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Film / Transformers Film Series

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"I've got the touch!"

"And fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call... home. We live among its people now, hiding in plain sight... but watching over them in secret... waiting... protecting. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there's more to them than meets the eye."
Optimus Prime's transmission at the end of the first film

A series of live action films based on the Transformers toy franchise. The story is an age-old battle between two factions of a sentient robot race who can alter their appearance into common vehicles, whose civil war decimates their home planet and eventually brings them to Earth.

The series' financial success led to its own franchise, and has revitalized the source material to the point where the main franchise has taken a lot of cues for its further incarnations.

The original continuity:

The first five films, released between 2007 and 2017, were all directed by Michael Bay and delivered a new take on the mythos, primarily using G1 as a founding base while also pulling in nods major and minor to other continuities to tell a new story.
  • Transformers (2007): The Autobots and Decepticons arrive on Earth in search of the legendary AllSpark, with Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and the rest of humanity having to figure out which faction have come to protect them.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (2009): The founder of the Decepticons, The Fallen, has set his sights on destroying Earth to revitalize the Cybertronian race, with Sam on a quest across the world to find the key to stopping him.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): A decades-old conspiracy involving the Transformers comes to light, leading the Autobots to reunite with their former leader Sentinel Prime and unravel the mysteries he carries with him on the Moon.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014): Inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his family join forces with Optimus Prime and the Autobots who have survived a hunt carried out by a black ops agency and their non-affiliated Cybertronian ally, the bounty hunter Lockdown.
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017): Cade and the Autobots discover an ancient order of humans who have been allied with the Transformers as Cybertron and Earth's histories collide in more ways than one.

The rebooted continuity:

The Last Knight was intended to be the launchpad for a Shared Universe set in the film universe; however, following the underperformance of the film, plans changed and the sixth film in the series was removed from Paramount's release schedule. Bumblebee, already well into development, was retooled into a reboot, and its warm reception convinced Hasbro and Paramount to proceed with a new film continuity. Bay did not return to direct the rebooted films, although he remains attached as producer.

Expanded universe

The franchise also includes several other pieces of media based on the films.

There is a character sheet with more details. Please put character-specific tropes there instead of adding them here.

The Series Provides Examples Of:

