The Autobots and Decepticons have on the whole been fairly black and white in the past two films: “If Megatron finds the cube, he will use its technology to transform Earth’s machines, and build a new army. And the human race will be extinguished.” 2007 “If Decepticons had their way, they’d destroy the whole universe! If the Fallen finds the Tomb of the Primes, your world will be no more.” 2009 The two films had showcased the theme of good vs evil, black and white, “Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons”. All well and good. We obviously know who the good and bad guys are, the only thing is how the battle plan and actual fight works out, more or less. Then comes this in DOTM: “You see, my fellow Autobots, we were never going to win the war! For the sake of our planet’s survival, a deal had to be made with Megatron!” Sentinel Prime “When it’s not your war, do business with the side that’s going to win.” Dylan The film’s themes are of betrayal and treachery: of duplicity committed for the sake of the bigger picture and surviving it. Both Sentinel Prime and Dylan assume the Decepticons had the better chance of winning the Transformers war, so Sentinel did the deal to ensure Cybertron would be able to be repaired and Dylan served the Decepticons so that he would be spared when they took over Earth. This slides things into degenerative, “shades of gray” territory: sometimes when looking at the outcome one has no choice but to give up your own morals and principles, for the sake of victory/survival or doing the right thing. “You chose sides, you chose wrong! You think you’re a hero, YOU THINK YOU’RE A HERO?” Dylan “You could never make the hard decisions! Our planet WILL survive!” Sentinel Prime With gray shades, the war is no longer a clean or clear-cut one: winning is now a matter of which side is more brutal/has the better advantage. And this IMO spoils things: good is bad, bad becomes good? Does one sympathize with the Decepticons because they want to rebuild their broken world, or for Megatron when he fights the big bad, does one boo Optimus when he takes down Sentinel and Megatron? Take for comparison a film like CAPTAIN AMERICA, where the heroes/villains were clearly set and ethics were black and white; even though there was a defector (Dr Zola) it was clearly someone who went to the good guys who’d give him a chance of redemption, if possible fairly and mercifully. With this film you change to either side, it doesn’t help: Dylan gets to live only as long as he does the Cons’ bidding and Megatron gets executed for a good deed. Hell, at least ROTF dealt with ex-Decepticons Jetfire and Wheelie and provided an element of redemption, but DOTM provides no quarter or mercy to either side (and there was an excellent opurtunity to do so, as the novelization showed). An arguably more worrying effect is that the good guys have no choice but to come down to the bad guys’ level and sacrifice their own morality/integrity. Even though the Autobots had no choice, they do horrible merciless things like tearing apart a helpless pilot and exploding heads; extremely notably, Optimus Prime does some fairly un-Optimus deeds like letting Chicago residents die to prove a point, tearing off his brother Megatron’s head and cold-bloodedly shooting his father/mentor Sentinel Prime in the head. In the first film Optimus mourned Megatron’s death, in ROTF he took his revenge on the Fallen but spared Megatron (though to be fair the Fallen was the big bad, and Megatron made a fast escape) but the third film has him so betrayed, so provoked beyond endurance that he would let Chicago become a killing field and scrap Megatron instead of accepting his truce offer. That is a heck of a comedown for Optimus, classically seen as a moral beacon for Autobots and TFans. The fact that he had to resort to subterfuge, as well as finally lose control and slay his “closest ones” – something he never did in the other TFilms – is a sad thing to have to see. This was meant to be the final TFilm, and so escalated things to beyond repair or return, but it still just doesn’t work for me and simply exhibits how different DOTM is from the other two TFilms. I don’t know if people can understand my points, but DOTM just felt so morally decayed, that it wasn’t so good to enjoy.