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- The very first teaser can be summed up as one long CMOA.
- It begins with the Apollo 11 mission approaching the moon, accompanied by perhaps the most awe-inspiring music put to film. Despite a slight Special Effects Failure, the approach is incredible.
- Followed by either real footage from the late 60's or the most faithful recreation of said footage (or both), as Neil and Buzz exit the lander and take the first steps on the moon. You can't help but cheer.
- Then the trailer text makes you immediately stop and go what?A SECRET HIDDEN FOR 40 YEARS
- Then we see The Men in Black intercept the transmissions with static, giving the astronauts a new mission. And a good eye will spot the reflection on Neil's helmet... of something that is definitely not man-made.Government Mook: Neil, you are dark on the rock. Mission is a go.
- If you didn't spot it, no worries. The next shot is the two astronauts mounting a crater rim and walking up to what is unmistakably a crashed Cybertronian spaceship. Note, the music has mellowed out a lot, to the point of nonexistence.
- Inside the ship, the astronauts dig up a robot face, one that looks remarkably like the Autobot protoforms from the first movie.
- Then they continue to find several other robot corpses, most looking to have died in agony.You would not believe what we are seeing here.
- After the MIB, tell them to take some samples and get them home, cue the music. Heavy, dramatic, imposing. While credits for Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg flash up. And the camera zooms out from the ship. Plus this dialogue:Government Mook: We are not alone, are we?
Buzz Aldrin: No, sir. We are not alone.
- Then the camera zooms in on a secret vault in the ship. And inside the vault? A giant golden robot. Word of God stated that it was Shockwave, the film's Big Bad. The first part was later shown to be false. The second, on the other hand...
- The trailer ends with the camera zooming in on the robot's eye, which lights up and transforms into the film's title: Dark of the Moon.
- The Superbowl Spot was pretty cool, too.
- The very first shot shows Sam riding in a car through a Decepticon-occupied city, with dramatic drumbeats.
- The rest of the background music. It starts as distorted, echoing drumbeats with silence in between. The distortion gradually grows with every beat until it sounds like the stock ringing-in-your-ears-after-an-explosion sound.
- Meanwhile, we see soldiers leaping out of exploding planes; Ironhide crashing headfirst into a pair of Decepticons and then transforming; Bumblebee despairing on a battlefield; aliens (Decepticons most likely) blowing up Chicago; Laserbeak flying towards a car in a threatening way, and the humans surrounded by utter devastation. Oh, and one shot that lasts barely long enough for your mind to register, that shows ''something'' tearing up a street from underneath.
- Truly incredible is the sequence at the end showing Optimus Prime flying down and massacring the Decepticons, shooting them to pieces and slashing one in half.
- Then we got the full theatrical trailer.
- The opening pretty well recaps the first teaser, showing the Cybertronian ship crashing into the moon and Neil and Buzz exploring it. But with the bonus of an unknown female narrator declaring things like, "Our entire space race... was in response to an event" and, "If you breathe a word of what you see in here, you'll do time for treason." Heavy stuff.
- Optimus Prime: Everything humans knew of our planet we were told had been shared. You lied to us. You've made a grave mistake.
He sounds pissed.
- We knew the Decepticons would invade Chicago. What we didn't know was that there were hundreds of them, plus ships, hidden under the moon's surface. And that they'd all teleport directly into Washington DC!
- Simmons: Years from now, they're gonna ask; where were you, when they took over the planet?
So we've already lost?
- We get our first glimpse of Shockwave on Earth, climbing what looks like a shifting pile of debris. He looks positively demonic.
- Sam has a gun. Sam Witwicky has a gun.
- Optimus again: You may lose faith in us, but never in yourselves. From here, the fight will be your own.
They're abandoning us?!
- Immediately after, we see what was tearing up the street in the previous trailer: a giant metal worm creature like The Kraken on steroids, which can tunnel through a skyscraper and squeeze it in half until it topples over! Oh, and our human protagonists are in the said skyscraper.
The Rising Action
- The Chernobyl scene, everything while The Driller's on screen.
- It's entrance deserves special mention. The combination of heavy music and Nightmare Fuel makes the scene quite memorable.
- Then Optimus comes in and he's got his trailer! (Details below.)
- The very fact that Laserbeak- Soundwave's most iconic Mini-Con- is finally in these films.
- Optimus' transformation when confronting Charlotte Mearing. It is quick, violent, and one of the few times Optimus transforms almost entirely on-screen. Ironhide sums it up nicely:Ironhide: Prime, make something of yourself! (Thunk.) He's pissed.
