Hi, everyone. I've been a TF fan since way back in 1984 and I've been visiting TFW2005 for years now. Great site. Anywho, I'd thought I'd offer my thoughts on Dark of the Moon. *Spoilers Ahoy! And some troper-speak.* As a Michael Bay movie, it was decent, but not his best. Plenty of great effects, explosions galore, and quite a few laughs. Pretty much everything Bay is good at. But that's all it had going for it. However, as a Transformers film, I felt it was the weakest in the series and was an unworthy addition to the Transformers franchise. While I enjoy the first film, and ROTF was entertaining and had good fight scenes despite the shoddy writing (Devastator was a total letdown, too; total asspull with that railgun). But Dark of the Moon was lacking the things that made those films enjoyable for me. In DOTM, there were only two really good action scenes: the freeway chase with the Dreads that ended in a Mexican standoff, and the fight between Optimus and Sentinel. None of the named Decepticons — Shockwave, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Starcream, Barricade, and Megatron — had good fight scenes (more on this in a bit). OTOH, TF1 had some great action scenes: Blackout destroying SOCCENT, the standoff between Scorponok and Lennox's crew, Bumblebee vs. Barricade, and the climactic battle in Mission City, where the 'Cons proved to be formidable enemies. In ROTF, there were also several great action scenes, especially the 3-on-1 handicap match with Optimus vs. Megs, Screamer, and a Blackout clone. Sure, there were a good number of short-lived 'Cons in the climactic desert fight, but they were all random mooks. Probably my biggest complaint was that the Decepticons underwent major Badass Decay. They went from being Made of Iron in the first film to being Made of Plasticine by DOTM. In TF1, we all saw how much damage most of the Decepticons took. Fire from an A-10 and an AC-130 put together only managed to break off the tip of Scorponok's tail, and even after the military learned of their weakness the 'Cons still proved to be tough as nails. Barricade scrapped with Bumblebee for several minutes, got beat, but lived. Brawl took forever to kill ("These things just don't die!"). And Megatron not only took a tremendous amount of punishment before he was brought to his knees, but he proved that he was more than a match for Optimus. The only ones to die relatively easily were Bonecrusher and Blackout, and even then they managed to make quite an impression. However, the amount of one-hit kill curb stomp battles in DOTM was ridiculous. Sure, lots of 'Cons went down easily in ROTF, but those were mostly random mooks (Rampage does last a good while against BB, though). But in DOTM, every named Decepticon goes down as easily as the mooks do. Shockwave, who was played up like he was some total badass and the Big Bad of the film, just stands around for a bit, takes a couple of pot shots at Optimus Prime, then gets jacked up by a couple of human soldiers before being finished off by OP. Soundwave gets his head blown off after a brief skirmish with Bumblebee. Barricade finally shows up again after disappearing mysteriously in the first film and being absent entirely during ROTF, only to get killed by a couple of human snipers. Laserbeak gets his head pulled off by Sam. Starscream, who started off the film series as a total badass, goes out like a bitch, thanks to Sam as well. Seriously? Screamer killed by Sam? SAM!? Damn you, MB! You do not have a college kid take ten billion levels in badass like that. I'd maybe accept Sam killing Barricade, but not Starscream. And Megatron was just criminally underused. The only action scene he gets is shooting Sentinel Prime in the back, then challenging a one-armed Optimus to a duel where the severely wounded OP still manages to casually pull a Sub Zero on Megs and pulls his head off after a 10-second "fight." The only bad guy to put up a fight was the Autobot-gone-bad. It doesn't help things when the 'Cons hardly get any screen time outside of their painfully short fight scenes. Like I said, Megatron was criminally underused. He's supposed to be the main villain, not some second banana whose most menacing scene was ripping off G1 Megatron's monument-destroying scene from the "Atlantis Arise!" episode. The few scenes Starcream gets has him most acting like a sniveling sycophant instead of, well, The Starscream. Why couldn't he have been like the Screamer from Reign of Starscream or at the very least the Starscream that had Ironhide and Rachet panicking like little children? Soundwave is the only Decepticon to kill a non-human when he executes Wheeljack, but otherwise he's just... there. Same with Shockwave. Stands around all brooding like Boba Fett, but ends up doing less and being far less imposing than Fett was. Barricade was almost "blink and you'll miss him." Laserbeak and the Dreads probably had the most screen time out of all the 'Cons. As I said, Sentinel Prime, the freakin' rogue Autobot, was the only villain to get a good amount of screen time and a good fight scene. Oh, and do I need to mention that the Decepticons, despite their massive invasion force consisting of hundreds of troops