As a Transformers fan and as someone who really wanted this to be a good movie, what I am about to say next is very hard for me. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the worst movie I have seen all summer and possibly all year. It is nothing but a collection of incoherent battle scenes tied together with way too many moments where the actors try to be funny. Yes, the many battle scenes (especially in the last half of the movie) are visually appealing and there are a handful of moments where I laughed, but all of that comes at the sacrifice of any kind of well-planned storyline or character development which really makes this movie hard to sit through for over two and a half hours (yes, the movie is that long).
The basic plot for the movie, which seems to have been taken straight from a 3-part episode of the old 80’s Transformers cartoon called “The Ultimate Doom”, sees the Decepticons trying to bring their home planet of Cybertron to our Galaxy via a “Space Bridge” in hopes of rebuilding it with Earth resources. Meanwhile Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is now all grown up, out of college, living in Washington, DC, and trying to make a life for himself without any Transformers or long-time girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) who apparently dumped him sometime between the second movie and this one. Not to worry because Sam has gotten himself an even hotter girlfriend in Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) who loves Sam for who he is and not because he knows big giant space alien robots (which apparently is only reason why Mikaela dated him in the last two movies, at least that is what is inferred in this movie).
I have seen some reviews bash Huntington-Whiteley for bad acting, and I don’t think that is really fair. The problem isn’t with the actress’ acting; it’s not any worse than anyone else in the movie. The problem is that the writers made her character very one-dimensional with no real purpose other than to be a Megan Fox stand-in. Outside of the obligatory love interest, Carly’s character has no point – the whole Sam saves the girl from the evil robots was done in both the previous two Transformer movies and frankly has become redundant. Of course, redundancy is kind of the problem for the whole movie. It’s basically the same story we’ve seen twice already with very little of any kind of new development. Sure we have a few new characters like Dylan (Patrick Dempsey) who is probably the most interesting character of the bunch (which really isn’t saying much) and Sentinel Prime, voiced by Leonard Nimoy, an ancient Autobot who spits out Vulcan proverbs (no seriously, he does).
What the movie lacks in any kind of well-thought out story or character development, it tries to compensate for with all-out action and special effects. For the most part, this is where the movie shines the most, especially in the last half of the movie. Some impressive big battle scenes that take place in the city of Chicago are definitely fun to watch. The movie also seems to be a bit more violent than the previous two. It seems the Transformers now bleed or at least spew some type of red fluid when they are being killed.
A person I was sitting next to in the theater summed this movie up the best when they said, you don’t come to these movies for good stories or acting, you come to see huge battles and big robots battle it out with one another. I personally do like a little bit of story mixed in with my battles and special effects – which I thought the first Transformers movie accomplished but which has since been lacking in the sequels. But if all you want are huge battles and over-the-top comedic moments, then this movie is definitely for you.