- Similarly, Megatron's transformation in Africa. In the past two movies that Megatron transformed, the change was more or less him standing up because he was going between one alien death machine to another. But here, he is disguised as an Earth vehicle. This transformation also occurs primarily on-screen, showing exactly how the Decepticon leader is formed. It is a beautiful piece of animation.
- The scene in which Optimus uses the Matrix to resurrect Sentinel. Whatever comes later, that scene invokes so much awe and reverence.Optimus: We are here. You are home, Sentinel.
- Plus, it's the return of Leonard Nimoy to The Transformers franchise. And he once again voices the Big Bad of the movie.
- Jerry Wang became an Ensemble Dark Horse, and it's not hard to see why. He stares down Bruce Brazos, gives Sam all the info on the conspiracy, and pulls a pair of guns on Laserbeak. Sam may have balls, but Jerry defines Crazy Is Cool.
- Sam and Simmons are investigating the moon conspiracy. They connect the disappearances and deaths of dozens of astronauts, scientists, and white-collar business people; then Brains locates two Cosmonauts who may know more. They go to the Russian bar, buy their way inside, and ask straight out about the canceled moon missions. When the Russians pull guns on them, Simmons dares them to pull the trigger. Then Dutch reveals his Hidden Depths by beating up a couple of thugs and stealing their guns. Once Simmons talks him down, the Cosmonauts agree to share what they know- and what they know is that the Decepticons stole a crap-ton of Spacebridge pillars from the moon wreck. Sam makes an immediate deduction- the Decepticons only need one more thing to start their invasion. He calls Mearing to let her in on the loop:Mearing: But we have the spacebridge!
Sam: Mearing, you have five pillars. I just learned that they have hundreds, you're doing exactly what they wanted you to do!
Mearing: (Oh, Crap! face)
Sam: What do you need me to say to you? The Decepticons are coming for Sentinel Prime!
The Highway Battle
- The score here certainly qualifies as Awesome Music.
- The Dreads' entrance: Crankcase transforms, rips Simmons out of his car, then flips into the air and knocks over a highway sign. Then Hatchet and Crowbar drive up the signs like ramps and transform into forms that look animalistic and demonic in mid-air.
- Dino/Mirage uses cables to attach to Hatchet and skis across the road behind the Decepticon.
- The moment when Bumblebee avoids obstacles while transforming in mid-air, grabbing Sam in slow-mo, changes back into car mode...Sam's reaction doubled this as a different kind of crowning moment, too.
- Bumblebee and Sideswipe's "stealth force" modes look freaking cool.
Battle at the Autobot Base
- The Mexican Standoff between two Decepticon Mooks, Ironhide and Sideswipe...it ends just about as well as you'd expect for the mooks.Ironhide: "Class dismissed."
- Ironhide's arrival into that fight was a CMOA in itself. He comes tearing in at full-speed in truck mode, rams both Decepticons in a head-on collision which causes him to flip over them, transforms to robot mode in mid-air, and lands on his feet with both guns already drawn and cocked at the Decepticons' heads.
- Whereas the film had him & Sideswipe engaging the two remaining Dreads in a gunfight, the novel has five Dreads charging at the NEST base. Ironhide transforms, stands in their path, and becomes an Immovable Object, letting the 'Cons crash into him. Each of the Dreads is killed on impact, while Ironhide withstands the hits with little more than some scratches and being knocked back a bit. He then casually brushes Decepti-parts off of himself and quips, "They just don't make them like they used to."
- The novel adds a Dying Moment of Awesome for The Twins, despite them not even appearing in the movie. Skids dives in front of a shot fired by Sentinel Prime meant for Bumblebee, saving Bee's life at the cost of his own, causing Mudflap to fly into an Unstoppable Rage and charge Sentinel, dodging the traitor's shots, tackling him to the ground, and punching him as hard as possible. It does little harm to Sentinel. Sentinel blasts him in the mouth with his Cosmic Rust gun. However, Mudflap continues to attack him even as he is disintegrating from the inside out. After, Sentinel tells the fleeing Autobots that they honor his sacrifice by surviving and mentions that Mudflap died a death worthy of an Autobot.
- The entire scene of the Autobots returning.
- When the Autobots return for the final battle after having been thought destroyed with their ship, Optimus delivers what may be the single most badass line in the entire franchise:Optimus: We will kill them all.
- It's the way he says it more than anything.
- "Your leaders will now understand: Decepticons will never leave your planet alone. And we needed them to think we had gone. For today, in the name of freedom, we take the battle to them." Cue an epic Gondor Calls for Aid/Lock and Load montage of almost every Autobot transforming and gearing up for battle, while an epic rendition of 'Arrival To Earth' blares.
- Prime's return itself is awesome: we start with Sam and his team arguing, after most of them were demoralized from the sight of Chicago, then a Decepticon fighter attacks them, nearly Kills them, and then in just two shots, it's down, que Prime walking up, saying the line above.
