The bots are back in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the main question everyone is wondering is simply this “Will it be better than the first?” With most of the original cast returning, stars Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox are again brought into the middle of a war between the heroic Autobots and the nefarious Decepticons, but this time an ancient and forgotten enemy is lying in wait for his time to destroy their very battlefield: our world. Also returning is veteran voice actor Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. The movie is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, language, drug use and sexual references.

Now on to the plot. After an introduction explaining the Transformers and their past on Earth, we shift into an invigorating chase through Shanghai. Based two years after the first movie we’re introduced to NEST: a human/Autobot task force created to find and destroy all remaining Decepticon forces left on Earth. It’s not too common that we get to see the Autobot and government actually working together however, it’s made very clear that not all of the government wants the Autobots there. This is brought up again later when the remains of a fallen friend is basically thrown on the ground by a military helicopter, and core NEST members look on in horror.

Immediately, perhaps too quickly, we are re-introduced to Sam (Labeouf) as he’s getting ready to leave for college. This, of course, is where a lot of the movie’s humor is found as Sam’s parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) adjust to the thought of their son growing up. Throughout this we are taken from plot points (Sam leaving for college, Bumblebee hanging around, a shard of the Allspark being found) to humorous, yet at times idiotic jokes (You can only show dogs humping so much before it’s enough). Meanwhile a defeated villain returns in a brutal resurrection scene and retreats to Cybertronian where we are introduced to his master in a very Darth Vader/Emperor type scene. This helped provided some good dialogue between characters and showed how their kind are dealing without the Allspark. Nearing the end we have an easy ten to twenty minutes of a “get from point a to point b” scene that ends very anti-climatically to me. Some battles go on and on, not that but the final battle feels very rushed and is over within a good minute of the characters flying after each other.

One thing this movie, and its predecessor, did right were the bots. The CGI is fantastic and seeing how each of the Transformers transform is always a delight. Unlike the last movie there is so much actual combat and it’s good to see these huge hulking beasts of metal moving like it’s natural to them instead of the last where they’d only run and shoot. This time we certainly get more hand to hand combat. To note of this is a forest battle between one Autobot and three Decepticons.

Another thing that I have to mention is the sometimes random use of humor. One of my biggest complaints with the last film was how it would so easily go from a scene of pure action to a setting with forced/random jokes.While I did like some of the jokes they used, for the most part it felt like they shoved stuff in just for a few cheap laughs. There will be character dialogue, then the camera pans to two dogs humping. Or how about a character ripping off his pants to show a thong he’s wearing. What’s that? A robot’s humping her leg? Cute… Not to mention the extremely stupid example that even robots have testicles. I wish I was kidding.

Overall, I loved the movie. I’ve been a long time Transformers fan so hearing Peter Cullen utter “Autobots, I’m in pursuit” on a huge movie screen was as close to feeling like a child again as I’ll get. Most critics are bashing this left and right but at the time of writing this the movie has made over $600 million within two weeks. Don’t get me wrong. This movie does have its flaws and is far from perfect but it seems this is certainly a movie that you need to see for yourself instead of basing an opinion entirely on film reviews. Parents may also want to see the two and a half hour movie before they bring the kids since it does take advantage of that PG-13 rating quite a bit. However my younger sister and mom, both not at all interested in Transformers before the 2007 movie, both loved it and had no complaints and I’ve found that upon future viewings I only enjoy the movie even more.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5