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    Franchise-wide tropes 
  • Adaptation Distillation: All of the movies manage to mix and match various aspects of the franchise into a simplified narrative. The first film also has some elements from the comics, where instead of the Ark bringing a huge number of them to Earth, many were already on Earth hiding, waiting for reinforcements to show up. The third film combines elements of "Megatron's Master Plan" and "The Ultimate Doom." while The Last Knight is clearly inspired by something out from an Anime movie.
  • Alien Invasion: Small-scale in the first movie, taken up a notch in ROTF, and then played for all it's worth in DOTM.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Decepticons throughout the series, but dear God, they take the gloves off in Dark of the Moon.
  • Aliens Speaking English:
    • One of the only instances in the entire 20+ year history of the franchise that attempts to justify or explain how Cybertronians can speak English. In the film, they were able to download information from the web, including knowledge of every known language on the planet. This allowed them to instantly start speaking English as soon as they showed up. It is also highly implied that many of them even choose specific manners of speaking based on their personal preferences.
    • In fact, in the novelization of the first movie, the first language they attempted when talking to Sam and Mikaela is Chinese, as more people speak it than English.
    • With Megatron; it's a little more iffy however, given he woke up in present day after being frozen for centuries and started speaking English right away with seemingly no other source... or so it would seem. The creators say that Megatron was not only still conscious when he was frozen, but that he could also see and hear everything going on around him; meaning he could hear the engineers and scientists examining his body whilst they were talking and so he picked up English from them. This would provide an explanation for why the first thing he did upon awakening was declare his true name to the "insects" that were referring to him as "N. B. E.-01", "Ice-Man" or even (believe it or not) Mega Man.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • Bumblebee initially pretends to be one, to the point of "conveniently" breaking down at a local Make-Out Point.
    • Sam's "replacement Bumblebee" in Dark of the Moon is definitely one of these. It's an ancient Datsun (also yellow with twin black racing stripes) which gets crushed when he tries to get past security at the NEST base.
      • Sam was right about it, though: it's a 510, which is a classic. This particular one is just in bad shape.
  • All Gravity Is the Same
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon shows Cybertron to dwarf Earth, yet in the flashback prologue all of the robots move no differently than they do on Earth. There is also the problem of the Decepticons teleporting Cybertron directly into Earth's atmosphere, which in real life would be very detrimental to both planets. Defied in all scenes that takes place on Earth's moon, however, where all characters appropriately bounce around in the low-gravity environment.
    • The fifth film, Transformers: The Last Knight, contains the same problems.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Any new Transformer-ized machines will be this, possibly because every modern electronic device is based off of Megatron, or because it only happens when the AllSpark is threatened, making it a defense mechanism. In one of the prequel comics, a car in the 30s is transformed by an AllSpark wave, and it also tends to attack humans on sight. In fact, this robot is the one who eventually kills Bonnie and Clyde before going down from a hail of Tommygun bullets (it is only made out of unarmored car parts, after all).
    • Subverted in Revenge of the Fallen by Jetfire and Wheelie. Jetfire got tired of the Decepticons' goals and methods, and Wheelie was essentially working for the 'cons out of fear; when he learned of Jetfire's side switch, he immediately did the same.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The Witwickys in all three films, but Mrs. Witwicky is the more serious offender, especially in ROTF.
  • America Saves the Day: Played very straight in Revenge of the Fallen where the Marines wade onto the shores of Egypt to battle the Decepticons. The Jordanian military plays a very small role and there are British forces in NEST as well; otherwise all the human forces fighting the Decepticons across the planet are shown to be American-led and equipped.
    • Justified as the Autobots are working with the American military (since that's where they landed, and kind of tore up in the process) and thus sharing knowledge with them that makes them more effective than other forces in the world. Most of the world doesn't even know they exist.
      • Everybody knows about them by the third film, in which they firmly take America's side in any international conflict. Even Autobots gotta pay the bills.
      • Thought, it could be because the American Military is helping them fight Decepticons, who're currently in hiding. No one to fight, plus America currently involved in several conflicts of its own. It would be just rude to expect them to help in their battles but not help the humans in theirs.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Although it is partially grounded in real-world tech, the only way in the first movie for human infantry to harm a decent size Transformer is using high-heat grenades. Nothing else short of tank rounds will do anything except annoy them. This is a major plot point, and the purpose of Lennox and Epps' entire storyline. ROTF shows infantry using regular assault rifles that appear to have been modified to fire a different kind of ammunition than normal. DOTM shows not only this, but the soldiers using specialized tactics to attack Cybertronian weak spots, as well as using snipers to blind the robots. In fact, several Decepticons in DOTM are taken down without Autobot aid with the use of these tactics, and parachutes.
  • Arm Cannon / Hand Blast: Bumblebee, Ratchet (more like arm machinegun), the Arcees and especially Megatron (in the first film, he could combine his arms together to form his weapon; in the second, his right arm is his cannon).
    • A concept sketch for Jazz showed his left arm becoming a long-barreled cannon; this was carried over to the toy design, although for the toy the gun was called a sword...
  • Art Evolution:
    • Bumblebee had some cosmetic changes in the first and second films to reflect the most recent Camaro model.
    • Bumblebee and Optimus' character models received a significant change for DOTM, with Optimus gaining more heavily defined "abs" and Bumblebee having broader shoulders.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Megatron, Optimus Prime, the telekinetic, teleporting Fallen, Sentinel Prime.
  • Avengers Assemble: Bumblebee calls in Autobot reinforcements in the first film, leading to the meteor shower of Autobots coming in, each scanning vehicle forms, and meeting up in an alley. Age of Extinction had Optimus scattering the Autobots for safety, then sending out a message "Calling all Autobots" as he scans a new vehicle mode and the new Autobots (plus Bumblebee) each get an introduction as they meet at a remote desert location.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Several times in ROTF. And most subverted. Best one's gotta be Bumblebee, who has about five between the two movies.
    • Seemingly invoked in the opening battle of ROTF. Optimus' alternate mode and general size probably makes it difficult for him to deploy as fast as the human vehicles or Ironhide, so they kept him waiting in a giant cargo plane circling Shanghai. When Demolisher goes crazy they drop in Optimus to intercept him.
    • In DOTM, the Autobots show up to save Sam and Team Epps when everyone thought they were dead.
    • Also from DOTM, Q's just been executed, Bumblebee's next, Sam's helpless 'cause his last grenade just died on him, all is lost... and then ships that Wheelie and Brains have sabotaged begin falling from the sky around them, giving Bumblebee the distraction to fight back.
  • Blood Brothers:
    • The human warriors of the NEST team love their Autobot comrades as such:
      Epps: We have shed blood, sweat and precious metal together.
    • Enough so that even when disbanded and living peaceful lives by Dark of the Moon, they immediately reunited to take revenge for the murder of their Autobot brothers at the hands of Dylan Gould.
      Sam: Why are you helping me?
      Epps: 'Cause that asshole killed my friends too!!
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Jazz: You want a piece of me, Megatron?! You want a piece?!
    Megatron: No, I want two! [tears Jazz in half]
    • In Revenge of the Fallen (after Prime kills The Fallen):
      Optimus Prime: I rise, you fall.
    • Also in ROTF, Sideswipe's first line after killing Sideways: "Damn, I'm good."
    • In DOTM, Ironhide: "Class dismissed."
  • A Boy And His Shapeshifting Robot Car: One of the focal story points of the first movie, this was toned down some in ROTF since Sam couldn't take Bumblebee to college with him, and then averted in DOTM since Bumblebee wasn't able to stay with Sam anymore due to his covert ops duties.
  • Broken Masquerade: A lot of fans wondered if Transformers became common knowledge after the final battle in the first film, but it was brushed aside with a government cover-up, namely that a bunch of prototype robots on a test run went berserk. Considering that in ROTF, The Fallen broadcasted himself and his demands all over the world, and Devastator destroyed one of the Great Pyramids, a cover-up is going to be a lot more difficult to concoct. The third film has the existence of the 'bots as now-common knowledge, with regular news media broadcasts (albeit about massive destruction) casually using the faction names after Sentinel Prime broadcasts the 'Cons demands to the UN.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Seriously, the last two films have shown that more than a fair share of humans seem to have no issues with telling a bunch of 5 story robots each armed like a small military where they can stick it, regardless of them being on our side.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Simmons is certainly off his rocker, but his original job was being behind a Government Conspiracy. So in unraveling new conspiracies (both alien in nature) in the sequels he is the first guy Sam calls on for help.
