Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen [Movie Review]

If the original Transformers was his Batman Begins, then this is Michael Bay's The Dark Knight. No, the sequel to 2007's hit blockbuster based on the '80s action figures is not nearly as good as the most recent Batman adventure, but it is similar in many ways. The scope of the sequel has been expanded massively in comparison to Transformers and this becomes obvious upon witnessing the intense and frenetic opening chase scene in Shanghai.

The epic scale of the film also serves as the story's greatest weakness and Revenge Of The Fallen ultimately pales in comparison to the original. However it must be noted that while the highly anticipated robot fight-fest sequel has a muddled plot, the movie has exactly what Summer moviegoers demand: fantastic action sequences, meticulous special effects, and a lot of fun.

It would be unnatural to have a Summer action blockbuster about robots killing each other without being filled with beautiful humans, right? Well Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox return as dorky Sam Witwicky and out-of-his-league Mikaela Banes, and this time they are an official couple. With Sam off to college and Mikaela working at her father's garage, it seems as though their relationship may be hitting a few bumps. Especially when, you know, a random blond chick seduces Sam on the first day at his university. Said random blond chick is Alice, as portrayed by Isabel Lucas. But besides Lucas there are no new (human) cast additions and actually there are a few missing characters as well. While Josh Duhamel as Captain Lennox, Tyrese Gibson as Sergeant Epps, and John Turturro as Agent Simmons all return for more robot-bashing, absent are Rachel Taylor as the (forgettable) Maggie Madsen, Anthony Anderson as lowly hacker Glen Whitmann, and Jon Voight as U.S. Defense Secretary John Keller. And as expected, Mr. & Mrs. Witwicky make a return as well causing megatons of embarrassment for poor Sam.

When the heroic teenage underdog stumbles across a piece of the Allspark which was destroyed in the first film, Sam begins to visualize symbols and falls in and out of subconscious drawings of these. Soon the Decepticons gain word of another Allspark piece being protected by the U.S. Military and the baddies begin their assault with the Autobots protecting the humans. While many believe Michael Bay was exactly the right person to take on the action in the original Transformers, there is an obvious difference in quality between the first and second films' story.

While the original had a sense of wonder to discovering all of these vehicles that could transform into robots, Revenge Of The Fallen lacks that kind of magic. Instead, the plot is sort of like a slide show that is set on the highest speed and the person who was supposed to explain it all fell asleep. All one can make out from the quickly passing slides is the idea and sequence of each: action scene, comedy scene, action scene, action scene, romantic scene, rinse and repeat. The reason for such an underplotted movie? The sequel's attempt to make an already huge film bigger.

With the directing so heavily focused on the scale, lots of details are ignored in the story and the whole movie suffers because of it. The comedy is generic, the characters are dull, and the plot is difficult to follow. Without spending time to explain what the hell was going on, the pace of the movie is set at a lightning speed and the ridiculous amounts of excessive action make the sequel more of a chore to sit through. Especially since Revenge Of The Fallen is two and a half hours long.

So is there no hope for the sequel to 2007's biggest hit and star-maker? Well those action scenes I mentioned before? Yeah, just because there are so many does not meant that they are filled to the brim with pure, dangerous levels of awesome. A lot of people loved Transformers for its staggering action sequences and in the sequel that change in scale has definitely worked in favor of those sequences, as is apparent with the loud and extremely well-choreographed robot clusterf*ck.

It seems that Bay decided to ditch the story and characters to try and reach the full potential of the action in Transformers. The result? Let's just say that the little 10-year old inside you is going to have a heart attack by the time the credits roll. And considering that probably 75% of the movie is nothing but robot-on-robot action, a lot of the issues with the plot outlined above can be forgiven.

So while Revenge Of The Fallen is, on a whole, still worse than the original Summer action masterpiece, moviegoers may not find a better replacement for intense action, exciting direction, and stellar CG for around $12. And isn't that what Summer movies are all about?

Clusterf*ck Score: C


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