More. That is the best one word description of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It has more Transformers, more explosions, more minutes, more humor, more characters but all this more comes at the expense of a cohesive story and any attempt at character arcs.
The story is simple even though several obstacles are thrown in to make it seem complicated. The Fallen orders Megatron and the Decepticons to find the Matrix so he can blow up the Sun for power and Sam and the Autobots must stop them. The story has holes the size of Optimus Prime so it is best to not dwell on the details. The dialogue is as flat and uninspired as the first movie but Prime gets a few good lines in here and there. Really though this isn’t a movie you watch for story nor characterization.
The Transformers themselves, the real stars of the movie, get plenty of screen time compared to the first movie. Optimus Prime, who came across as capable but no match for Megatron, is redeemed getting several moments to shine that Transformer fans will adore and show new fans why he is the most beloved character of the franchise. However, despite all that extra time on screen there is no real growth or development of these CGI figures. Many come and go without an explanation and most are not even identified by name. As a consequence action scenes can become muddled as it can become difficult to keep up with who is doing what to who. This introduction of new characters also causes first movie favorites such as Ironhide and Ratchet to have only minutes of screen time in favor of new characters especially the Twins Mudflap and Skids.
This brings us to what is really the largest problem with the film, which is its humor. There are jokes with a farting robot, steel testicles, dogs humping and more. The humor, while funny in parts, is just as likely to offend, especially when coming from the Twins. The approach seems to be as if the pair watched only rap videos but the result may just come across as offensive or racist. The characters were clearly designed for kids but the problem is their jokes are often hard PG-13 with words that most parents would probably prefer they not repeat.
Where this movie shines is as pure eye candy. The CGI effects from ILM and Digital Domain is nothing short of astonishing. The Transformers details have been cranked up, their ability to emote much improved and the use of Transformations creative (Optimus’ introduction in the movie is amazing). The various fight sequences are gorgeous to behold in their detail and worth the price of admission all by themselves. There are drawbacks though such as Devastator. While impressive in scope, he is likely to disappoint many once get past the technical achievement in his creation. Megan Fox and Isabel Lucas have never looked better regardless of the chaos around them.
Director Michael Bay brings his best to the table of huge explosions and controlled chaos for a visual feast of action. The camera doesn’t shake as much as in the first movie but he goes to the 360 camera pan a bit too often, only once is it use actually inspired (when Sam and Mikaela are hiding), but otherwise it does not really accomplish much except to make it difficult to track the action.
The human characters, they don’t do much, which is fine. Sam is a plot device to move the action forward. Megan exists to be pretty. Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel point the guns at objects and yell a lot. The only ones that make the most of their screen time is Julie White and Kevin Dunn as Sam’s parents who handle the adolescent humor with skill.
If it seems like this is one long list of complaints, it is not. This movie is the perfect popcorn flick with pointless story, likeable characters and an overload of visual fun. Check your brain at the door, sit back, and enjoy a wild and very entertaining ride. There are scenes, usually involving Optimus Prime, that will make you want to cheer out loud and watch the movie all over again. If you looking for two hours and half hours of loud entertaining fun, then Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the must see movie of the year.