Clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, the movie probably could've been cut down by 20 minutes, if not more, with unnecessary scenes such as longer chase scenes involving Tucci and Li Bingbing, and not missed anything. It seems as if Bay was appealing to fans with a longer movie, but it's the wrong content on screen. Giving Galvatron, voiced by Frank Welker (a nod to Generation 1 fans) more screen time and more development, would've been a better choice than having Miller shown on screen incinerated by a grenade for a good 15, 20 seconds.
There were several plot holes, like why were the Dinobots on Lockdown's ship, and how come Optimus can all of a sudden fly, but with most Bay movies, the action makes up for plot holes, even if they are noticeable.
Even though there were several glaring negatives to the movie, Bay does show improvement as a director, and it's noticeable. The cinematography is much, much better than the first free. Bay finally allows scenes to be more than half a second, and there was a drastic cut down on the bathroom humor, though some of it still seemed out of place.
The CGI, as always is top notch, and there is no better director in Hollywood than Bay when it comes to filming action scenes. There were quite a few nice touches to G1 fans aside from Welker voicing Galvatron, including Galvatron's color scheme, Optimus Prime's old truck mode, a text message sound that's the old theme song, and the transformation sound, making it an enjoyable experience for fans, both young and old alike.
The movie certainly sets up a sequel, with Galvatron leaving Earth, and Optimus Prime going into the stars looking for his Creators (the Quintessons?), but the film could've done so much more before getting ahead of itself.
Alien robots, Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammar, cars and attractive women should be the greatest combiner of all time, nicknamed Moneytron. However, this one seems like it's stuck still trying to figure out how to put the pieces together.
Final Grade: 6.5/10
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--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York