Michael Bay has once again outdone himself and somehow made a movie that’s bigger, louder, longer, stupider and even more offensive than his godforsaken 2007 Transformers. I can’t imagine a more dispiriting, dehumanizing cinematic experience than this relentless fusillade of aggressive, incoherent images, macho posturing and schoolyard-bully humor. But then again, I tend to say the same thing every time I see a Michael Bay picture.
I won’t bore you by attempting a plot synopsis, as the characters’ objectives and requirements of the story change from scene to scene.
Folks stand around shouting pages and pages of exposition at one another while Bay’s camera swirls vertiginously and cuts to disjunctive angles all over the place. Everyone’s attempting to explain at great length how some robots can come back from the dead, others may magically teleport and one is even able to transform not into an automobile—but into a slutty college chick.
I’m fascinated by how close Bay’s id is to the surface in the appalling films he directs, and what a deeply unpleasant and angry man he seems to be. There is no sense of joy or whimsy in these Transformers movies—distressing because they are intended for children—nothing but pulverizing fetishization of ’roid-raged, militaristic, white alpha-male privilege.
All the women are spray-tanned skanks dressed like strippers, straddling props with their mouths hanging open suggestively, and every minority is a grotesque, ineffectual cartoon. It’s the kind of movie in which an early set-piece is devoted to sumptuously savoring the destruction of a library.
Perhaps you’ve already heard rumblings in the press about two new characters that a colleague brilliantly called “Amos N’ Android”—comic-relief robots modeled on monkeys who speak ghetto jive-talk, throw gang-signs and flash gold teeth. Oh, it gets better—because Bay’s big punch line is that they can’t read!
Even better is when President Obama gets dragged into the action. He’s ridiculed by name for attempting to engage in diplomacy with these gigantic killer robots. Luckily, our heroes know better—so when a bespectacled, articulate representative of the new administration attempts to argue for some transparency and accountability, the good guys promptly throw him out of a plane and go save the world with their unilateral invasion of a Middle Eastern country. (I wish I were making this up.)
There’s also a robot with enormous wrecking balls dangling from his crotch, serving as literally destructive testicles.
And as of last weekend, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had already earned $201 million at the box office. You asked for this, America. F