  • Cain and Abel: Megatron and Optimus. Original scripts had the two be siblings. This was downplayed in the final films, but some traces can still be seen in the comics, where it is shown that both were brothers-in-arms, under the leadership of Sentinel Prime.
  • Car Porn: Justified in a film series where the protagonists are disguised as cars. And funnily enough, almost always cool, top of the line sportscars.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Scorponok, the Decepticon that jumped out of Blackout, attacked the Army guys, and was largely forgotten about for the rest of the first movie, and most of the second finally returns for the final battle in the second movie.
    • Soundwave isn't seen again in ROTF after he coordinates the Decepticon desert attack. He shows up in DOTM as the Mercedes Gould gives to Carly.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: They make a big deal in the first movie about Mikaela's criminal record in stealing cars with her dad. Her ability to hotwire a car comes in handy in both films.
  • Color Wash: Good luck finding anything in the movies which isn't either blue, orange, or an Autobot.
  • Command Roster: Divided between the Autobots and the Humans:
  • Continuity Snarl: Not too bad at first. Working out how Megatron's many different plans and alleigances line up takes some mental arithmetic, and the films chronology will induce headaches. Then Last Knight and Bumblebee came along, and even IDW's works, which actually made a damn good attempt at trying to glue everything together, threw up its hands and went "screw it!". Bumblebee would later be announced to be a Reboot, which at least resolved any disparancy between it and these films.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Several - the films seem to enjoy this trope and have no shortage:
    • Getting one's spine ripped out and being skewered like a hot dog are among the popular deaths.
    • One of Lennox's teammates gets skewered by Scorponok.
    • Megatron rips Jazz in two. In ROTF, Bumblebee does essentially the same thing with Ravage by pulling out his spine by yanking on his tail.
    • Also, The Fallen. Give me your face!
    • Ironhide is disintegrated by Sentinel Prime.
    • A Decepticon pilot is ripped apart by the Wreckers.
    • Starscream gets a grappling hook in one eye, and a spike-bomb jammed in the other. He is left to flail around screaming for several seconds before the bomb goes off.
    • And finally, Megatron has an axe cleaving his face into two and gets his spine wrenched out as his head his pulled off.
    • Ratchet, oh boy, Ratchet. He gets his leg blown off by Semetery Wind soldiers and then, after Lockdown interrogates him about Optimus Prime's whereabouts, has his spark extracted.
  • Cue the Sun: Well, they are Michael Bay movies...
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Optimus hands every Decepticon he encounters their ass on a platter at the last few minutes of the movie.
    • Blackout Vs Entire American Army Base
    • It's not just him, and it's not just then. Every non-Megs, non-Starscream 'con in the second movie seems to be Made of Plasticine, being ripped apart after mere seconds of fighting (or fleeing in terror.) Even the Big Bad the film is named for put up no fight.
    • When the Twins start bickering over who was tougher and they started wrestling, Bumblebee in his usual silence picked them both up by the scruff of their necks like they were obnoxious kids and tossed them outside.
    • And then in DOTM Optimus completely owned Megatron in less than a minute. No, seriously, Megatron shoots Sentinel Prime in the back in order to attack Optimus, only to have his head ripped out just a few moments later. And Optimus had just lost an arm. Megatron was still severely weakened from the beating he received from Optimus during the end of the last movie.
      • However, Optimus himself had been curbstomped by Sentinel Prime twice and would have been killed if it wasn't for Megatron.
    • Even The Fallen has his ass, or rather, his face handed to him with ridiculous ease once Optimus acquires Jetfire's parts. Though then again, he was terrified of Optimus in the first place, so this might be why.
  • Curse Cut Short: Near the end of DOTM, when two of the Autobots enter the ship, and say "Quite a clusterf-" (cut to next scene).
  • Darker and Edgier: ROTF is this to the first movie, and DOTM is really this to ROTF.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • There are only two musical cues from the original film to really appear in the second. The first is Optimus's theme, which in the first was a major-key performed primarily by a flute, to give it an organic sound. In Revenge it's shifted into a minor key and performed by dark brass. Second, the Autobots' theme from the first film appears exactly once: during Optimus's Last Stand. In addition, as mentioned above, the main riff of Linkin Park's "New Divide" is used in several ways. Also in DOTM the theme "Arrival to Earth" returned when the Autobots were being forced to leave the Earth. Except instead of a heroic, driving cello choir it was a melancholy, slowed down solo. The following are all non-musical examples.
    • One of the more awesome moments from the start of ROTF is Sideswipe cutting a car in half. Guess what happens when the Decepticons capture Sam and Co.?
    • Also, the epic moment from the first film in which the Autobots arrive from space is replicated in ROTF with the Decepticons...which proceed to slam through aircraft carriers.
    • Sam with Alice while riding in Bumblebee has sinister echoes of his ride with Mikaela in the first movie: similar situation, twice the awkwardness. Trying to kill him later was the perfect end to a perfect day...
    • When the Autobots are being forced to leave Earth in Dark of the Moon, a heartbreaking new version of "Arrival to Earth" plays.
    • Earlier in DOTM, we see Optimus kneeling before Sentinel Prime to offer him the Matrix of Power. Later, Optimus is again kneeling at Sentinel's feet - but this time because he's about to be killed by his former mentor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bumblebee, even though he can only communicate via the radio and pantomime.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Jazz in the first film.
    • Optimus Prime (as expected), particularly during ROTF.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage:
    • The Twins' first altmode plays an ice-cream truck version of the Transformers theme song. No, really.
    • In DOTM the black copier in Sam's office AKA Laserbeak plays a snippet of the "Transformers" theme when one of the office guys tries to use it.
  • Down L.A. Drain: Sector Seven are chasing after the Autobots, Sam, and Mikaela, and they wind up there, as well subsequently capturing Bumblebee not far from the 4th Street bridge.
  • Dub Name Change: Averted, Optimus Prime's name is unchanged in all international versions (even in Japan, where he's normally called Convoy/Fire Convoy).
  • Dull Surprise: It is Transformers, after all.
    • The kid in the first movie who asks an autobot if it's the Tooth Fairy sounds like this that it's not even cute.
  • Eagleland: In all four Transformers movies, many aspects of the negative end of this trope are present. The young adult characters mostly act like idiots, the older adult characters are almost as dumb, several of the Transformers have goofy American accents, the U.S. military gets plenty of exposure and many organisations, especially the ones dealing with the Transformers, are presented as mostly clueless and corrupt.
  • Eye Scream:
    • During the forest battle in ROTF, Optimus lodges a hook in Grindor's optic and then uses another one to stab him in the cheek. Prime then proceeds to rip Grindor's head in two.
    • This is how Mikaela interrogates and tames Wheelie. Because a blowtorch to the eye is okay as long as it's a robot.
    • Repeatedly in the third film, with Lennox advising snipers to go after the eyes to blind the Decepticons. Several are destroyed because of this and similar tactics from non-snipers, including such big names as Starscream.
      • Optimus finally kills Shockwave by ripping his already-hanging-by-wires eye completely out of his head, destroying his head in the process.
      • And AGAIN in DOTM when Sam launches a grappling hook at Starscream, only to have it latch onto his eye. For the rest of the battle, Starscream flails about wildly, screaming "My eye, my eye! I can't see!" Sam finally puts him out of his misery by planting a grenade straight into his OTHER eye.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: One of the most notable (and criticized) things about the films is the surpring amount of Gorn present - some wouldn't feel out of place in a Mortal Kombat game.
    • Most of the violence in the first film is pretty mild but both Bonecrusher's and Jazz's stand out. The former gets properly beaten before being decapitated, and Jazz is is torn in half.
    • The second film is where it starts getting insane. Sideways is cut in half, Grindor's head is torn apart in slow-mo, and the Fallen infamuosly has his face torn off before his spark is crushed.
    • Every death in the third, which throws some disturbing human deaths as well.
  • Fanservice:
    • Mikaela provides this in spades in the first two movies, but is also more of an action hero than Sam.
