an extra special throwback for the film’s ultimate climax. However, it is obvious that more attention was paid toward action sequences and visuals over story coherence.

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Unfortunately, due to length, the script becomes overly complex, rather confusing, and even rushed at times (try to listen to everything that Jetfire says). Come the final showdown, aerial shots leave the audience occasionally wondering “who is fighting whom?” until they realize that it isn’t really that important. Many concepts such as the lore of Sentinel Prime and the “space bridge” should bring a smile to traditional fans while parents and girl/boyfriends wonder how much longer the movie is.

In its entirety, this is sure to please fans of the Bay-directed series, and is certain to satisfy select fans of the franchise. The robotic characters have more unique and articulate designs than the previous film. The comedy is surprising much more endearing, but it doesn’t completely balance with the vitriolic personalities of the antagonists. Though there might be something to be said about the acting, keep in mind this is based on a cartoon. As such, when a movie is meant to be tacky (at the risk of offense by the word “childish”), the appropriate character work is to be expected.

Of course, the toy line and general merchandising (shirts, phone cases) keeps the fun of the story, characters, and action ever present off screen as well. Even the cinemas have collectible cups.

Action sequences, unnecessarily intricate script, and borderline exploitative marketing aside, this is sure to be a fan pleaser. In general, it’s a delight for the eyes and just short of an irritation for the ears. For those looking for a deep story about alien invasion and the Earth-allied forces that work to stop them, look elsewhere. This one is specifically about the butt kicking with little focus on the strategies behind it. However, where the script may fail, characters and actors endure. It’s large. It’s loud. It’s a roller coaster of giant fighting robots. What more could young adults ask for?

 

Directed by: Michael Bay

Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving

About The Author

Contributing Writer

Herbert M. Shaw began writing movie reviews for his high school newspaper and hasn't stopped since. In 2005, his radio program "The Shaw Report" was started with WCDB Albany 90.9 FM in Albany, New York, and lives on with online streaming at www.wcdbfm.com. In addition to film and TV reviews, Herbert also covers a variety of pop culture events surrounding technology, gaming, and the arts. He has covered every single New York Comic Con since 2006, and writes an annual Oscar prediction guide.