Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not a bad movie. I know that seems like faint praise, but considering the flack Michael Bay gets for the first two, I thought I’d put that right out there. I enjoyed myself, and if you suspect that you might as well, go see it without guilt. Wait for the second run theater if you are unsure, it’s definitely worth the $4 or whatever you’d pay there.
I remained unspoiled as to the plot of the film, and I got caught up in things enough that I didn’t see the twists coming for the most part. I do wonder what sort of magic Michael Bay has that makes respected actors want to be in his sequel to a sequel to a remake of a kid’s cartoon designed to sell toys. I mean, Frances McDormand? John Malkovich? Though I did have to laugh at Patrick Dempsey, telling my wife *spoiler*McDreamy is eeeevil*end spoiler*. The weak links in the movie, as always, are the ridiculous sidekick bots Bay seems to think are necessary, often with offensive (or at least stereotypical) accents. They even have a Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker moment where the two little Autobot screwups destroy a major Decepticon ship during the big battle.
The new love interest chick, Carly, was a miss for me also. There is something about her look that is unsettling, and at least Mikaela seemed tough enough to handle herself and not be the screaming damsel in distress. Perhaps in contrast to Carly, Sam seemed tougher, more adult and less of a kid.
One other thing I’d like to address – the ‘bloodthirsty’ (or would that be circuitthirsty? energonthirsty?) nature of Optimus Prime. Hearing Peter Cullen bark out something to the effect of “Let’s kill them all!” was shocking, but it’s a product of the more realistic world of live action movies. It’s easy for the Autobots to be ‘good’ and never kill in a serial cartoon for kids. In the (somewhat) more realistic world presented in the movies, these are giant metal constructs that are being blasted with powerful weapons, so some WILL be destroyed. They’ve been at war, a real war, not the GI Joe style of war where lasers always miss unless the plot dictates they wound (but not kill) someone. Megatron and the Decepticons were responsible for the deaths of numerous of Prime’s friends, so I don’t begrudge him a bit of glee at being able to take vengeance upon Megatron, Starscream and so on.
I’d honestly be more effusive with my praise if it weren’t for the typical Bay screwups. They are so easily avoided (and yet so often repeated) that I just can’t be more ebullient. What I would say to you is this: don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for enjoying this one.