    • Alice in ROTF, at least before she shows her true colors.
    • Carly in DOTM, from her opening scene on.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Megatron and The Fallen despise flesh creatures, while the Autobot/Decepticon division seems to have grown so strong that neither regards the other as an equal being. In DOTM, the racism angle is considerably cranked up; the plot involves plans to turn humans into a slave race.
    • Some humans give as good as they get and treat Transformers as just machines even though they are really Mechanical Lifeforms. This is one of the reasons Sentinel Prime hates humanity and is working alongside the Decepticons to enslave them. As a Prime he was a living god on Cybertron. On Earth, he's treated with as much respect as a toaster.
  • Foreshadowing: In ROTF, Sam mentions "the Sentinel Prime expedition" and the space bridge during his AllSpark-induced rant in the astronomy class.
  • Freud Was Right: Devastator has wrecking balls. You can't miss 'em.
    Simmons:"I am directly beneath...the enemy's scrotum..."
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • In ROTF, after the Transformers are asked to leave NEST, and Megatron kills Optimus, he declares they're not going to hold back anymore. Then Sam's face is flashed on every TV screen in the world, with the Fallen demanding the world hand him over. Oh and Decepticons start making appearances across certain major cities (New York and Paris are shown) as well as sinking an aircraft carrier, just to show that they could. Oh yes, and Sam's parents are captured by them.
    • And in DOTM, beginning from the revelation of Sentinel Prime's betrayal, it's all downhill for most of the movie.
  • Government Conspiracy:
    • Sector Seven in the first film, formed in response to Megatron landing on Earth.
    • NEST is an ongoing conspiracy in Fallen, covering up Decepticon attacks as "gas leaks" and such. Deconstructed to some extent, as there are at least two major blogs dedicated to posting contrary evidence, such as cell phone videos. "Don't Suck the 'Sack!"
    • Dark of the Moon reveals that the transmission interruption during the Apollo Mission was to give the astronauts a cover to explore the wreckage of a crashed Cybertronian ship on the dark side of the Moon.
  • Groin Attack:
  • Gunship Rescue: Both with the Transforming Mecha and regular human vehicles. It's a Transformers movie with heavy military support, so it's a given.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Jazz and Sideways.
  • Hammerspace:
    • Averted, mostly. There are still issues and goofs regarding interpersonal scale (which is nothing new in Transformers), but the robots were designed and their alternate modes were chosen together to be consistent. Weapons also don't just appear out of nowhere, but are generated from their bodies with the approximate mass.
    • Some of the goofs are visual cheats for the sake of story. For instance, Optimus is able to hold Sam and Mikaela in his hand... yet he's also able to hold Sam's grandfathers' eyeglasses between his fingers visibly.
  • Helicopter Blender: Blackout and Grindor both use their tail rotors as a weapon.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sam has two major ones, after Optimus dies in ROTF and after he thinks all the Autobots are killed in DOTM.
  • Hero Insurance:
    • The Autobots are dutiful allies in dealing with Decepticon problems, but there is still plenty of collateral damage and American officials are wondering if the Autobots are the reason Decepticons are even there.
    • Ron Witwicky makes mention that they get a government check if Bumblebee damages anything.
  • Hollywood Tactics: More or less averted. The actors were trained by real Marines, and the human soldiers do use artillery, air support, cover, cover fire, and know what they're doing. The robots, however, fight differently, on account of being giant transforming robots from a mechanical planet. Naturally, they have an extremely heavy emphasis on mobility.
  • Homage: Apparently the animators were given relatively free reign with the action sequences and as such snuck in some light Transformer references. Jazz jumping onto Brawl and redirecting his tank cannon was directly inspired by the '80s movie where Kup did something similar. Prime pulling out a blade from his arm is in reference to doing something similar in the G1 pilot episodes. Also, Wheelie bears a striking resemblance to the title character of WALL•E
  • Hope Spot: DOTM keeps pulling the rug out from the audience. Oh, good, they're going to stop the pillar from firing. Except they can't from the ground. Too bad 'Cons are attacking. Good, they made it to the height they need. And then 'Cons knock over the building. Good, they're safe—and then Shockwave decides to send the giant Decepticon digging worm to take down the building. Meanwhile...
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: More time is spent on the humans and their reactions to the robots then there is on the actual robots. This is largely due to the expense of CGI. The series does get better about this as it continues on, to the point that many were impressed that Age of Extinction had much longer and more natural scenes of humans and robots talking to each other as equals rather than "main character and special effect."
  • Humans Are Ugly: Megatron regards humans in this way. The Fallen apparently shares the notion as do many other Decepticons. It's not unlikely that many Autobots think something similar, but are just nicer about it.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Fortunately for the Autobots... not so much for the Decepticons.
    • One of the main things the films show is how the humans are able to fight against the Decepticons. Okay, a human alone wouldn't last very much against a Decepticon, but a well organized group (like the survivors of the base in the first film) can fight and survive once they have an idea what they are facing... and then we have the heavy artillery.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Somewhat related with a couple of above tropes, but there are plenty of different ways in which Cybertronians view our species. At one point in ROTF, Megatron refers to Sam as an "alien specimen" as he is about to be examined by Scalpel (aka The Doctor). He also offers to allow Sam to be his pet.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • It's another given, although they aren't just machines.
    • ROTF ups it with new humongous mecha that are about the same scale to the regular robots as the regular robots are to humans, if not bigger.
  • Immune to Bullets: Sort of. The Decepticons are immune to regular ammunition, but super-high temperature explosives work fine.
    • Well, they work better; Transformers still survive hits from weapons that would destroy a tank.
  • Incoming Ham:
  • In the Back: Several bots are brought down this way, including Optimus (by Megatron), Ironhide (by Sentinel Prime during his Face–Heel Turn), and Sentinel Prime (by Megatron who's tired of being his bitch).
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Sam's mum doesn't want him to leave home for college and has to be reasoned with by his dad. At the end of ROTF the roles are reversed and Mrs. Witwicky realises she has to let Sam go save the world over her husband's protective instincts.
    • In DOTM, Dylan insults Sam, calling him "just a messenger". In the final battle, Sam throws it right back at Dylan before knocking him into the Decepticon pillar, killing him.
    • Also from DOTM, an Ironic Echo to a line from a different film franchise: The needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few. Same line, same actor, entirely different context.
  • It Has Been an Honor:
    • In the first film, Optimus says this to the Autobots after he reveals that he intends to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the AllSpark if they cannot defeat the Decepticons.
    • At the end of DOTM, Wheelie and Brains do this in their own unique way when, the Decepticon ship they have sabotaged begins to crash with them still in it.
  • It's Raining Men:
    • ...and robots too. In the first battle of ROTF, Optimus skydives into Shanghai.
    • In DOTM, this is how NEST gets into Chicago. Some of them, anyway.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Thanks to the government, Sam goes to a really nice school.
    • ROTF starts with him going to Harvard.
    • Subverted in that he's still looking for a job in DOTM, despite being an Ivy League graduate and having a medal from the President (in one case, this actually backfires, as the recruiter is heavily biased against Democrats).
  • Karmic Death:
    • Megatron is killed by Sam using the AllSpark in the first film, The Fallen was killed by Optimus, and Sentinel Prime is killed by Optimus using Megatron's shotgun.
    • Dylan Gould's death results from Sam, the one he's manipulated and used to spy on the Autobots, knocking him into one of Sentinel Prime's pillars that he helped set up, electrocuting him to death.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: He actually rejuvenated the use of the name Bumblebee in Transformers media.
  • Kill Him Already!: Unlike the various series where there are almost no named casualties unless plot relevant, major robots (and some humans) are killed often due to the ruthlessness of both sides. It is exemplified by Optimus vs. Bonecrusher, where Optimus tears his head off the first chance he got. This attitude towards the robot fights is probably the most popular aspect of these films in comparison to other incarnations; there are casualties in this war.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Several, from ones that take shots to the original G1 mythos, and, as of Dark Of The Moon, one on the fanbase 's reaction to the entire trilogy: "It was like a cheesy line from a bad science fiction movie..."
  • Large Ham:
    Simmons: You see this? This is a "Do whatever I want and get away with it" badge!

