It's probably a little late in the game to get into serious discussion about these guys, but I'd like to share my thoughts on them just the same. Truthfully, in the heyday of the RotF hype machine, I didn't pay them much attention. In a movie saturated with crass humour, they were just more of the same. I enjoyed them for the laughs, then moved on. Then there was the whole overblown "racist agenda" controversy surrounding them, which I mostly steered clear of. It was only in the last few months, with the release of some of the "extended universe" bios that really got me thinking about the two again, and suddenly, my brain finally started to put pieces together, building the two into some of my favourite additions to the movie-verse. Yes, they're loud, obnoxious, goofy, and dumb. They bumble and fumble their ways around the screen without much purpose. Their shapes are hulking, slumping, and malformed. All around, not the picture of Cybertronian high-society. Even though they're recently joined the ranks of the NEST proper, they seem more concerned with trash-talking and posing for the humans than actually combating the Decepticons, like a couple of delinquent school kids who act tough and skip classes because it makes them look "cool". Wait... kids? I know I'm not the first one to make that connection (usually in "defense" of their incessant ebonics-laden smack-talk), but the full depth of that implication only really struck me recently. They're immature kids through-and-through, which really is the key to understanding their characters. They're like kids who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, reading comic books, and generally worshipping superheroes, imagining themselves as becoming said heroes when they grow up. And suddenly, and shockingly, reality pulls them into that exact scenario. They've suddenly been dumped into war alongside their revered heroes. What do they do? They let it get to their heads. They get dragged along on live missions for observational training, but rather than take it seriously, they only see it as a sign of how cool they are, for being hand-picked by the greatest of heroes to join in their missions. They get big heads, and completely fail to take their situation seriously, generally continuing to blunder through their lives in their naivete. And making things worse, things turn sour with the death of Optimus Prime, and along with Bumblebee, they get separated from NEST, and thus any sort of command structure, generally allowing them to continue on as they have been without reprimand. In short, as soldiers, they're green as green can be, with no practical combat expertise whatsoever, unless you count emulation of pop-culture heroes as combat expertise (Skids: "Hey look, I'm a ninja!"). But worse is the fact that their own delusions of grandeur have been allowed to propagate for too long. Then, beyond their wildest of imaginations, the biggest, meanest, most destructive Decepticon threat, in the form of Devastator is unceremoniously dropped into their laps. They've got humans to protect, and none of the veteran Autobots are there to bail them out. For probably the first time in their lives, they're in real danger. They're caught in Devastator's deadly wake, and Skids faces the very real possibility of losing his brother. In this moment, the two finally realize the true scope of the war. Rather than escape and save his own life, Skids steels himself, knowing that the Decepticon's rampage can't be allowed to continue, and rushes in headlong. Even after Mudflap is revealed to be alive, they don't cut and run, they continue to beat down on Devastator, unmatched as they are, with total disregard for their own lives. It's a truly heroic and powerful moment. Unlike Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, whose heroic exploits are established and expected, these two have spent the entire two hours' movie length seemingly proving time and again their unsuitability for this war. So defying expectations, they go far and above the call of duty, fully prepared to make the heroic sacrifice. I feel cheated that they vanished after the Devastator fight. All it would have taken is one very short aftermath scene to hit their character growth home to the audience (then again, the movie's epilogue is rife with omissions like this. Where Bumblebee and Wheelie ended up, etc.). Something like them crawling out from Devastator's wreckage, then Skids trash-talking and berating Mudflap for making him think that he had gotten killed, then giving each other a congratulatory fist-bump, with one of the veteran Autobots nodding their heads in approval. No loss of their established personalities, but with the promise of potential. I sincerely hope that Ehran Kruger realizes this potential, and gives these unsung heroes their dues for TF3. I really think they deserve it.