I went into Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with mixed expectations. 2007’s Transformers film was pretty good, but I had heard that the sequel was a mess, with a paper-thin story, underdeveloped characters, and juvenile humor. The rumors were true, but there was still something to enjoy in this thing, believe it or not.
The visuals in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are great. The Transformers are brought to life with stunning CGI, and the action sequences are pretty darn great. Again, a bit too fast for some, but honestly, having grown up with the cartoons, this was still a bit of a dream come true in 2009.
The music in is fantastic. The score by Steve Jablonsky is epic and exciting, and it perfectly complements the action on screen. My favorite track is “The Fallen.” I’ve been a fan of the music for Transformers films for a while, and I find them to be one of the most consistently good elements of a franchise that is shaky at best.
The acting in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is lackluster. Shia LaBeouf is fine as Sam Witwicky, but is that saying much? Megan Fox is also fine as Mikaela Banes, but she’s given even less to do. Eye candy is all Bay thinks she’s good for, and he makes sure you’re aware of that. The real standouts once more are the voice actors, who bring the Transformers to life with their performances. Peter Cullen and Frank Welker are both excellent as Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively, and John Turturro is pretty funny as Agent Simmons. I mean, it’s humor as mature as a fart cushion, but… when has that not been funny?
The plot is paper-thin. The film is essentially a rehash of the first movie, with the Autobots and Decepticons fighting for control of the Allspark. The film is also full of plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, in one scene, Optimus Prime is able to fly, but in another scene, he is unable to fly. What gives? Who knows.
Let’s also not forget about the not-so-mild racism in some characters and their stereotypical depiction of people of color. Some truly cringe-worthy moments there for sure.
Overall, I enjoyed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s a fun popcorn flick that is best enjoyed with a group of friends. If you’re looking for a Citizen Kane, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re in the mood for some mindless action and explosions, and can get past the off-color “jokes”, then you’ll probably enjoy it. I did, with a caveat. Just turn the ol’ brain off if you’re going into it.