    Simmons: NOT ON MY WATCH!

    Simmons: One man, alone, betrayed by the country he loves, now its last hope in its hour of need...
  • MacGuffin: There's one or more in every film.
    • In the first film: The AllSpark cube, while Archibald Witwicky's glasses were being pursued to find the cube.
    • ROTF has two MacGuffins: the cube fragments for the first half of the movie and the Matrix of Leadership for the second.
    • DOTM has the pillars Sentinel Prime hid on the Ark.
    • Age of Extinction has the Seed which Lockdown bestowed upon Cemetery Wind.
    • The Last Knight has Merlin's staff.
  • Machine Blood: Blood from the bots is represented in some cases by fluorescent blue liquid (which the fandom believes is Energon).
  • Made of Iron: Besides the Transformers (of course), pretty much every main character, including seasoned military fighters, covert special agents, and everyday teenagers, manages to survive being repeatedly tossed around, blasted into the air, or dropped from rather substantial heights with little more than a few cuts and bruises, or at worst, a broken leg.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The original cartoon eventually handwaved mass shifting as being a part of the Transformers' powers in order to explain the differences in sizes between robots and their alternate modes. The film was originally going to embrace that but Michael Bay refused to allow mass shifting of the robots, demanding they fit inside their alternate modes and great pains were taken to keep them about the right size. This only adds to the believability of the visual effects and emphasizes that they are Transformers and not Shape Shifters. As common for the trope, there was an exception to the mass shifting with regards to the AllSpark, seeing as it was a magical item and subject to its own rules.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The first film has the AllSpark as just a MacGuffin, but the sequels show that it still leaves a lasting impression on the characters and the story.
  • Male Gaze: While there has never been a shortage of blatant shots of the female anatomy in this series, the third film's establishing shot after the prologue is a "so blatant it's practically done satirically" shot of Carly's ass, and if you've chosen the 3D option, well...
  • Mechanical Lifeform: Kind of the premise of the whole franchise, really.
  • Merchandise-Driven:
    • Although this aspect is toned down compared to Transformers franchises for the sake of mainstream appeal, it's still Transformers. It still proudly proclaims "BASED ON HASBRO'S TRANSFORMERS™ ACTION FIGURES" in the end credits. Mr. Willis? You're on.
    • In a somewhat amusing twist, a lot of characters die horribly in the same film their toys are marketed for when that's usually a practice that is considered to discourage people to buy the toys of specific characters (like how The Transformers: The Movie killed off many of the characters whose toys weren't being sold anymore so that kids would instead go buy the toys of the new, still alive characters).
  • Messianic Archetype: Optimus, who is almost always this in Transformers media anyway. He has the utmost concern for human collateral damage and that hinders him in a fight, but if there is no need to worry, he goes all out.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • In TF: Between the Army rangers and Sector Seven agents.
    • In ROTF: between NEST soldiers & Autobots and the regular Army troops.
    • In DOTM: Ironhide and Sideswipe's 2-on-2 battle with two Decepticons results in a classic four person circle with each combatant holding two guns, one trained on each of the two combatants from the other faction. Sideswipe even invokes this trope by name in describing the situation.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Bumblebee trades in his 1977 Camaro alternate mode in favor of a shiny new 2008 model (with minor modifications as he becomes the most recent model for the following movie). Likewise the Twins, who go from being a combining Bad Humor Truck into a pair of Chevrolet compacts. One of the twins even lampshades this trope. (See page quote).
  • Misblamed:
    • While the fans would never be satisfied, not using a VW for Bumblebee or a Porsche for Jazz (their iconic G1 alternate modes) was described as "raping my childhood." Michael Bay instead made a deal to use primarily GM vehicles. The issue is the problem with licensing; both Volkswagon and Porsche have refused here and in past toylines to be associated with Transformers because of image concerns. Toys can be made to skew around copyright infringement, but in the film it would be impractical. GM just made the highest bid.
    • Some fans wanted to bean the Strawman Political over the head for discussing all of their secrets over the satelite connection when Soundwave was hacked in. Only one problem there, while the political weenie was indeed a dumbass, they were using what was supposed to be a secure connection. Discussing secret stuff is what those connections are for.
    • More of a misattribution than misblamed, but Megan Fox was not fired for comparing Michael Bay to Hitler. Ask anyone and that is supposedly common knowledge. The truth was she was actually giving Bay a lot of respect and sincerity in that interview, the thought was "He's friendly yet awkward off the set but on-set he tries to give off a controlling 'Hitler' persona." This can be evident in that Bay's response was laughing it off and saying that it's part of her quirky charm (it may have been a poor choice of words but it wasn't meant in a damning way). There was evidence released later that suggest Fox's departure from the series was actually at the suggestion of Steven Spielberg who disliked her general attitute and Bay also admitted she never really focused on her work. The whole thing wasn't a petty "You said WHAT about me?" ordeal.
    • In-Universe after DOTM. While they claim to focus on the Decepticons as well (the only interaction between the 'Cons and either group is when they make a deal against the Autobots) Both Cemetery Wind and TRF blame the Autobots for the devastation during the battle of Chicago. It should be noted that the government, who ran both, exiled the Autobots, almost getting them killed, and the Autobots therefore had no chance to stop the Decepticon attack. The injustice is bad enough that Optimus has given up on humanity.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • ROTF: an Egyptian pyramid wrecked. DOTM: Lincoln Memorial's statue destroyed by Megatron to take a seat at its place.
    • Doubles as a Mythology Gag. G1 Megatron did the exact same thing in one of the episodes in the original cartoon.
  • Mood Whiplash: Zig-zags between slapsticky sitcom and dead-serious Alien Invasion. (Note the "peeing" scene.) One scene in particular whips the viewer through fanservice, surprise, anxiety, relief, anxiety, squigglies, laughter, then relief. That would be the Sam/Alice makeout scene.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Has anyone working on this movie even been to D.C.?
  • Mourning a Dead Robot: Due to the nature of the movies, the best example is probably in Transformers: The Last Knight when Izabella cries over the death of her companion Canopy.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Mikaela. Rather unnecessary since the 13-35 male demographic was already there to watch awesome giant robots. But you can bet money they were thankful anyway.
    • Right from her introduction, Carly makes sure the viewers do not miss Mikaela too much. It was obvious from the casting that she'll have this role: she's played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Victoria's Secret model with no previous acting experience.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • Decepticons' occupation of Chicago, complete with random slaughters of defenseless civilians, wanton destruction and turning the downtown in a super-sized concentration camp for human slaves seems... rather familiar.
    • This unfortunately got Megan Fox fired from production when, during a speech for winning an award, she compared Michael Bay to Hitler, and axed her character with her. Amusingly, Bay wasn't offended by the comparison. However, producer Steven Spielberg was.
  • Near-Villain Victory:
    • The Fallen was that close to destroying our sun with the Harvester... before a Jetfire-enhanced Optimus Prime comes along, destroys the machine and kills The Fallen.
    • In DOTM, Sentinel Prime almost manages to bring Cybertron to the Earth and kill Optimus.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Sure Optimus and Bumblebee are able to deftly catch falling humans while in mid-transformation, but considering it's still soft flesh colliding with alien steel, it really shouldn't be survivable.
  • Obviously Evil: While in the G1 universe most of the characters looked like humanoid robots, the movie Autobots' have heroic or childlike faces and mostly pleasant looking appearance while all of the Decepticons have monstrous fangs and jagged bodies.
  • Off with His Head!: Given how tough a lot of Transformers are in the series, damage to the cranial area is analogous to Deader than Dead.
    • Bonecrusher in the first film.
    • The Fallen in ROTF
    • Several 'bots in DOTM, most notably Soundwave and Megatron.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The climax of the first film starts with Ironhide yelling; "It's Starscream!" A few moments later, it becomes abundantly clear why the Decepticons copied military hardware.
    • There's also Lennox in the final battle in the first film, when, right in the middle of a heated battle against Devastator Brawl, Blackout (a.k.a. the helicopter who initially wiped out the Qatar airbase singlehandedly) appears on a rooftop to assist his friend. His response of "We are so dead" seems rather appropriate.
    • Subverted in Fallen when the Spark-shard starts up Jetfire, and Sam realizes he's a Decepticon seconds too late. The subversion comes in the fact that he doesn't actually try and kill anyone, and is in fact a good-hearted and decent person who, despite being a Decepticon, no longer believes or supports their violent ideology.
    • Epps has a fairly deadpan one near the climax; "We're about to get our asses whupped."
    • Also this:
      Epps: I hope those F-16s have good aim.
      Lennox: Why?
      Epps: I asked them to shoot at orange smoke.
      [orange smoke drifts into frame]
      Lennox: ...That orange smoke?
      Epps: It wasn't my best toss, OK?
    • Frenzy mutters, "Oh shit." as he dies.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: Bumblebee can only communicate through his radio via Speaks in Shout-Outs.
  • Once Per Movie: A Linkin Park song. "What I've Done" for the first, "New Divide" for the second and "Iridescent" for the third. The fourth has an Imagine Dragons song, "Battle Cry", instead.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Halfway averted in ROTF with heroic Sideswipe and villanous Sideways. Both of these also happen to turn into silver sports cars. This has led to confusion amongst some, although the confusion in the movie is cut short by Sideswipe cutting Sideways in half and killing him within the first fifteen minutes.
    • Also, Shockwave/Soundwave. Good luck keeping those two straight if you're not a hard-core fan.
  • Orbital Shot: It's a Michael Bay movie, after all. For example, the first two movies each have a 360 degree spin scene of Optimus transforming.
  • Palette Swap: While the Autobots are all unique creations, to get the sense of a real war going on many Decepticons are the same character models, and some don't even have a Earth based form, just a generic Cybertronian body. Reused body molds are nothing new in Transformers, both In-Universe and in the toy line. This was especially prevalent with Grindor, who was essentially Blackout with a different paint job.
  • Power Walk:
    • Rather, Power Drive Down Desert Highway.
    • And again in Fallen, with them cresting a bridge.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The alternate vehicles (especially for the Autobots) were chosen to help convey the proper size of the appropriate characters. Without the magic of mass-shifting, Optimus' original robot mode would not be much larger then the other Autobots. Though G1 fans howled, Bay's edict of "no size-changing" probably helped with the necessary Suspension of Disbelief. Similarly they (and every adaptation after G1) knew that Megatron turning into a handgun just wouldn't fly dramatically. Co-writer Roberto Orci's said it would be "like Darth Vader turning into his own lightsaber and having someone else swing him around."
    • This is also why movie Starscream is so wide, to make up for his alt mode being so large.
    • Optimus also became a Peterbilt because it's the largest trailer-less truck (though in the third he carries a trailer, which also transforms!).
    • The comet protoforms were created due to a Discussed Fridge Logic moment the producers had concerning the Transformers...why would robots who can turn into vehicles need a space ship?
      • The sequel and the expanded fiction actually do feature space-ships, The Ark and two versions of The Nemesis (which is seen in the sequel); they Hand Wave this by explaining that the comet forms are used for short-distance travel and planet entry. For traveling across entire galaxies, they use ships. Megatron is apparently one of the only Cybertronians capable of traversing entire star systems on their own steam.
      • Most other Transformers productions feature the robots as the only characters of importance, because A) that's what the people want to see and B) robots are just as easy to animate as humans in an Animated Adaptation. In a Live-Action Adaptation humans have to carry an important role, because A) non-fans need to be eased into accepting transforming robots as characters, B) rendering realistic robots for two hours' worth of film would be prohibitively expensive, and C) why not just make the entire film CGI instead of Live Action ...wait.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The first movie has a barely audible yelled "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!" during the final battle (you essentially have to turn the subtitles on to hear it]], the second one has Mikaela yelling "Fucking do something!!!!" near the end when they rush over to Sam's presumably lifeless body, and the third one has Sam happily whisper-yelling "What the fuck!" when he receives his medal near the beginning.
    • In the third movie, Sam's boss refers to Bumblebee as "fuckin' awesome".
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Optimus has three, one in ROTF ("GIVE ME YOUR FACE!") and three consecutive ones on DOTM:
      Optimus: You die! [punches Shockwave to death]

