Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is what happens when Michael Bay goes overboard. He makes the highest grossing movie of all time to win the Razzie for Worst Picture. Yet the teenage boy in me can’t bring myself to hate it. I was 14 in 2009, so I still wasn’t willing to listen to all the critics saying it was bad. Transformers made Hasbro’s “Robots in disguise” cool again on the big screen, but Revenge of the Fallen was doomed from the start. The biggest hurdle was the 2007-2008 writers strike. That would explain the almost non-existent plot. Along with a jarring juxtaposition that has giant CGI fighting robots intercut with Animal House antics.
Bay was adamant about going bigger with every piece missing from the first movie. That meant way more Transformers, a ton of explosions, and an obnoxious amount of comic relief. I was definitely excited to see the sequel. Especially if it meant seeing more elements from the cartoon that my brother made me watch. My whole family went to see Revenge of the Fallen and it’s probably the most uncomfortable movie I’ve ever seen with my parents. The crude sexual moments don’t let up for a second. The action is still pretty awesome, but Revenge of the Fallen is very much a guilty pleasure…
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is still a CGI spectacle, but Michael Bay somehow made metal robots look ugly. The heavily detailed alien look of the Autobots and Decepticons was acceptable in the first movie. In the sequel, Transformers spit, fart, and have faces with way too much detail. The action was sort of incomprehensible before, but now there are so many robots on screen, you can barely tell them apart. The only Oscar nomination it managed to nab was for Best Sound Mixing. Revenge of the Fallen was much more of a Razzie darling. Winning Worst Director and Worst Screenplay on top of Worst Picture. Script problems begin in early human civilization. Peter Cullen’s booming Optimus Prime voice narrates again, but it’s not till the third act that we actually get some kind of plot. Until then we see an almost unconnected mission in Shanghai. Lennox and Epps of the military have teamed up with the Autobots and formed the task force NEST.
It’s still a General Motors commercial with heavy military involvement. But at least the Transformers get more equal screen time with the humans. Thanks to the message Prime sent out, now fan favorites like Sideswipe, Arcee, Soundwave, and Ravage finally get to appear. Sideswipe is cool and has a badass moment. The female Autobot Arcee appears as a motorcycle alongside two others, but they barely have time to stand out. The Shanghai battle sees the first of several one-off Decepticons face the Autobots. Demolisher is a giant wheel bot that Optimus makes short work of before getting a message about the Fallen. An obscure Decepticon villain that most casual fans won’t recognize. It’s cool to finally see Soundwave, but he’s just a satellite left out of the action. Thanks to an annoying government suit, the Decepticons now know how to find the piece of the Allspark they’re looking for.
Soundwave deploys the jaguar-like Ravage like a cassette tape into the secure base. He vomits a million microbeads that form one of many random Transformers in the movie. They retrieve the shard with hopes of reviving Megatron. Several random Decepticons succeed and Megatron now transforms into a Cybertron tank. This is probably Hugo Weaving’s best portrayal since he actually gets a chance to show off Megatron’s ruthlessness. He flies back to Cybertron where Starscream is attempting to regrow more troops. The Fallen is revealed to be Megatron’s master who was once a Prime hellbent on returning to Earth. Another cube sliver is with the continued main character Sam Witwicky. You still get what you expect from Shia Labeouf. Sam’s off to college and they make the mistake of giving his family way too much screen time. His father is worried about him growing up and his mother is overly inappropriate with an out of place pot brownie joke. They know all about Bumblebee and even get roped into the climax for some reason.
Sam’s still dating the gorgeous Mikaela who’s of course reintroduced with a revealing motorcycle butt shot. With Megan Fox still being the bland eye candy she was before. Her car expertise is given some attention, but only when another Decepticon shows up to take the cube silver. The extent of their unlikely relationship is neither of them saying the L word. Sam finds the cube sliver in his jacket and it brings an entire kitchen to life. The kitchen bots range from random to strangely perverted (intercut with Mojo humping another dog). Bumblebee blows them up, but Sam decides not to take him to college. Leaving the obnoxious RC Decepticon Wheelie to break into Mikaela’s safe. Wheelie is pretty bad, but he’s nothing compared to new Autobots Mudflap & Skids. A pair of painful black stereotypes that use slang, can’t read, and have a gold tooth. Their easily the Jar Jar Binks of Transformers who appear in way too much of the movie. But the unnecessary tag along characters don’t stop at them.
Sam’s horny, conspiracy theorizing, kitten calendar selling latino roommate Leo is present for the entire movie too! I get a chuckle out of the kitten calendar thing, but Bay is way too comfortable with random jokes like that. Same goes for the plethora of sexy college girls sprinkled throughout the beginning. Not that I’m complaining, but supermodel Isabel Lucas is responsible for most of the sexual innuendos. Alice comes onto Sam before Bumblebee arrives with a message from Optimus. They want Sam as an ambassador, but he’d much rather stay in College. Until the alien symbols in the cube infect his brain with comical results. Mikaela apprehends Wheelie, but catches Alice with Sam. Until it’s shockingly revealed that Alice is a Pretender Decepticon with a long robotic tongue. The rest of the Decepticons track them and Megatron threatens to extract Sam’s mind. Optimus and the rest of the Autobots sort of come to the rescue. Prime still ends up alone, but it leads to the most kickass fight of the movie. When a dual bladed energon-thirsty Optimus Prime fights a horde of Decepticons in the woods.
Unfortunately it results in Prime’s second big screen death. Giving Megatron time to take over the planet with the Fallen on his way. Yet we still don’t know the plot until former Sector 7 agent Simmons is dragged back into the franchise. Giving John Turturro way more undignified things to do. Like showing his butt for no good reason. Wheelie decodes the Cybertronian symbols and points them in the direction of an ancient Transformer at the Smithsonian Museum. After more juvenile jokes, they discover former Decepticon airplane Jetfire. Between his elderly ramblings lies the plot we’ve still yet to receive. After Wheelie switches sides and humps Mikaela’s leg, Jetfire teleports them to Egypt. In a painful way that’s only their to explain Shia’s broken hand. The basic gist of the complicated plot is to find the tomb of the Seven Primes, find the Matrix of Leadership to revive Optimus, and stop the Decepticons before they unleash a weapon that destroys suns to collect energon.
Meanwhile Lennox, Epps, Ironhide, Ratchet, and the rest of the Autobots arrive in Egypt with Prime’s body. After Bumblebee finally tosses Mudflap & Skids away, they find the tomb with the Matrix. They collect the dust, but another warzone breaks out. One with a ton of Transformers fighting left and right with even Scorponok returning. Sam & Mikaela try to survive, while Simmons & Leo deal with the biggest Decepticon to date. A much more gorilla-like Devastator made up of several construction vehicles. If you think it doesn’t have wrecking balls for testicles, then you underestimate Bay’s perverted mind. The military shoots it down after it reveals the weapon hidden under a pyramid.
Sam is nearly killed, but revived in time to resurrect Optimus. Who’s given a badass jetpack upgrade courtesy of Jetfire. Prime violently takes down Megatron and brutally kills the Fallen. Starscream retreats with the injured Megatron and peace finally comes out of the nearly 3 hour long chaos. Ending with another satisfying Optimus Prime speech followed by another cool Linkin Park song “New Divide.” Revenge of the Fallen may be PG-13, but it really does push the limit with all its explosions, babes, and crassness. Yet audiences like myself practically doubled its box-office returns anyway. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen takes dumb fun to the next level.