Plot: A reasonably plausible series of events (considering the arrival of Extra-Terrestrial Non-Biological Beings) occur. Sure, there are some robots (I’m looking at you Frenzy) and some characters (Hackers?) and some events (nerd recluse with grandma, didn’t that ALSO happen in Live Free or Die Hard?) that didn’t particularly thrill me, but nothing that made me so angry as to get annoyed enough to taint the experience. Overall: MEH
Characters: Shia Lebeouf and Megan Fox are quite good as the teen protagonists that begin a romantic ride courtesy of a friendly yellow car. Shia is spot on as Sam, the goofy 16 year old nerd many of us once were (or still are), both likable and awkward, a guy that we really want to get the hot girl that he could, in reality, never obtain. Megan Fox is hot, and she does manage to deliver the necessary acting chops during the moments that require acting. I shudder to say it, but George Lucas could take notes from Michael Bay on creating a likable and believable romance in the course of one action-filled movie. Now, John Voight as the Secretary of Defense and John Tuturro as Agent Simmons of Section 7 are great in the roles they are given. Everyone else is utterly forgettable (the soldiers) or nearly pointless (Hackers) or used for a cheap laugh (Bernie Mac). Overall, a HIT for the protagonists and a MISS for the sizable and bland large cast.
Humor: Surprisingly, this movie is pretty funny. Laugh out loud funny. Shia has great timing and the awkward teenage moments and bumbling autobots, rather than ruin the mood or integrity of the franchise flow rather nicely. Reading early reports made me very nervous about this aspect, but I was very impressed. HIT.
Robots: Now, onto what everyone wants. Holy shit they are awesome! They look great and their fights sizzle with both speed and kinetics while their transformations are mesmorizing as you try to take in each intricate movement from vehicle to robot. That being said, robot on robot is by far cooler than humans vs. robot, we’ve all seen Terminator. Now, as far as being characters, only Optimus Prime and Bumblebee get any ‘development’, but this is Transformers, do you really need much character growth from the robots? Bonus points if you can guess which robot is totally owned based on simple movie expediency and cinema tradition. CRITICAL HIT!!!!
Overall: +40; A thoroughly enjoyable movie that gives fans and n00bs plenty to salivate over. If it actually did more to flesh out the story and characters (while eliminating the extra garbage) it could easily have been higher, but this is Michael Bay at his pinnacle…
Edit from Bartoneus: That +40 score translates to 3 enthusiastic stars out of 5.