      Megatron: Who would you be without me, Prime?
      Optimus: Time to find out.

      Sentinel: Optimus... All I ever wanted was the survival of our race. You must see why I had to betray you.
      Optimus: You didn't betray me. You betrayed yourself.
    • Sam gets one in DOTM.
      Dylan: [laughs at Sam] You think you're some kind of hero?
      Sam: I'm just the messenger. [smacks Dylan with a pole and knocks him against the pillar, electrocuting him.]
  • Previews Pulse: The films' trailers loved these.
  • Product Placement: Aside from the obviousnote , you have:
    • General Motors, General Motors, General Motors. Also eBay, Mountain Dew, Panasonic and Xbox 360.
    • Most college students would use Logitech webcams, not Cisco.
      • Cisco got another very prominent name shot when panning across the military's War Room in DOTM.
      • And to up the ante, of of the robots in ROTF turned into a Cisco Aironet. Also present was one that was formed from a Dyson DC 25 vacuum.
    • Green Day, anyone? The fact that "21 Guns" was the BGM for four separate scenes in ROTF is just shameless...
    • Army! Navy! Air Force! Marines! These movies are serious product placement for the US Military. Even the Coast Guard has a Jayhawk helicopter appearing towards the end of the final battle in ROTF.
    • Megatron and Starscream landing atop the Met Life building in ROTF, which is a bit ironic considering the association of a life insurance company with a plot to destroy all life on Earth.
    • The conspicuous shots of the Constructicons' hood ornaments could be seen as a nod to Mack trucks.
    • The third film no longer has a monopoly of GM cars, due to the company's bankruptcy issues. While the already established characters are still GM brands, this allows a great deal more variety. In addition, the other product placement is relatively subtle, compared to the first two films. It mostly consists of not obscuring brand names.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Played straight with the first and DOTM (with "What I've Done" and "Iridescent" respectively) and subverted with "New Divide", which was specifically recorded for ROTF.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Happens often in regards to both sides, with characters introduced as if they had been there the whole time. Although they probably have thanks to offscreen events.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • Played with. Optimus Prime explained that they learned Earth's languages and cultures through the internet. Certain Autobots took on speech characteristics that they felt appropriate to their character and is the reason Jazz is considered black, besides the homage to G1 Jazz and G1 voice actor Scatman Crothers.
    • In ROTF, they went even further to try and emphasize how these robots are living creatures and not hand-built machines. The robots replicate things like crying and how they react to getting old or injured.
      • Alice makes this trope literal.
  • Robo Family: Optimus Prime and Megatron are apparently brothers in this continuity.
    • Possibly retconned by Word of God, that says it was more a brotherhood kind of usage.
    • Jetfire mentions both a mother and a father.
      • He's also senile and out of his gourd, so we can't be too sure on this.
    • The Twins.
    • The Arcee bikes are apparently sisters.
      • Or they're one consciousness in three bodies...the associated materials don't really agree on this.
    • The Dynasty Of Primes were all referred to as brothers. Optimus (and by possible extension; Megatron) is a great descendant of one of them.
      • As is Sentinel Prime, but Optimus treats him more as a mentor than a relative.
  • Rollerblade Good:
    • Bonecrusher in the first movie; Sideswipe, the Arcee triplets, Wheelie, Demolishor in ROTF.
    • ROTF's robot designs have a lot of fun with unusual methods of robot propulsion. Apart from the aforementioned, there's also a Pogo-Stick (Rampage) variation. The toy version of Rampage goes yet a step further, turning him into a "crab centaur" of sorts. Some of the unused Constructicon concepts are even weirder.
  • Sapient Tank: Brawl from the first movie.
  • Say My Name:
    • Optimus Prime arrives in the city and confronts Megatron (who had just killed Jazz). They haven't seen each other in over 10,000 years. Their first words to each other?
      Optimus Prime: MEGATRON!
      Megatron: PRIIIIIME!
    • Optimus seems rather angry to see Megatron alive and well (well, the fact he's holding the corpse of one of Optimus's friends doesn't help), whereas Megatron seems almost happy to see the former.
    • And:
      Ironhide: IT'S STARSCREAM!
    • The first thing Megatron says once freed from his ice prison is his name, since the humans have been getting it wrong for decades.
      • Interestingly, in the comics, they have been getting it almost right, with many calling him "Mega Man" instead of NBE-1, after hearing him say it to Jetfire decades before but mishearing it. This includes Simmons' (great-)grandfather, one of the founders of Sector Seven.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Sam, Leo.
  • Screen Shake: Every action scene of importance.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • In Transformers, Megatron is kept on ice inside the Hoover Dam, and is pretty angry upon thawing out.
    • Prequel comics for Transformers: Dark of the Moon reveal Shockwave to be this; he was found by the USSR decades ago and had been sealed under Chernobyl for years. When he gets out, he's ticked off. And there's Sentinel Prime, who's been locked in stasis on board the Ark, which crashed on the moon.
  • Secondary Character Title: Judging from the amount of screentime and backstory the Transformers themselves received, it's safe to say they are the secondary characters in these adaptations. The reason why this is complained about so much is probably due to their being the main characters in other Transformers universes, while in this film they serve the same role as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but with the ability to speak.
  • Seen It All: Agent Simmons.
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • The filmmakers openly admitted that the first film had the robots kept in the background solely because of cost and as an experiment if the SFX would work. As a result it was mostly a small skirmish between 5 Autobots and 8 Decepticons. With the FX worked out, ROTF had at least 30 named robots (some only in supplemental materials) and another 10-15 generic unnamed robots. Dark of the Moon goes to the logical breaking point, an all out Alien Invasion and Robot War.
    • The Gorn gets more over the top in each installment, although it was slightly toned down after Dark of the Moon.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Optimus' closing narration and the shot of Starscream flying into space. The sequel has both Megatron and Starscream slinking away after they've lost, with Megatron vowing "this isn't over". That, and nobody ever knew about Soundwave who remains in orbit. Makes sense since they're the three quintessential Decepticons.
    • All it's supposedly the last film DOTM still doesn't have a direct ending, finishing just as the first two, with Optimus musing over their new home and how they'll protect it, although all the Decepticons, Megatron and Starscream included, are killed this time.
    • Like that's ever stopped Megatron and Starscream before.
  • Serkis Folk: This would be the only way to do decent live action Tranformers. Apparently, Bumblebee's movements were inspired by Michael J. Fox's performance in Back to the Future and Optimus Prime's movements were inspired by Liam Neeson in everything he does.
  • Shape Shifter Weapon: In an homage to the G1 cartoon where Optimus Prime and Megatron were shown to have energy weapons they could generate in place of their right hands (an axe and a flail, respectively), the first two films have all the Transformers' weapons be generated from their own bodies. Others had weapons adapted from the human weapons built onto their copied vehicle form, such as Blackout's Vulcan miniguns and tail rotor blades.
  • Shipper on Deck: Bumblebee to Sam and Mikaela in the first two movies, trying to set them up and keep Sam from cheating. Then he outdoes himself with the rings in the third.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The movies are practically dripping with references, mythology, and characterization from the entire rest of the franchise ranging from the original cartoon to the Furman-written comics to the IDW stuff to some of the pre-movie games, sometimes coming close Continuity Porn. Things such as names being exceptionally important to Transformers, Bumblebee being rough and tough, being able to give life to lifeless machines, Decepticlones, Transformers being able to be frozen by extreme cold... most of the things in the movie (especially the griped-about bits) are actually pretty obviously attempts to reference stuff from earlier iterations of the franchise.
    • In particular, the Fallen is from a relatively recent and obscure comic book and they chose him as a character because he was both "primeval" and not immediately known to anyone who's even heard of Transformers.
    • There is also a level of great accuracy shown in the scenes when the military is involved. For example, the scene where Lennox's team calls for an air strike in the first film not only uses accurate dialogue used by U.S Air Force personnel in initiating an air strike, but has actual U.S military personnel speaking this dialogue and acting out their real-life roles.
  • Silent Bob:
    • Bumblebee's voice synthesizer is broken. He uses audio clips to convey his thoughts. The sequel kind of lampshades this by showing it can be hard for 'Bee to explain things to Sam like this, such as the hot blond girl being actually a Decepticon.
    • It's also insinuated that Bumblebee is intentionally doing it to be cute, as Sam mentions that he's "playing it up."
  • The Smurfette Principle: The series has exactly one female Autobot, who gets one short line and appears on screen in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen for the entirety of thirty-eight seconds (before getting blasted away), making her appearance more or less a cameo.
    • Depending on the medium. In the film itself there are three female Autobots: Arcee, Elita One and Chromia. Arcee gets the most screen time and the line, but the sisters do get a good fight scene with Sideswipe at the beginning. In the novel and comics Arcee is the central component with Chromia and Elita One as drone units she controls and they can combine into a larger robot.