- This is followed shortly afterward by The Wreckers driving up out of the smoke and literally tearing the Decepticon pilot limb from limb! It’s as gruesome as it is awesome.
- When the Autobots return for the final battle after having been thought destroyed with their ship, Optimus delivers what may be the single most badass line in the entire franchise:
- Sam's first attempt at rescuing Carly. He enters the enemy stronghold armed with nothing but a handgun and confronts Dylan.Sam: "WHERE IS SHE?!"
- Dylan gets a small one right after. He has a gun in his face, aimed by someone who is pissed off enough to use it. How does he respond? "You got some balls." Said in the most deadpan voice possible.
- The humans break through the Decepticon defenses and manage to sneak into the city. Their wingsuits prove that Badasses can look like flying squirrels and have nuts of steel.
- On that note, the Osprey crews are certified BAMFs. Their planes are going down; they know they are going to die. Their response?Pilot: Get them out!Loadmaster: Go! Go! Go!
- On that note, the Osprey crews are certified BAMFs. Their planes are going down; they know they are going to die. Their response?
- Optimus kills the Driller. He flies in; the first time we see him fly in this film, he goes More Dakka on the giant metal worm. That doesn't seem to work, so he gains altitude, shoots a hole through the building, and plows through the worm with his own body!
- And the music in this scene is the same epic tune that played when Optimus arrived in Mission City in the first movie!
- After spending an entire film as the Butt-Monkey, Starscream's back to being dangerous in DotM. He drops down from low orbit to shoot down the Autobots' spaceship and later leaps off a building and shreds the Ospreys transporting Lennox's team with his buzzsaw hand. It also serves as a Call-Back to his F-22 Stepping Stones in the Sky moment in the first film.
- Sam has spent most of the three movies being utterly useless against the Decepticons who attack him. But when Starscream corners him after having their hopes of an easy victory dashed, he doesn't back down. Instead, he kills him. Sam Witwicky. Kills. Freaking. Starscream!!!.
- To elaborate further: Sam uses a Batman-certified grapple glove to latch onto Starscream's optic, then gets hoisted into the air and tossed into walls before finally getting his bearings and jamming an explosive device into his other eye, which then detonates and takes off half of Starscream's head before finally backfiring and destroying the Decepticon's spark.
- An even more awesome moment in the novel because Starscream ruthlessly kills Mirage right before so when Sam stabs him in the eye, he screams "That's for Mirage you son of a bitch!"
- The fact that Wheelie and Brains, the comic relief, actually manage to save the other Autobots, after a whole movie of being treated as pests.
- Wheelie and Brains, the two smallest Autobots in the film, manage to hotwire an entire Decepticon cruiser.
- Ratchet putting up a hell of a fight as he's forced to the ground and still snarling at the Decepticons to frag off when he's on his knees.
- Bumblebee killing Soundwave. He overpowers Soundwave and his Mooks, then jams his arm cannon into Soundwave's chest and blows his head off through his chest! Made even better due to the fact Bumblebee is shown before this mourning the death of Wheeljack at Soundwaves hands and now has avenged his fallen friend.
- Colonel Lennox and a strike team of about twenty or so humans, working together without any vehicle or Autobot support, take down Shockwave (though it takes the Autobots and Optimus to defeat him), Barricade, and four other Decepticons on foot, using nothing but accurate sniper fire, parachutes, and sheer balls.
- Optimus' Curb-Stomp Battle against Shockwave certainly qualifies.
- It begins with Optimus flying down to street level and taking out several Decepticons in various ways while a variation of Mind Heist plays. This scene can be found here.
- It continues with Optimus ripping Shockwave's guts out then pulling his eyeball out by the wires connecting it to his brain ."YOU DIE!"
- And finally, Optimus uses Shockwave's gun to shoot the Space Bridge Control Pillar before challenging his former mentor to a duel to the death.Optimus: Get down here, Sentinel!
- The united Autobots and humans race down the streets of Chicago into battle, followed by the Autobots fighting Sentinel as a unit with NEST.
- Optimus Prime VS Sentinel Prime. Prime VS Prime smackdown. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it.
- Sentinel duels Optimus while being shot at by NEST soldiers and while smacking away the other 7 Autobots whenever they try to interfere. In short, he fights all the good guys at once by himself and holds his own. It ends with a CMOA for some random unnamed NEST soldier, who pegs Sentinel with a rocket* just as he finally pulls out the dreaded rust gun he used to kill Ironhide, causing Sentinel to lose his gun and for him to fall back. Optimus pursues, however, and the Awesome goes back to Sentinel, who, one on one, beats Optimus in a duel and would have won without Megatron suddenly interfering.