and dozens of ships, get their asses royally kicked by a handful of Autobots, a couple dozen NEST guys, and a college student? The good guys, especially the humans, are such a well-oiled ass-kicking machine (heh), and the bad guys such pushovers, that there's hardly any tension or excitement in the battle scenes. The only thing the Decepticons really posed a threat to was a bunch of unarmed civvies (one wonders how they managed to capture half the Autobots during the Chicago battle). I was excepting this dark, forboding film where the good guys won by the skin of their teeth, but it turned out the bad guys were one of the least threatening full-scale alien invasions in the history of film. Sentinel Prime was the only one who was really threatening in this movie, since he was the only one to be a decent fighter, not to mention his plan nearly succeeded. None of his Decepticon allies, not even the dreaded Megatron, made for good villains in this movie. The hour-long climax of the film is almost utterly lacking any sense of desperation. It's almost like Bay was all "Oh crap! We got a bunch of bad guys we need to kill off and we don't have much time, so let's just casually finish them off so we can get a good fight between the two Primes and then end this film." The Autobots, except Optimus, Bumblebee, and Sentinel (who became a bad guy), didn't fare much better. Sideswipe and Mirage get about one short but impressive scene a piece. The Wreckers were just there as product placement and to show how the Autobots have no more mercy than the 'Cons. Wheeljack gets a few lines at Autobot HQ talking about the gadgets he built, then gets summarily executed by Soundwave later on. I only remember seeing Ratchet a couple of times. And poor Ironhide. Turned into a plot device to establish Sentinel Prime as a traitor, only to not be mourned or even mentioned for the rest of the film. At least he does get a decent fight scene against the Dreads before he gets disintegrated by Sentinel. I wasn't expecting Oscar-caliber cinema going into DOTM, but I was expecting some good action scenes with great fights between the Autobots and Decepticons. Instead, most of the 'Cons got little screen time and were trounced as easily as the random mooks were. They were one of the wimpiest alien invasion in the history of cinema. Only the Big Bad, who was a rogue Autobot, managed to get a good fight scene. And the whole Twenty Minutes with Jerks routine was played out. Did we really need those scenes with some jerkass humans sympathizing with the Decepticons? Maybe if this had been a generic sci-fi film directed by Bay instead of a Transformers film, maybe I'd be more forgiving. The film had some great ideas, but the execution fell flat. If certain things had been done differently, then DOTM would have been a much better film. Of course, this all brings me to the biggest problem with the film series in general: the lack of proper development for the Transformers. I understand that this is a live action film series and thus, given the expense of the CGI and other effects, the humans are going to be the major characters instead of the robots themselves (whereas in the various cartoons, the humans were the secondary characters). I also understand that these are Michael Bay films we're talking about. But is it really too much to ask for for the Transformers to be, y'know, actual characters and not simply walking, talking special effects/product placement for car companies? Just because they don't get as much screen time as they could if this were a cartoon, it doesn't mean they can't be halfway decent characters. Even in all of its hokey Saturday morning, merchandise-driven glory, Transformers G1 managed to have far more interesting characters in its first season, which has a comparable run time to the live-action trilogy. Sure, the cartoon characters in G1 may have been very two-dimensional, but the film characters are barely one-dimensional. And we also had plenty of time to get to enjoy the characters from the first two seasons before most of them were killed off in The Movie. Maybe it's just like I said and it's just the limits of live action as well as the direction of the film series that made it less about the Transformers than it should be. Perhaps it would be better served by being rebooted as a CGI cartoon film. The film series did do plenty of things I enjoyed, including more alien-looking designs for the robots as well as excellent transformation sequences that avert the mass shifting prevalent in the cartoons. The special effects involved in that were just superb. Something that maintains that aesthetic of the live-action series, but puts it in cartoon form would probably give us, and the franchise, the film it deserves and hasn't received since the '86 cartoon film. But for now, the only thing really good the Transformers franchise has going for it at the moment is TF: Prime, which is already shaping up to be my favorite piece of TF media since the G1 cartoon. Overall, here's how I'd rate the live-action films, on a scale of one to four stars: Transformers: *** Revenge of the Fallen: ** Dark of the Moon: *½ Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment.