So, TransFormers: Revenge of the Fallen. I won’t go into too much detail here, at least plot/spoiler-wise, but…

I liked it.

Mind, I question whether or not I am any accurate barometer for anyone else to decide whether or not to watch the movie. Some things to note:

For one, I seem to have low standards for movies. Rarely can I think of one that I really just don’t like that I’ve seen. Street Fighter Alpha Generations comes to mind, but that’s really all that I can think of off the top of my head. That said, I enjoyed the Raul Julia Street Fighter movie, and the way I refer to it may give some idea as to why. Of course, I may simply have blocked out other, less pleasant experiences.

For another thing, after everything I heard before walking into the theater, I’ll admit I set my expectations incredibly low. I had heard that the movie was basically Michael Bay showing disdain for his audience, and for that alone I wanted to go. Most of my hype came from seeing trailers for the game, rather than the movie itself (especially after Animated got axed so we can see these toys sitting on shelves for a year).

In fact, there was an almost twisted delight within me when I saw that the theater we went to see the movie at had placed their “Must See Guarantee” on the film; if we didn’t like what we saw, we had thirty minutes after the end of the movie to show our stub and get a free pass to our next movie. What a deal, right?

Well, after the movie, I chose not to take advantage. I felt that doing so would have been dishonest, and Red too chose not to. We had our fun.

Indeed, the movie was a lot of fun. Just hearing Peter Cullen as Optimus, not to mention Frank Welker as Soundwave again (though the latter sounded more like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget than Soundwave; it’s the same actor, same voice, but Claw is minus the effects, and it’s definitely noticeable) made me feel like the price of the ticket was a good enough investment. And that leads to another point: It’s no secret that I’m what might be considered a hardcore TransFormers fan. Certainly, there are those much harder-core than I am, but cite things from Bumblejumper to Pretenders to Rorza to the 13 to Shawn Berger, and I can pretty much keep up without missing a beat (and truth be told, I could probably have picked some more obscure examples, but it’s late). I think that my knowledge helped me enjoy the film more, personally.

I should perhaps give Michael Bay some credit where I feel it’s due: He’s more or less made Bumblebee a badass, Wheelie a likable character, and in my opinion, I think he’s even helped make Megan Fox look better than other times I’ve seen her.

And I will admit, there was stuff I did not like, or at the very least did not care for. You might have even heard about some of them. But, as Walky puts it, it was like white noise. I rolled my eyes, or facepalmed, or whatever, but none of it bothered me too much.

Well, actually, the amount of humping/penile/other such gags was a touch grating after a while. Though actually, as regards the second example up there… well, I expected it to be more prominent, but it was there for all of a brief moment. Kind of ridiculous to add, but suffice to say, this was the first time I’ve ever actively kept my eyes peeled for such things, and it wound up coming up short, save for the one blatant part where it mattered.

As an aside, I never imagined that I would see a PG-13 movie where the term “pussy” was used and a cat was not involved. Clearly, the times, they are a-changin’.

Where the story or plot are concerned, I’ve seen people talk about how lost they are through the whole thing, not able to make any sense of it. I’ve actually seen the same complaints about The Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and I followed that just fine. Likewise, I followed this movie easily enough. There were admittedly the odd bits or pieces wherein I was a touch confused, but not about the greater plot as a whole. I do think some parts dragged on a bit longer than I’d have liked, though, and some characters didn’t even get much in the way of screentime. Not to mention, as points out, many characters seemed to go unnamed until the credits; some of this was lost on me, perhaps because I’ve been familiar with some of the merchandise and tie-ins prior.

Unlike , however, I was a bit happier once they moved on from the college part of the movie. As for the human element, I felt it was vastly more tolerable in this movie. I think a lot of it is that the factions of humans were narrowed considerably; there was Sam and his lot, who are pretty much the protagonists, and then Lennox, Epps, and the guys in N.E.S.T., who are basically the Autobots’ allies, which puts a different spin on things, especially as the first movie was Sam and Mikaela, Lennox and his troops, Simmons and Sector 7, and Jessica Simpson-looking computer girl and her friend who followed an almost entirely separate plot thread through the first movie until the end drew near. Plus whoever else I’m forgetting.

Oh, and Sam’s parents are, of course, in this one. I actually found them enjoyable for the most part; I’m reminded a little bit of my parents, actually, what with their back-and-forth. I’m actually a bit happy for that.

The Decepticons get a bit more characterization here, and Starscream even sounds like Starscream. On the downside, Ratchet barely gets to speak, Ironhide only a little moreso, and Sideswipe and the Arcee Twins (despite there being three of them) barely get to say much at all; they’re almost like filler troops, only more visually distinct. Towards the end, however, there are a number of Decepticons, and they all just seemed to blend to me for the most part. A lack of color doesn’t help. Either a lot of them looked like Megatron, or he was really getting around, or I’m not sure what. I don’t mean to sound racist, but watching this movie, it was like all the Decepticons looked alike to me.

Meanwhile, come the end, I’m unclear on the fate of some of the robot characters, i.e. if they’re dead, alive, or what.

I think this one was a bit easier to follow visually during the giant robot battles, Decepticlones aside, than the first one. Sure, Baycam was in full effect, and I hope he buys some nails with the take from this film to secure the damn thing next time, but it felt like there was some improvement, at any rate.

Long story short, it’s not the best movie ever. Probably not even close. But I found it rather enjoyable for the most part, even despite all its shortcomings, and I’d probably see it again. I also really want a movie Optimus toy now, but that’s beside the point.

The best thing I can say is that if you liked the first one, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like this one as well, but that’s not guaranteed. I don’t think it’s any worse, really, and in fact think it’s a little better, though not enough to convert someone who didn’t like the first. And if you didn’t like the first? I recommend either saving your money, or at the very least seeing if you can find a theater with a guarantee like the one I spoke of above. Or wait for cable or something.

–LBD “Nytetrayn”