Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Fallen Review: The Bayhem Strikes Back
Expecting subtlety, nuance, pathos or intelligence from a Michael Bay movie is like heading to a nunnery with a pack of Trojans.
Not only is it ludicrous, it’s fool-hardy and will more than likely leave you beaten to a bloody smoosh by the angry loyalists.
So the success of 2007’s fanboy-sating Transformers came as a refreshing surprise. Couple the world’s most shallow director with a source material as cerebral as a disco-ball toaster and you come out with something brainlessly entertaining.
But, really, we should’ve known there and then we were only adding fuel to an already napalm triggered, nuclear-charged fire.
As a result of fanning those egotistical flames, Transformers 2 is longer, bigger, louder and explosion-ier. Yet due to this untamed and unrestrained direction, it isn’t actually better.
Set two years after the end of the original, the robots in disguise (if you didn’t sing that in your head, you’re dead inside) are working with the humans to find the few remaining Decepticons hidden around the globe. Sam Witwicky (a dependable if not exactly stretched Shia Lebouf) is heading off to college and striding out on his own, away from his parents, robot buddies and jaw-slackingly hot girlfriend Mikaela (a game, perpetually cleavage/ass-flashing Megan Fox).
Which is, of course, the moment his world falls apart around him and he’s forced to work with the Transformers against a seemingly unstoppable gaggle of Decepticons (it is a gaggle, right?) keen to use a magical maguffin to resurrect their Lord Sith-alike dark master, destroy mankind and subsequently blow up the world using the untapped power of the pyramids.
As you do.
For the first half of the movie at least, Bay has crafted an entertaining popcorn flick that sparks and fizzles with the energy of the day-glo rainbow-bright cartoons it’s inspired by. The fight scenes are kinetic, Witwicky’s bonkers mother provides the comedy relief and Megan Fox services the role (and 90% of the audience) with a less socially acceptable kind of relief.
Yet that halfway point – climaxing with a visceral and brutal forest knockdown that’ll leave you breathless and, if you’re a geek, needing new underwear – is as great as it gets. In most films, this wouldn’t be a problem. But ‘halfway through’ Transformers 2 means you still have 80 minutes left to run.
I’ve seen movies shot quicker.
The now standard ‘Bayhem’ is only entertaining for so long and while the film certainly knows what it is and doesn’t wish to be anything more than its premise (giant robots smacking the crap out of each other), it all gets a little, well, tiring.
With his excesses unleashed, the relentless explosions, juvenile comedy, Army porn visuals, whiplash inducing camerawork and gaggle of Transformers (42, count em!) all combine to leave you feeling like you’d quite like them to pause mid-battle for a spot of hopskotch. Or a pint. Or a good old fashioned natter.
Anything other than yet another bloody explosion.
At the end of the day, despite it’s plot inconsistencies and overly long running time, it’s a better summer blockbuster than the frown-heavy, po-faced Terminator: Salvation and you certainly walk in knowing what to expect.
In fact, I think I’ll leave the conclusion to the words of one Miss Megan Fox, who is able to encapsulate everything I want to say in far more eloquent, poetic and, I’d even go so far as to say Shakespearean, terms.
“We’re not trying. We’re not pretending it’s a story-driven film. Everybody just shut the f*ck up and go have fun. It’s not meant to change your life. If you don’t want to see it, then don’t f*cking go and pay for it.”
For more Fox-y words of wisdom, check our our footage from the Transformers 2 Press Conference, which – rather hilariously – allowed us to catch Megan Fox call Michael Bay a douche to his face. Watch his face. Kodak. Moment.