The third Transformers film is the best of them.
True, the film’s overture has a bit too much exposition, but this serves to keep it moving during an otherwise slow intro – and even becomes a major strength of the movie. It’s clear in every respect that a lot of thought and care was put into the film, as you can get it all without first wading (or waiting) through a massive back story and recap.
The exposition was delivered via a very transparent conversational device in the opening few minutes of the film, and it serves its purpose. I rolled my eyes through that scene, but that was the last one, the remaining elements of the movie were mostly great.
The only further exception was the occasional comic relief. There are a couple of characters in the film who are just too silly, and while their situation might be deadly serious, the camp they provided pulled me away from the film, and not at a time when I needed it.
The plot as a whole was deeper and more dramatic than expected. And not just actiony, I mean the plot really covers the themes of the Transformers in an excellent manner, and leaves the audience cheering and delighted.
In addition, the action scenes are much clearer that the previous two Transformers films.
In those, I frequently wondered just what was going on, and all the moving and reshaping would get too confusing.
In this film, I had no such moments. Yes, there was one scene where for a moment, I lost track of which robot was the Autobot, and which was the Decepticon, but I never completely lost track of what was going on in a scene. This was, in part, helped by good use of bullet-time, and other clarifying angles and effects.
The 3D was also impressive. I’m always amazed how much better 3D is when it’s filmed naturally with one of the actual 3D cameras, rather than faked in post. It feels natural here, and is never distracting or interfering.
The loss of Megan Fox to the franchise is really no loss at all. The new Transformers girl, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is sexier and more talented, and her character is nicer and more interesting.
Labeouf’s character has retained a bit of his near goofy clumsiness, but has traded in his inherent naiveté for a more compelling attitude streak, at times seeming almost too angry, though it serves the story well.
The real star in the cast this time, however is Leonard Nimoy, whose role as Sentinel Prime was little advertised. His performance (vocal only, of course) in the role was exceptional, and it was his characterization which really made the character, and thus the film, work on its most fundamental levels.
Overall, Dark of the Moon is the best of the Three Transformers films, which is unusual, as most franchises only degrade with subsequent sequels. A lot of care and attention was put into this film, rather than just counting on the momentum of the franchise to carry the picture.