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- In spite of the numerous historical inaccuracies, and the overly obvious CGI, the opening is quite intense. It lacks the narration of the previous films, instead showing a space ship passing the camera Star Wars style. The ship then flies down to Earth and a valley full of dinosaurs- which it then blows the shit out of for no apparent reason. We see the dinosaurs try to run from an advancing wave of liquid metal, only to be cut down mid-stride.
- A subtle one for Darcy- she walks into the excavation site (which seems to be outside national law, governing things like, say, murder) defying its rules, and blatantly dares the security man to shoot her.
- While Nightmare Fuel and a Tear Jerker, Ratchet's death scene contains several CMOA's:
- Cemetary Wind deploys against the presumed alien threat with far greater precision than NEST ever did
- This is one of the only times- and the last time- Ratchet transforms onscreen
- Lockdown's introduction is reminiscent of the introduction of a monster in a horror film. First we get a glimpse of his masked head rising out of the water, watching the humans. It's not immediately obvious why he's there. Blink-and-you'll-miss-it, his face can be seen when the mask slides up and the scope appears. Then, when Ratchet is cornered by the humans, Lockdown rises out of the water and turns his face into a gun.◊. Then once Ratchet is down, Lockdown stalks towards him slowly and purposefully.
He's mine now
And that's when you realize that it's not just a coincidence he's there, he and Cemetary Wind are allies.
- Ratchet gets a dying Moment Of Amesome, Defiant to the End even though he knows who Lockdown is and what he's willing to do
- A few for Cade:
- Overnight, he takes apart a truck and deduces that it is in fact, not a truck. He does it all by hand (no robot arms like in a factory, or KSI labs). And some parts are made of super-dense Transformium, likely weighing hundreds of pounds.
- When he realizes what the truck is, he doesn't panic. He instead decides to hide the transformer so he can reverse engineer it. Balls of freaking Transformium on that one.
- He talks Optimus down from the proverbial ledge after the Autobot leader awakens.
- And then he fixes the alien robot. In one afternoon.
- Lockdown and Attinger both take a couple levels in badass just by talking.Attinger: On this planet we have a saying: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Lockdown: I also have a saying: I don't care.
- Cemetery Wind has Tessa with a gun to her head. Cade already gave up Optimus, but they didn't believe him. He doesn't stop struggling, demanding they get away from his daughter. Ultimately, this devotion is what snaps Optimus out of his Heroic BSoD. He bursts up through the barn floor, knocking away the CW soldiers, and roars at them.Here I am! Raaahr!
- In the midst of everything exploding, Cade has the presence of mind to grab one of CW's drones. Which later proves pretty integral to the plot.
- Equally impressive, Optimus causes a ton of chaos and destruction, but doesn't kill anyone.
- Shane may be The Scrappy, but he still does some awesome shit. His establishing character moment comes when he punches a soldier in the face with his car.
- The car chase that follows is too full of awesome to be described. Highlights include: Shane driving through a building; Optimus fighting Lockdown on the factory roof in the background, which culminates in him impaling the bounty hunter with a crane hook and tossing him over the side; and Shane driving off the third (?) floor of the factory onto a ramp.
- The "Autobots Reunite" scene.
- Steve Jablonsky's score sounds simply epic, the heavy drums giving it a more tribal feel than the usual "Arrival To Earth".
- Optimus sends out a call to all the surviving Autobots- the time has come. He scans a new form, more heavy duty and sleek than ever before. As the Autobot symbol appears on his grill, the G1 transformation noise (unheard since the first film) plays.
- Both Shane and Hound lampshade how awesome the scene is.Hound: Oh yeah! Hell yeah! He's back! He's alive! (fires gun into the air) OPTIMUS IS HERE!
- The entire scene is set in a beautiful landscape of desert and plateaus that wouldn't look out of place in Transformers: Prime
- We also get to see that Drift is a triple changer, and he changes from both robot to helicopter and reverse! The movies work pretty hard to make sure that vehicle and robot modes are congruent with each other, so it's pretty amazing to think of how much planning went into Drift's transformation scheme and design, especially considering that they had to take his samurai motif into account.Drift: At last. There is hope, after all.
- Optimus' transformation in that scene is something else entirely. It's not the cold anger in his confrontation with Charlotte Mearing. It isn't the confidence and battle-readiness from when he arrived in Mission City. You can sense the grief and anger burning inside his soul, the fires of war reignited. While that may involve a bit of Fridge Horror, given that it's directed at humans, one can't help but clench up from the sheer amazing over-the-top wowness of it. Roll out!, indeed.
