The good points:
• More robots. No complaints about a lack of giant alien transforming robots in a movie about giant alien transforming robots, this time.
• The comedy was much better (and less forced) than the first movie, with almost no 'wacky' racial stereotypes. Sam's parents and Simmons had some genuinely funny moments, to my surprise.
• Jetfire. Best character in the entire film.
• Megatron and Starscream's abusive master/slimy servant double-act.
The bad points:
• Way, way, waaaaay
too long, with whole sections that just plodded. Nothing as blatantly time-wasting as the hacker subplot from the first movie, but they could easily have dumped the 'asshole National Security Advisor' stuff.
• Even at this ridiculous length, it still felt disjointed, as though they'd chopped out various bridging scenes and replaced them with...
• EXPOSITION. Jetfire may have been by far the most entertaining character, but he still got lumbered with the colossal monologues explaining the backstory. Memo to Michael Bay: spinning the camera round and round while a character is delivering a lecture is not a substitute for writing that exposition in a more interesting manner. God damn
, Orci and Kurtzman are hacks.
• The Autobots are actually less
developed than in the first movie. Optimus delivers a couple of blandly noble speeches, Bumblebee mopes like a child then shoots stuff, Ironhide and Ratchet get maybe ten lines between them. The others barely register, apart from Master Shake and Meatwad - er, the Twins.
• Other than Megatron, Starscream and Wheelie, the Decepticons are pretty much nameless cannon fodder. At least the bad guys in the first movie introduced themselves - and got to show off their cool transformations before being killed. This lot just growled and then were randomly shot by the US military.
• Nobody involved in the movie seemed to be aware that Egypt and Jordan are two completely different countries that don't even share a border (they're separated by, y'know, Israel
) and that the Pyramids and Petra are over 250 miles apart.
• Again, it's a movie that I suspect will be easier to follow on DVD - the action in the robot battle scenes is just too close in to follow on a big screen. All I saw in the forest battle was: blur, blur, blur - hey, some blue, that must be Optimus! - blur, blur, I think that was Starscream, blur, blur, something blue hit something dark grey, so I guess Optimus hit Megatron, blur, blur - woo, not-Blackout just got fucked up!
Somehow - blur, blur... oh, crap!
• The Fallen was a rather boring villain, just another growly Evil Overlord - and if he'd been chilling on his base on one of Saturn's moons for all this time, why were the Decepticons in the first film so bothered about finding and kowtowing to Megatron?
• Nitpicking: the Predator that we see taking off is a real one with a pusher propeller, but the one that arrives at the battle a few minutes later is the same fictional one from the first movie (probably the exact same shot, cheapasses
) with a jet engine.
• There were no smarts involved in taking out any of the bad guys, no tricking them into making mistakes, no playing on their personality flaws. Just shooting them with increasingly bigger guns.
• And the biggie... at least in the first movie, one Autobot and a couple of soldiers we vaguely knew died amongst all the mayhem. This time? Even bigger
The first movie had many, many faults, but I think I preferred it to this because it (scarily) felt more coherent and didn't fall back on ALIEN MAGIC™ to get the main characters out of terminal scrapes.