If it's crap ... We'll tell you
There is a scene early on in the film that employs several tracking shots of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's ass for two solid minutes. That's as subtle as the film ever gets.
I liked the first Transformers film, sure it had its problems, but it was an enjoyable and entertaining cinematic romp with a bunch of ass-kicking robots. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, though, is pure dog shit. Director Michael Bay seemed to realize this, proceeded to take his head out of his ass, and decided on actually making an awesome action movie. Notice how I use the word 'action movie.' That's because Bay never attempts to make his stories any deeper, tell a joke that isn't lodged in his frat boy sensibilities, or give any character significant development - it's all explosions all the time on the "Michael Bay Show," but maybe that's a good thing.
Dark of the Moon focuses on the Autobots and Decepticons racing against time to discover what humanity discovered on the moon back in 1969 for control of the world. The plot is standard fare for a sci-fi action movie and is actually a discernible one unlike the last film, but that doesn't necessarily excuse itself from terrible writing. Character consistency is a concept no one seems to grasp in the entire film as characters swiftly move between acting like bad stand-up comedians, bad-asses, and melodramatic dunderheads. I especially love the fact that the character Sam (played by Shia LaBeouf) has the most bipolar mother (Julie White) on the face of the planet who, all in same scene mind you, starts berating him like a foul-mouthed roommate then tries to comfort him like a caring mother. Shia finally gets to shine a bit more as an action star while his new main squeeze in the film, Carly (Rose Huntington-Whiteley), fulfills the role of a great actress in a Michael Bay film by being able to look great in butt-hugging skirts. Seriously, the girl needs to file a restraining order against the camera since it's about two inches away from her curves every other shot. And yes, Bay's juvenile humor is back with Ken Jeong nicknaming himself "Deep Wang." GET IT?!?!? BECAUSE WANG IS A SYNONYM FOR A PENIS!!! It's strange to think in a movie filled with highly respected actors such as Alan Tudyk, John Turturro, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich (who still looks crazier than Gary Busey) that it's lowly voice over artist Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, who sells every line of dialogue like it's Shakespeare - and God bless him for it. Even when Optimus is giving one of the many cheesy lines provided by the filmmakers, you shut the fuck and listen because that's the freaking awesome delivery of Cullen.
Every character is written enough to fill the quota of being a cliche just to set up some semblance of cast. The same 'dedication' can't be said about the Transformers themselves. Besides Optimus, almost all the robots in the film seem to have the same personality who just don't like the other team. Bay's only way for distinguishing one Transformer from another is by giving some of them accents. A stroke of genius, Mr. Bay. For instance, after Optimus and the marines are attacked by a seemingly unknown enemy and Optimus seriously remarks that the mysterious attacker in question was "Shockwave." This has no significance, mind you, because Shockwave is just as developed as "Nameless Robot #8" in the background; he literally doesn't interact with ANY other individual (robot or human) in the remainder of the film but is supposed to be a scary son of a bitch because he can scowl really good. While Bay and company rid themselves of a great deal of glaring problems in the last film like Robot genitals, racist depictions, and pacing problems out the wazoo, they not only left in the tiny "Joe Pesci" robot in the plot but they also gave him a fuckmothering sidekick and boy howdy do they make this film come to a screeching halt when they step on-screen.
So what could possibly be good about this film when so much is wrong? Simple. It's fucking bad-ass. Bay has been touted as the action king in Hollywood and in Dark of the Moon he's in top-form. Watching the action scenes in this film is like watching a master watchmaker delicately assemble each minute piece perfectly: the style, the grandeur, the TEMPO of the damn thing is pitch perfect! Almost every character gets a moment in the sun to display their inner action hero, whether or not them having a cool action moment is appropriate. He's the Mozart of explosions and I'm glad he's here to remind the rest of the world's directors how to make an unforgettable action scene. Bay also makes the film follow what the name implies by making the film dark. Very dark. There's an 'assassination montage' that scared the ever-loving bejeesus out of me as I foolishly thought Bay wouldn't go that far with the creepy factor. Near the end of the film, we also see humans get wiped out; not the 'robot firing wildly and maybe hitting some off-screen' deaths. No. These are full fledged holy-shit scenes of terror and violence as humans and robots alike are taken out in brutal fashion and without the film batting an eyelash to the carnage. I'm a bit surprised they were able to get away with a PG-13 rating for this one when you consider some of the more disturbing content. Bay's intense action is only paralled by his near-flawless pacing that keeps all the stories going at once and on-point like a trained plate spinner. I could have paid for a ticket just for the last hour of the film, and I would have been more than satisfied.
Does Dark of the Moon have a great story, terrific characters, and sharp dialog? No, and if you thought otherwise, you are on some pretty heavy medication. It's a all-out robot fisticuffs with some of the greatest action scenes, if not greatest, that I think of from the past 10 years. It's loud, spectacular, and just brutal. While Christopher Nolan may treat us with some of the greatest cinematic stories, it's Michael Bay who treats us to his refined ballet of explosions and continues to cement his reputation as the action director who knows how to blow shit up.