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MonsterStomp Reviews - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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Its been a very long time since I've seen this film. I'm talking at least two years, and I remember absolutely loving it in theatres back in '09. So I decided to rummage through stacks of DVD cases that I've acquired over the years, and indulge in a little popcorn cinema.

As it stands, I still consider the film to be the best in the franchise, but it seems as though I'm in the minority there. Scoring a whopping 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, would have had the film as the most poorly rated excluding the fourth instalment. Something I don't think it deserves. In fact, I think the film deserves an above average C+. I've read and seen a few critical reviews on the film and most of the time its just a harbour of big words and metaphors that do little but vilify the film. For example, Jeremy Jahn's review is mostly him talking smack about a film which could ultimately be summed in one word: Bad. He doesn't talk about plot, characters, cinematography, effects, visuals or anything, and as far as a review goes, that's pretty embarrassing.

Regardless, I think the film deserves a C+. If it weren't for the underwhelming first act, maybe the film would have received a more impressive reception.

The pacing was appalling. I'd put the pacing on par with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (theatrical cut). Bay spent a lot of confusing time trying to set up the following acts, that he resorts to cutting from Sam's college endeavours to the Decepticon's advancement. Bay makes these cuts almost randomly. For instance, Sam and Ron (Sam's father) are trying to contain Judith (Sam's mother) who is high from eating pot-brownies. The sequence cuts straight to an orbiting Decepticon satellite and the plot proceeds for them. Only to be cut straight to a scene of Sam and his roommates going to a college party. Its ugly. There's too much going on.

Mudflat and Skids looking at their name on the
Mudflat and Skids looking at their name on the "nonessential characters" list

There is also an overdoses on humour. I mean, the fight scene in the forest was cut to make it shorter, but for some reason there's this unnecessary sequence of Sam's mother getting stoned and being weird. Bay prefers to sacrifice a high stakes fight sequence, than an unnecessary comedic sequence. We already have Leo (Sam's roommate) who was a great comedic relief, but apparently that's not enough for Bay. Mudflap and Skids a.k.a The Autobot Twins aren't even remotely a necessity to the plot. However, as much as I resent their appearances, I have to draw the line when people call it racist. Especially when we have Jazz in the first film, three Decepticons with dreadlocks in Dark of the Moon, and a Samurai in Age of Extinction. I don't have an issue with Bay implementing different races within the Cybertronian species. I don't hear complaints where Prime sounds like a normal white man. Its a huge nit-pick, if anything, but I'll move on.

This was a live detonation with little CGI
This was a live detonation with little CGI
This is 100% green screen
This is 100% green screen

The highlight of the film is its action. Michael Bay constantly gets begrudged for his excessive use of explosions. I'm going to lay down my thoughts: I prefer Bay's more practical use of explosions to Snyder's over-the-top CGI. Don't get me wrong, I tip my hat off to Snyder for giving us power-accurate superhuman beings, but the CGI isn't as intricate as say, an autobot morphing into a vehicle. The action is well choreographed and more times than not the stakes are high. The only time the action seems nonessential is when Sam accidentally turns his kitchen appliances into Decepticons, which could have easily been left out.

So, to reiterate, I'd score the film a solid C+ for its fantastic action and mediocre plot. If the film wasn't dragged down so much by its subpar pacing, overdose on humour, and cut out the nonessential sequences that were abundant in its first act, I think the storytelling could have been more adequately executed.