- Soon after, Optimus makes a declaration that many fans would cheer for:Optimus: Autobots, I have sworn never to kill humans...
Hound: Big mistake.
Optimus: But when I find out who's behind this, he's going to die.
- Joshua Joyce managed to decode the Cybertronian equivalent of DNA in less than 5 years. The Human Genome Project, by comparison, took 13 years. And we still aren't capable of altering our DNA however we like. Joshua can program Transformium for at least three solid forms (cue ball, Beats Pill, and a handgun) as well as a primitive AI controlling an abstract shifting form that floats in midair between his hands.
- Megatron survived having his head and spine ripped out. 'Nuff said.
- When Cade infiltrates KSI, he sends the Autobots images of Ratchet's head being melted. It's enough to send Optimus into an Unstoppable Rage, and he and the other Autobots smash through the front of KSI headquarters. We get to see little moments like Crosshairs hopping in, landing on Hound, then hopping off to start an ascent up some stairs.
- Then Drift in helicopter mode lifts a re-formatted Bumblebee up to a conference room where Cade is imprisoned. Bee kicks out the windows and sends Attinger running.
- Meanwhile, Optimus leads Hound and Crosshairs to the basement laboratory. They shoot up the place and vandalize as many projects as possible, and free Brains.
- Optimus orders the gang to destroy the entire lab. Crosshairs slides into the room, fires wildly into the air, and Hound roars, "Science fair's over, meatbags!"
- Joshua gets props for walking in with Tranquil Fury and demanding they stop damaging company property. Of course, Optimus' fury is even greater, and he shuts the exec down hard.Optimus: They are not your property. They were my friends.
- Hound loads his gun and points directly at Joshua, who barely flinches. Brains finally gets his revenge, and quips that now he can finally talk back to him without fear of torture.
- After a bit of redundant back-and-forth, Joshua finally strikes a nerve:Joyce: The world will approve. We can make you now. Don't you get it? We don't need you, anymore.
- A human in a business suit makes an angry Optimus Prime walk away. BAMF.
- The escape from KSI, which has the Autobots racing away down the freeway with Galvatron and Stinger in pursuit. It culminates in a brutal brawl between Optimus and Galvatron. Which includes the final piece to assure us this Galvatron is not just another mindless drone, but in fact the reincarnated Megatron we were all hoping for: he speaks.
- Optimus still beats down Galvatron hard. He would have destroyed the technological terror if not for timely intervention- from Lockdown. A missile pierces Optimus' chest, knocking him backwards. Lockdown steps from the dust cloud his ship is kicking up, and only then extends his BFG out of his face. One shot later, Optimus is down for the count and mostly paralyzed. Cade and Shane can only watch helplessly.
- And then Lockdown starts talking...Lockdown: I feel sorry for you Prime. Your allegiance to these... humans. The trouble with loyalty to a cause- is that the cause will always betray you.
Optimus: Who sent you here?
Lockdown: Where do you think you came from? (scoffs) You think you were born? Ha! No. You were built. And your Creators want you back.
- As he takes Optimus onto the Knights' Terminus, Lockdown casually remarks that he captured the rest of Optimus' fellow knights already. Said "knights" being the Dinobots, who are at least three times taller than Optimus, likely three times as strong, and not exactly as stupid as their 80's ancestors. He captured all of them.
- Cade and Shane infiltrate an alien space ship to rescue Tessa. Knowing that it's populated with killer alien robots and filled with probably lethal traps.
- While on the ship, Cade grabs an alien weapon. It looks like a sword, but shoots like a laser gun. He uses it to murder about a dozen of Lockdown's mercenaries, and keeps it for the rest of the film.Cade: Oh, I am so gonna patent this thing!
- While on the ship, Cade grabs an alien weapon. It looks like a sword, but shoots like a laser gun. He uses it to murder about a dozen of Lockdown's mercenaries, and keeps it for the rest of the film.
- In order to get away from the ship, Crosshairs highjacks one of Lockdown's fighters. He picks up the humans and Bumblebee, then leads the other fighters on a sky-chase across the city of Chicago.
- Bumblebee uses a tow cable to latch onto a ship in the Chicago river and pull it into the path of a pursuing fighter. Without looking back.