    • Arcee was cut at the last minute from the first movie and was replaced by Ironhide because of negative fan reaction to her. Also, it was decided that there wasn't enough time to discuss why there were female Transformers in the first place (not that it stopped them from appearing in the second movie). There are a handful of female human characters, though most are simply eye candy.
  • Space Is Cold: Averted. The Transformers are vulnerable to extreme cold, but are fine in space. The trope's prevalence led to some calling this a Plot Hole.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Due to a damaged voice box, Bumblebee "speaks" entirely by replaying radio transmissions he's heard.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A major complaint against the film series is that the humans, particularly Shia Labeof, get way too much screen time and more attention should be paid to the robots.
  • The Starscream:
    • Although Starscream doesn't really do his usual either film... although a popular theory is that Starscream hid himself among the F-22's firing on Megatron.
    • In fact, Megatron punishes him mercilessly for fleeing at the end of the first movie's climactic battle and assuming leadership over the Decepticons since then.
    • He does, however, act like his usual self in the prequel novel for the first movie. He attempts to take control of the 'Cons in Megatron's absence, but they're not having it (only the fact that he's stronger than they are keeps them from getting rid of him.)
    • Megatron is the biggest Starscream of them all in the third movie, to Sentinel Prime.
  • Supporting Leader: Optimus Prime.
  • Technology Porn: The transformation sequences can get really elaborate.
  • They Look Like Us Now
  • This Loser Is You: Sam Witwicky is supposed to be the "everyman" in the Transformers movies, but he's entitled, unsympathetic and self-centered, and intended to be an Audience Surrogate.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Skids and Mudflap in ROTF
    • Wheelie and Brains in DOTM.
  • Time Abyss: The Fallen betrayed the Dynasty of Primes nearly 20,000 years ago, and Optimus and Megatron were born after that. This makes them considerably younger than most incarnations.
  • Token Romance: Sam and Mikaela/Carly. Their relationship could be removed and it wouldn't affect the story at all.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Keeping your headphones on whilst a giant insectoid is crawling underneath the sand is a sure way to get impaled through the chest. Sgt. Donnelly learned this the hard way.
    • At first, The Fallen seems fairly smart. He absolutely does NOT come to Earth until Optimus Prime (apparently, the only one who could kill him), is dead. After Optimus is brought back to life, The Fallen makes his appearance by scattering the Autobots and soldiers, stealing the Matrix (the only thing capable of bringing Optimus to life), pinning Optimus to the ground whilst sneering down at him... and then teleporting away to turn the Harvester on. Sure, at the time Optimus was too weak to do anything and no-one could predict Jetfire giving him his parts, armor and weaponry, but if The Fallen had killed him then (y'know, just to be sure), he could have avoided giving Optimus his face. In his defense, he was more concerned with activating the machine than disposing of his enemies.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Simmons levels up between the first two films.
    • Sam in the third. Oh wow, Sam in the third. He kills Starscream! He also helps bee take out Laserbeak and lives up to his threat of killing Dylan.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers for ROTF blatantly show the resurrection of Megatron. Also Devastator. Also, Sam gets the Matrix. The Matrix is unrecognizable as such until one actually sees the film.
    • The first one is a subversion though, in that it puts the audience on the wrong foot. Since people know that Megatron comes back, they assume that he is the Fallen from the title, and therefore they will not look for more obscure possibilities, like Megatron only being second in command).
    • Subverted by the trailers for DOTM. You may think Shockwave is the Big Bad. And his spectacular entry in the movie itself may still lead the viewer into believing that.
  • Trilogy Creep: Hasbro has recently announced there will be a fourth film. Michael Bay stated that third film would be his last, but the sheer profitability of the movies has plenty of people pushing for another. Bay later said he might return but he wants to do a smaller movie in between, as the two sequels were filmed on a breakneck schedule with only two years in between installments.
  • Troperiffic: And how!
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Michael Bay may have induced moderate fan anger by killing the only "black" transformer in the first film, but it is the portrayal of Skids and Mudflap as violent jive-talking hood rats in Revenge of the Fallen that has attracted outright hatred over the internet. Click here for an example. Most this hatred is questionable of robots that learn to speak through the internet, but oh well.
  • Vehicular Assault: Ridiculously common.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Given that the Decepticons could hack the Pentagon's mainframe, they could have easily used the same skills to get themselves a post office box and a paypal account, and bought the glasses off of Sam, since he was openly trying to sell them. Instead they tried to shake him down for the glasses, which brought Sam into contact with the Autobots.
    • To build a Solar Harvester the Primes demanded to use solar systems that did not support life, Earth was originally believed to be uninhabited and the Solar Harvester was already complete when humanity was discovered. The Fallen refused to look for another planet and tried to activate the Havester without their consent, just because he didn't like having to start over.
    • The comics published by IDW would go on to explain that the Fallen had been displeased with this rule for some time, and had been preparing to betray the other Primes over it. This was simply when he chose to do so.
  • War Is Glorious AND War Is Hell: Amazingly manages to convey both sentiments.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In the first film, Barricade shows up in the group of Decepticons chasing the Autobots before Bonecrusher's rampage, but disappears for the rest of the film. The comic and novelization of the first movie have him killed by Optimus right after Bonecrusher, but apparently this was changed at the last minute. Roberto Orci said that his disappearance was intended as a possible thread for Revenge, but things just got lost somewhere along the way, possibly due to the 2007 Writers Strike. He does show up in DOTM, but nothing is made of his absence.
    • Scorponok vanishes after getting shot up in the desert, then shows up during the climactic battle in ROTF.
    • Wheelie vanishes before the combat begins at the climax of ROTF, but he shows up as being in Sam's custody in DOTM where he has a full presence up to and including an apparent Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Scalpel (the Decepticon doctor) disappears immediately after Optimus and Bumblebee become Big Damn Heroes. The novelization states that Optimus blew him up right after. In DOTM, we see two non-speaking robots that look just like him, though - one or the other may be the doc-bot, or not.
    • Fig, the soldier talking about how juicy alligator meat is from the first film, the one wounded in the fight with Scorponok and carried out on a stretcher. Presumably, he doesn't show up for the rest of the movie because he's recovering from his injuries, but the only reason he's absent in ROTF is the actor having a scheduling conflict and being unable to film it. Then again, his role was just minor enough that we might not think of him were it not for Bay mentioning this to begin with.
    • So if we want the story with the plotlines filled, we should forget the movie and just read the comic/novel.
    • The twins attempt to fight Devastator but fall off. They then disappear for the last half-hour of the movie. However, we do see Simmons and Leo again, so...
    • John Malkovich's character disappears completely after the first half of DOTM, although since his importance to the story was gone at that point he's not really missed.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Soldiers, federal agents and Decepticon troops drop like flies in the intense battle scenes.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • The protagonists seem to be a bit too eager to torture, mutilate, and murder Decepticons when given any opportunity. Mikaela takes a blowtorch to Wheelie's eye, Sideswipe boasts how awesome he is at vivisecting a fleeing Decepticon, Ironhide executes the critically-wounded Demolisher, and Optimus seems terrifyingly eager to mutilate Decepticon faces.
    • There's a scene in DOTM where the Wreckers are ordered to pull out a Decepticon pilot from its downed ship and kill him, and they do it by tearing him piece by piece, not giving him a swift death. Okay, he had gratuitously killed several humans just before, but some may find it disturbing still.
    • In every movie, the robots' deaths are gratuitously violent. To those arguing the opposite, watch the movies, but imagine the robots were human. Be horrified. Alternately, put yourself in the shoes of a robot.
  • Word of God: Various information such as Barricade's disappearance from the movie and how much Sam's parents knew at the end credits were explained by the screenwriters and tie-in comics.
  • World of Badass: Cybertron. And Earth, apart from all the comic reliefs, too. And some of them can get dangerous as needed.
  • World of Ham: Where to start?
  • Xenofiction: Averted; see Pragmatic Adaptation above. Technically, the only Transformers series that has nothing to do with humans or Earth is Beast Machines, so it's more of a ratio rather than straight Human-Focused Adaptation.
  • The X of Y: All subtitles of the sequels so far.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: A recurring motif in the series. Cybertron was damaged beyond repair by the war, and the AllSpark's destruction ensures that it may never be brought back to its pre-war state again. The third film also possibly implies that the Space Bridge's destruction caused Cybertron to collapse on itself, leaving the Autobots with only Earth as their home.
  • You Will Be Spared:
    • Megatron tells Sam that in exchange for the AllSpark, Megatron will make Sam his pet.
    • In DOTM, Dylan Gould mentions that the Decepticons promised to keep him safe in exchange for his help.