- The humans are launching a Macross Missile Massacre against the Decepticons from far enough away that it takes the better part of a full minute to show the missiles' flight into the city, opening up the battle proper.
- Carly calmly approaches Megatron, and persuades him to turn on Sentinel Prime. Not only that, she insults him to his face and gets away with it because he realizes she has a point. Not bad for a Replacement Scrappy.Carly: Any moment now, you'll be nothing but Sentinel's bitch.
- Some YouTube video essays explain that the moment would've been more awesome and meaningful with Mikaela instead of Carly. After trying to distance herself from the Transformers conflict and discourage Sam from being involved with the Autobots anymore since she might lose him like she nearly did in Revenge of the Fallen, Mikaela would ultimately work up the nerve to risk her life confronting Megatron.
- Sam defeating Dylan. He knocks him into the Space Bridge Pillar, electrocuting him. Made more awesome by the fact that, just before, Dylan was giving him a Hannibal Lecture, saying, "You think you're a hero, huh? You think you're a HERO!?". It was Sam's Shut Up, Hannibal! moment.Sam: No. I'm just a messenger. *whacks Dylan into the pillar*
- Megatron - after spending the majority of the movie sitting around and occasionally giving out orders or some grand speech - completely wiping the floor with Sentinal Prime right before he can finish off Optimus.Megatron: This is MY planet!
- Optimus finally decides enough is enough, and tears off both Megatron's HEAD AND SPINE. WITH ONE ARM. That moment, arguably more than any other in the entire series, establishes Optimus as an absolute BADASS.
- And just before he does it, his faceguard pops up to cover his mouth, making it as close to the original Optimus putting Megatron down permanently as we're ever likely to see.
- The dialogue in that scene sells it too. Megatron boasts, "Who would you be without me, Prime?" Optimus has had it. He knows Megatron will never come back from the atrocities he's done. He's pointing a gun at him while suing for peace. Of all the times in the franchise, Optimus has let Megatron escape, or never just shot him, this is it. Optimus is done with Megatron and now decides it's time to live his life without his eternal foe. Megatron won't get away this time.Optimus: Time to find out.
- And as Age of Extinction proves, it still wasn't enough to keep him down.
- Basically anything the Wreckers do in the final battle. There's no way that a trio of weaponized race cars tearing down the streets blowing up everything in their path can't be insanely cool.
- Three words: "Wreckers...kill him!". The sheer brutality that the trio proceeds to unleash upon the pilot of the downed Decepticon fighter is practically a whole brand of badass unto itself.Roadbuster: This is gonna hurt... a lot!
- Lennox and his team get his fair share of awesome in the movie.Lennox: Listen up! If we wanna hit back, we're gonna have to wingsuit in. It's the only way to get close. I can't promise anyone a ride home, but if you're with me... The world needs you now.
Soldier: [steps forward] ...I'll find my own ride home, sir.
Lennox: [nods appreciatively] WHO ELSE?
[The rest of the soldiers step up and shout their commitment to the mission]
- Simmons, when he's not being a walking CMOF, he's usually being this... it helps that he's just that awesome.
- As was his assistant, Dutch.
- Not shown on-screen, but the several years N.E.S.T. spent refining their tactics by fighting Decepticons. Think of all the bullets fired, bloodshed, and lives lost.
- They managed to put 6-foot tall human infantry next to 20 foot tall Autobots and convincingly portray them as Bash Brothers. Special props go to the guy who jumped on the back of Shockwave.
- If Lindsay Ellis's analysis of Mikaela is to be believed, she realized that Sam viewed her the way everyone else does, as an object, or a reward, to be used and disposed of, and so that was why she left him offscreen.
- This film was the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, despite being one of the most flamed films ever. Critical Dissonance FTW!
- Optimus's relatively efficient method of killing his foes. First, he charges directly while dodging their blows/blasts. Then he strikes them in the chest, stunning them. While they're stunned, he maims them in some way that they can no longer fight back. Finally, he delivers the killing blow. He uses this against both Shockwave and Megatron in this movie, the Fallen in the last one, and Bonecrusher in the first.
- The trailer to Prime's truck. We've been waiting for it for two films, and it doesn't disappoint. Not only does it turn into a badass flying harness, but, like the original, it opens up into a base... which is fully stocked with dozens of weapons.
- Optimus Prime and Dr. Buzz Aldrin. One of the greatest fictional heroes and one of the greatest Real Life heroes, meeting one another and, with the utmost humility and sincerity, saying that it is an honor. Peter Cullen called it one of the proudest moments of his career.
- One for the writer: he made Sam's Amazingly Embarrassing Parents tolerable, even endearing.