Transformers: Dark of The Moon is NOT a bad movie. On this edition of ‘In Defense of Bad Movies That Aren’t so Bad‘, I break down why everyone should give props to the third and best film of the Transformers franchise.
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), join the fray when the evil Decepticons renew their longstanding war against the Autobots. Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) believes that resurrecting ancient Transformer Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), once the leader of the Autobots, may lead to victory. That decision, however, has devastating consequences; the war appears to tip in favor of the Decepticons, leading to a climactic battle in Chicago.
Who thinks it sucks?
Warning – Major Spoilers Ahead
Why it DOESN’T suck:
Michael Bay’s 2011 Transformers: Dark of The Moon is an astounding apocalyptic cyber doomsday film that is so much better than it has any right to be. Loaded with incredible action sequences like the breath-taking wingsuit sequence or the building knockdown, complete with soldiers sliding down the freaking side of it — this third entry in the franchise is easily the best — by a mile.
Actual cannibal Shia LaBeouf is even more Shia than ever before in this movie and he kills it – every scene. That scream he makes after Bumblebee transforms in mid-air with him? Astounding. Fuck Mark Wahlberg – he’s a braindead sack of shit and he’s killing the franchise. Everything has went drastically downhill since Shia left Transformers to try and redeem himself by appearing in less popcorn flicks. Marky Mark cannot fill Shia’s shoes — he simply cannot do it. Megan Fox wasn’t in this one, deciding to ditch one earlier than her co-star Shia, and I think that decision was for the best. Her replacement – who had even less acting experience than Fox, was actually better in the love interest role. She does as much as can be expected in a Michael Bay movie that has females in it — but I commend her for putting up with all the testosterone.
The plot twists, the writing — so good, so unexpected. I was actually surprised when Leonard Nimoy’s Sentinel Prime turned against the Autobots and murdered Ironhide in a vile act of betrayal before siding with the Decepticons in order to try and transform Earth into Cybertron. Did they just kill off the grumpy Autobot who threatened to murder Sam Witwicky’s chihuahua in the first film? Yes they did – melted the shit out of him – DEAD. The stakes were raised way higher in this third movie and the robot backstabbing was mirrored when human villain Patrick Dempsey pulled some dastardly shit and helped side with Megatron as well. I don’t like Grey’s Anatomy, but Dempsey did a damn fine job here — and I’d actually love to see the actor in more big budget films like this with some decent scenery to chew up.
The pacing may be whack at times, but that’s unavoidable in a globe-trotting, overly long Transformers film. Michael Bay can’t help himself — he needs to shoot on location in at least 30 countries per movie. By the time we get to the destruction of Chicago in the final act — we witness Decepticons actually vaporising innocent human bystanders. Transformers: Dark of The Moon is the first and only time in the franchise where the audience feels like the stakes mean something. The devastation, the death and the chaos are legit scary – turning the movie into a frightening apocalyptic sci-fi movie that rivals Independence Day and War of The Worlds.
Even though it made absolutely no sense, the soldiers who infiltrate the city with their wingsuits – were true badasses. That moment they begin to dive out of the aircraft while another is ignited in flames beside it — is incredible. Watching them soar through the air while buildings around them explode and robots try to murder them is one of the coolest things you’ll ever seen in an action movie – period. Follow that up with the building topple sequence where an entire skyscraper begins to fall over – WHILE- our main cast are inside it. Seeing them slide down the side of the building, then shooting out the glass so they can avoid going off the edge was exhilarating.
Both Autobots and Decepticons die in Dark of The Moon and none of the deaths felt as abbreviated or weak as the moment Jazz was unceremoniously killed in the first film. They should have ended the franchise with this one but that’s easier said than done when it makes over a billion dollars at the box office… Transformers gets a lot of shit and that’s OK… Revenge of The Fallen was a disaster and the first film took WAAAAAAAAY too long to get to that good shit, but Dark of The Moon is where it’s at. The best action, the best acting, the best writing, the best everything — you are a cruel heartless snob if you can’t at least appreciate the stunning work put in by the stunt team and action choreographers for delivering some of the greatest movie moments of the past decade. Dark of The Moon may be all spectacle, but it is splendid.