    Tropes for works connected to the films 
  • All There in the Manual: Along with the prequel novels, there are several comic books dedicated to detailing the story between the flashbacks in ROTF and what lead to the Autobot / Decepticon split, and circumstances of the AllSpark leaving Cybertron.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The Sector Seven ARG for the first movie, which reveals that the Transformers franchise is a Masquerade created to cover up the truth: that Sector Seven and transforming alien robots are real...
  • Animated Adaptation:
    • Transformers: Animated was produced in anticipation of the movie's popularity, but the story is a whole other Alternate Continuity line. As such, there are several direct nods to these films: Megatron's Cybertronian form looks like a simplified version of his movie incarnation, Bumblebee having a racing stripe and Blackout shows up in season three. The Japanese translation was initially announced to turn this series into a direct adaptation, but so far the only real difference is that Bulkhead's name was changed to Ironhide. The canceled fourth season was supposed to come even closer, with Ironhide and Jazz replacing Bulkhead and Prowl on the Earth team and the remaining Autobots using new color schemes more reminiscent of the movie - yes, including flame decals on Optimus.
    • The Wal-Mart DVD has Transformers: Beginnings, which is a Limited Animation adaptation of the IDW prequel comics. About its only positive draw was that it had Frank Welker as Megatron, and that turned out to be not so great because he used an age-affected version of his G1 Megatron voice (Welker's performances as Movieverse Megatron, which are even less deep and growly than Megatron's voice in G1, have caused quite a few fans to dread Welker reprising his role again). Peter Cullen as narrator was advertised, but that turned out to be inaccurate—it was narrated by Mark Ryan, who did Cute Mute Bumblebee's one spoken line ever.
    • Transformers: Prime is even closer to an adaptation in spirit, even including the writers as Executive Producers. Most of the series takes cues from the films as Optimus, Megatron and Bumblebee have nearly identical designs. Compare movie Bumblebee to Prime Bumblebee.
  • Anyone Can Die: Characters from the toylines frequently show up just to die.
  • Arc Welding: Comes hand in hand. The comics are filled with a metric tons' worth of explanations for what's going on in the films. For example:
    • Why the AllSpark was launched into space, and why it ended up on Earth of all places. It homed in on the Solar Harvester.
    • How the war even began in the first place.
    • Why Megatron is working for the Fallen.
    • Why Soundwave wasn't present in the first film, even though he was on Earth since the 1970s.
    • Where Brains came from.
    • Why the Autobots aren't based out of Diego Garcia in DOTM, and where Jolt went.
    • How, when and why Shockwave arrived on Earth.
    • The explanation for where the information from the AllSpark went. It ended up transferring into the Matrix.
  • Continuity Snarl: There is very little that is consistent between different comic adaptations, novelizations and the movies. This includes backstory chronology, character biographies and other specific details (a big one being Arcee's combined or not combined nature). According to the Transformers "Multi-Verse" theory that Hasbro insists upon, all of these versions exists in some form.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: The Alternate Reality Game based on the films indicate the entire franchise franchise is truly one of these, with Transformers: Generation 1 being a ruse to hide first contact between our races and the films being a response to increased Decepticon activity. Agent H. Weaving was assigned to the films to maintain utmost control.
  • Genius Bruiser: According to supplemental material, Optimus Prime was head of the Cybertronian Science division before the war started.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Produced by Stern Pinball in 2011. Click here.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: Apparently the Three Mile Island disaster was the result of Sector Seven experimenting with Energon.