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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
(Michael Bay, 2009)

In short, Tranformers 2 is one hell of an action movie. It's got giant robots with immense battles and huge explosions, and contains sequences of epic proportions in terms of blissful robot-alien destruction. However, it lacks the essential things that separate it from being a mindless action romp to being a roller-coaster-ride film with a brain: Transformers 2 lacks substance and thoughtful originality to its simple, linear plot.

Taking place roughly a year after the first Transformers concluded, Revenge of the Fallen begins with Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the saga's young adult protagonist, bound for college, leaving the safety and security of his parents' home. We soon learn that, over the past twelve months, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, have been traveling around the globe, combating and destroying the remnant survivors of the Decepticon scourge. Wishing to lead a normal life as a normal young man, Sam says his goodbyes to Bumblebee (his personal guardian Autobot)--who had been living in his garage since the end of the first movie--and readies himself for the big move.

Then, it happens: during a conversation over the phone with his insanely hot girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), he discovers a piece of the all-powerful All-Spark Cube via the tiny shard falling out of a hole (or something) in a shirt he removes from his bedroom closet--the same shirt he had worn during the original battles with the alien robots one year ago.

I literally shook my head. All was well, though, once the action began to commence; as the movie exploded forward, I began to think that the action would make up for that unimportant plot detail. Looking back now, I'm not so sure. Let me explain, but first, I need to do a tiny bit more admiration over the effects and cool explosions and stuff.

Tranformers 2 improved upon the already mind-blowing action sequences and dazzling effects the first film contained; it has more explosions than the first, more fight scenes, and more robots. Many more. Perhaps even too much more, and therein lies one of the movie's biggest problems: its action is too prolonged and even contrived. Two hours into the film, I began to wiggle around in my seat, waiting for a break in the incessant action in order to catch my breath. That break never came. Battle after battle after battle presented itself, and while the epic sequences of war and glorious destruction were spectacles to behold, I needed relief from all of that not in the form of clever one-liners by Sam and his witty pals. I never got such relief.

Overall, Tranformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen presents action and battles of epic proportions between ultra-cool robotic alien races, but its weak plot, poor explanations for the return of the film's antagonists and their goals on Earth, and often too lengthy sequences of action brings it down to something less than what I, along with what I'd guess to be many other fans of the first, had hoped for.