- Crosshairs then gets tired of how slow Bee is at picking off their enemies. He forces the younger bot to take over the flight controls, gives Cade and the humans a crash course in firing alien weaponry (Punch, Slide, Repeat! Punch, Slide, Repeat!), then jumps off the fighter. It's currently flying, oh, thirty floors up? Ten or fifteen at least by Cybertronian standards. Crosshairs jumps off, front-flips, deploys triple parachutes, duel-wields machine guns, and shoots down all the pursuing fighters! In beautiful slow motion, so we can see his Blood Knight smirk.Cade: Where are you going?
Crosshairs: To lay some hate.
- Props to Joshua Joyce for recognizing something was wrong with Galvatron, and hesitating to go forward, wanting to put safety first. Not every company would do that. In fact, most in fiction wouldn't. He technically started his HeelFace Turn before Cade ever talked to him.
- Optimus' declaration that the Autobots will no longer help humanity after retrieving the Seed can be seen as this- particularly if fans are fed up with all the bullshit the humans have put them through.
- Galvatron's awakening. He breathes, then sits up, breaking the chains holding him to a truck bed. Once up, he takes control of the other KSI drones- all of them. He declares himself his own bot (I- am- Galvatron!) and orders the drones to detonate the Seed in the largest nearby city.
- When evacuating the building, Joyce gives a pretty clear middle finger to Attinger by leaving him behind.
- Joshua's security chief Su Yueming has quite a few moments while fleeing from Attinger and Savoy. She drives them around in Joyce's car for a while, then commandeered a motorcycle and led trained CIA killers on a chase through crowded Hong Kong alleyways. She then engages a couple of them in hand-to-hand combat so Joshua can make it to the roof.
- When Su seems to be at a disadvantage, the random Chinese guy Joyce was ranting to in the elevator busts out some Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs on her assailant and knocks him out in a second.
- While Tessa, Shane, and Joshua flee with the Seed, Cade fights Savoy on the roof, down the side of the building, and into an apartment. He then shoves the CIA killer out the window while Attinger watches.
- His parkour moves are very impressive, especially considering he's being shot at the whole time.
- When Joshua points out that his prototypes were built to destroy remaining Autobots and Decepticons, Optimus decides they need reinforcements.
- Arrival To Earth starts playing as Optimus walks towards the downed prison ship.
- Optimus pulls a sword from Lockdown's armory in a scene that reminds probably everyone of the Sword in the Stone legend. It's also quite evident that Optimus gets an upgrade when he pulls out the sword.
- When Optimus uses the sword to slash through the prisoners restraints, he speaks Cybertronian for the first time. And it sounds awesome!
- Optimus leads the Dinobots out of the ship, then proclaims that they either fight with him... or against him. Needing to be sure of his potential ally, Grimlock attacks. And promptly gets his metal-plated ass handed to him.
- Specifically, Optimus dodges his duel mace weapons, climbs the titan's shoulder, and punches him in the face. Grimlock turns into Tyrannosaur mode, roars fire, and Optimus simply waves at him like, "come at me, bro". Grimlock charges, and Optimus uses the Dinobot's own momentum to send him flying snout over tail into the ground. He puts a sword to Grimlock's eye and proclaims, "You defend my family. Or die."
- And finally, the moment fans waited the whole movie to see, after it was advertised in just about every trailer: Optimus mounts Grimlock and rides him into battle!◊ A giant robot plated up as a medieval knight, using a gun-sword at least the length of his own body, riding a fire-breathing dinosaur. The $210 million budget was worth it for that one scene.
- Optimus Prime proclaims the Autobots' unity while riding Grimlock, then shouts those two iconic words to send chills down the theatre's collective spine: "Roll out!"
- Meanwhile, Hound, Bumblebee, Cade, and Joshua have been holding off an army of 50 super-advanced robots made to kill Transformers.
- Hound gets the majority of the kills. Even as he slowly runs out of ammo, weapons, and ideas. And his armor is chipped away piece by piece. Many thought he would die, simply because of how awesome he was and how much damage he was taking.
- Some of Hound's KO's deserve special mention:
- He kills one vehicon just by chucking his helmet into the poor bastard's face.
- Another one pins him to the ground, only for Hound to flip over the bullet he's been chewing like a cigar the entire movie and fire it off with his mouth, obliterating the vehicon's head.
- Optimus, Drift, and Crosshairs ride the Dinobots into Hong Kong as The Calvary. Within seconds, 75% of the remaining drones are turned into scrap metal. Some of it flaming.
Bumblebee: I hate cheap knockoffs.
- During the charge, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Optimus using his rocket boots to propel himself off Grimlock and onto a roof so he can kill the drones there.
