(Dear SM MoA Imax, no one was handing out 3D glasses when my companion and I entered the cinema; I had to rush out to get them shortly before the movie started. I noticed that some people didn’t get theirs, either.)
Some spoilers ahead.
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” thankfully, isn’t the travesty that was “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” That doesn’t mean it’s fully recovered from its problematic aspects; if anything, this third movie doesn’t veer too far away from the established Bay-flick trappings.
“Dark of the Moon” rehashes familiar story elements, and sticks with the confusing, overly ornate designs--Prime still looks like there’s trash clumped all over him, even when he’s not sporting his scrap-looking flight gear--making it hard to really appreciate this live-action version’s overall look. It’s often a challenge to immediately figure out action scenes, and the brief slow-mo sequences don’t really give clarity to the slugfests.
Megan Fox and her character are out and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays Sam’s (Shia LaBeouf ) new girlfriend Carly, introduced as someone with ties to the British embassy and the military. Like the previous movies’ attention to the romance angle, Sam and Carly’s cutesy relationship is defined amid thunderous conflicts and much running, the actors adequately sharing some onscreen chemistry. They’re a pretty normal, feelgood summer movie couple, threatened by a conspiracy dating back to the Space Race. This is the second time in mere weeks that the Kennedy administration’s been connected to fantastical epics, but we don’t care about this secret history tidbit as much as the one in “X-Men: First Class.”
John Malkovich and Frances McDormand appear as new characters; the former is wasted while the latter charms but is pretty forgettable. John Turturro is less annoying than in the previous parts. The human-Autobot interactions don’t really make us care for their bond but the Bumblebee-Sam friendship still moves, however fleetingly. And
Again, this is pretty bearable compared to the second film, but it has its laughable moments. One of them was Carly taunting Megatron into betraying a new ally, because she witnessed the Decepticon leader getting bitch-slapped by that newer character earlier. Megatron’s such a softie; he didn’t do or say anything to the girl, he just attacks the other robot. It would’ve been impressive had Megatron undermined her verbally, “lower” life form that she is, then scared her off with a warning shot, mockingly said “thank you,” and attacked the new robot anyway. But no, that didn’t happen.
And Optimus Prime can get really corny, as exemplified by his declaration to an enemy: “You didn’t betray me. You betrayed yourself.”