- Strafe picks Bumblebee up off the street- and Bee's evil clone Stinger tags along. The aerial brawl on Strafe's back that follows is a beautiful masterpiece of CG animation putting everything from the past films, and even earlier in this one, to shame. It ends with Bumblebee shooting off Stinger's head and feeding it to Strafe.
- Just when they thought they were safe, Galvatron and his drones were defeated, Lockdown arrives. He tracks the Seed even as they're attempting to flee with it, and uses a magnetic device in the bottom of his ship to try to pull it back- along with Optimus and the Dinobots. That's right, the magnet even picks up Transformers. Thankfully, Optimus is able to steady himself against the pull and shoot the magnet.
- Shane is the one driving while they avoid the magnet. His Crazy Awesome methods (i.e., driving backwards down crowded streets while it rains everything metal, from silverware to ferry boats) allow them to stay ahead of it for quite a while.
The Final Battle
- With his ship damaged, Lockdown temporarily retreats. Rather than escort the Seed himself, Optimus trusts his Autobots and instead takes care of more personal matters by going after Lockdown. The two fight, whaling on one another more savagely than even Optimus vs Sentinel in the last film.
- Cade orders Tessa to stay with Bumblebee, and Shane to stick with and protect Tessa. Then he charges off to help Optimus fight Lockdown. Attinger sees Cade and follows, pulling a gun. He even delivers a pretty epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Cade:You see it takes patience to make a man. The patience to watch, and wait. To protect all of us, quietly, for God and country, without any recognition at all!
There are no "good aliens", or "bad aliens", Yeager. It's just us and them. And you chose them.
- Lockdown is a Combat Pragmatist. While Optimus is distracted, he jumps and slams the Prime hard enough to send him flying into a pillar. He kicks Optimus in the face, then stabs him through the chest with his own sword.
- Cade pulling off a Big Damn Heroes moment right after, when he's a tenth Lockdown's size.
- And then holding his own against the alien merc for several minutes.
- Tessa refuses to leave her father behind, nor Bumblebee Optimus. Shane agrees, and the three of them manage to turn the tide of the fight.
- Bee, while not anywhere in Lockdown's league, aids as a distraction to keep him from killing either Optimus or the much softer Cade.
- Shane hotwires a tow truck (he's the driver, as if they'd let us forget).
- Tessa manages to hook the truck up to Optimus' sword, displaying impressive agility.
- The whole scene is also reminiscent of Bumblebee and Mikaela at the end of the first movie.
- Cade fights both a trained CIA operative and a giant alien robot in hand to hand combat
- Lockdown has Cade pinned. He's taken the human's weapon. Bee is out of it. The music has dropped. The merc delivers a very Badass Boast ( You see my face, your life is done! ). That's when Shane stomps on the gas, yanking the sword from Optimus, who grabs it in midair and jumps, impaling Lockdown from behind so the evil robot coughs up energon in slow motion (Impaled with Extreme Prejudice just doesn't do it justice), then he slices upwards, bisecting his opponents head. Such a beautiful fatality.Optimus: Honor to the end.
- Before he departs with the Seed, Optimus tells Cade to look to the stars, and think of one of them... as his soul. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
- Optimus' closing narration: "There are mysteries to the universe we were never meant to solve. But who we are, and why we are here, are not among them. Those answers we carry inside. I am Optimus Prime, and this message is to my Creators. Leave planet Earth alone. 'Cause I'm coming...for you."
- All of the Autobots' final designs are based on warriors from different time periods.
- Optimus is a medieval knight, obviously.
- Drift is a samurai (they smacked you in the face with that one).
- Crosshairs is a modern mercenary, special-ops type. His trench coat automatically makes him about 20% cooler.
- Bumblebee is a ninja.
- And built-of-awesome Hound is a WW2 commando.
- Optimus never loses a one-on-one fight in this film. Every time he's beaten, it's by someone taking advantage of a momentary distraction, and that someone is Lockdown. On the highway with Galvatron, at the factory with Cade. Presumably offscreen in Mexico.
- The fact that Frank Welker voices Galvatron. He speaks only a half dozen intelligible lines, and every word drips with menace. Here's hoping they keep the voice, if not the design, for the sequel.
- The marketing campaign was brilliant, emphasizing the humans' fear of Cybertronians in general. Several propaganda posters and teasers bore disturbing similarities to real-world phenomena...
- And then there's the, "The Rules Have Changed" tagline. And Optimus' oft-repeated line in the trailers: "This is not war. It's human extinction." Brrr.
- While it's criticized for its influence on the story, the decision to play to the Chinese market may have saved the franchise. The film did about three times better over there than in the USA.