Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens June 29 after its June 23 premiere at the Moscow Film Festival. So far reviews confirm that the third installment of this mega-franchise indeed delivers visual spectacle lacking from most post-Avatar 3-D. Some say the movie is too long and may actually make you miss Megan Fox's acting chops. One writer compares Fox to Kate Winslet, while Brit replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley "suck[s] the life out of every scene she appears in," says TotalFilm. "[Shia] LaBeouf has graduated to full-on liability," according to Daily Mail. Character-wise, it's the robots coming out on top, causing one critic to speculate; "One gets the feeling that if [director Michael] Bay could stop including people in his films altogether we'd all have a much better time with this franchise."
Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail:
"it follows the same template as the first two films: 90 minutes of near-unwatchable plot filler, bad slapstick, dubious racial stereotypes and crude softcore followed by a solid hour of indistinguishable shiny objects smashing into each other while their faceless human counterparts run about shouting ‘Go!’…LaBeouf has graduated to full-on liability, his shrieking, barking, berserker performance just one of many inexplicable elements in this shouty, infuriating film. But he’s Laurence Olivier next to Huntington-Whiteley, whose blank, pouty turn as Sam’s new squeeze makes one long for the good old days of Megan Fox…mostly this is fairly agonising: long, loud, lurid and lacklustre."
Justin Chang, Variety:
"If the world needed another epic cinematic clash between Autobots and Decepticons (and that's a Megatron-sized if), it certainly gets one in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." A considerably better modulated, more bearable experience than "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," Michael Bay's latest gift to little boys and aspirin companies everywhere places ever more advanced CGI wizardry in service of an orgiastic pileup of crushed metal and cataclysmic mayhem. Climaxing with an hourlong setpiece that lays waste to most of Chicago, Paramount's 3D tentpole should leave the summer B.O. competish in roughly the same condition."
Anthony O'Connor, FilmLink:
"The original Transformers was a meat-headed bit of robot-porn for explosion fetishists. However it was like The Godfather compared to the skull-crushingly awful sequel, Revenge of the Fallen…[The latest chapter falls] somewhere between the first two. It's certainly better than the previous chapter but that's hardly a lofty claim…Just to be clear, Huntington is laugh-out-loud awful…That said she has way too much screen time and makes you yearn for the subtle nuance of Fox's performance. Seriously. There isn't a single vaguely decent female character here, which is sad, but probably won't affect the box office…One gets the feeling that if Bay could stop including people in his films altogether we'd all have a much better time with this franchise…Ultimately Transformers: Dark of the Moon is 93 distinctly average minutes combined with 60 pretty good minutes. Better than expected but for the money spent and talent involved, it's still a fairly dodgy outing."
Drew McWeeny, HitFix:
"seen in IMAX 3D, [it] is an overwhelming sensory experience. The sound mix alone is more exciting than anything in the billion-dollar-bore of Pirates 4. This is gigantic action we've never seen before,..[It] is easily the best film in the series,..Sentinel Prime is a great addition to the series, and Nimoy plays him perfectly. It's a real performance, and as a result, it makes the rest of the Transformers feel more real. Cullen is very good in this one, and the rest of the robot cast manages to impress as well…the series does not miss [Megan Fox] at all now that she's gone. Huntington-Whiteley turns out to be a very winning on-screen personality, charming and sweet, and she seems well aware that Michael Bay is shooting her like a car in a car commercial…There are so many money shots that haven't been in the trailers so far that Scrooge McDuck could go swimming in them…This is a meticulously designed 3D experience, and Bay impresses often and in a real-world setting that makes this more surreal than "Avatar" in many ways."
Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile:
"In sheer scale you've got to give it credit, this third film in the Transformers franchise is quite a spectacle. Like its two predecessors, it is overlong and loud, filled with mega-stunts, gob-smacking special effects, a healthy sprinkling of humour, exotic locations, a grandiose music score and plenty of excess."
Neil Smith, Total Film:
"Admittedly, it takes a while for the pieces to fall into place and for characters (flesh and metal) to reveal their true colours. But once they do, the stage is set for a final hour of über-destructive robot wars in the streets and skies of Chicago,..Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is awful – awful! – as LaBeouf’s new love interest, sucking the life out of every scene she appears in like some pneumatic Dyson sexbot. Huntington-Whiteley is so terrible, in fact, she makes her co-stars bad too. LaBeouf, for one, has rarely looked so sweatily desperate than in scenes where he is obliged to simulate ardour."
Thomas Caldwell, Cinema Autopsy:
"Bay has delivered another empty spectacle that is overlong and mostly tedious. For a film centred on action set pieces it contains a lot of dull exposition and the humour is either cheesy or very simple innuendo…If nothing else Transformers: Dark of the Moon may one day becoming a teaching tool to demonstrate how ideology is expressed through mass entertainment cinema, in the same way that English students are encouraged to read tabloid newspapers to learn about persuasive language. The hyper-conservative agenda in this film is so pronounced that it almost renders parodies like Team America: World Police redundant."
Jim Vejvoda, IGN:
"It's certainly the best one in this hugely successful, but widely loathed franchise. It's devoid of Decepticon testicles, Autobot heaven, offensive robots -- and Megan Fox…Bay's action scenes here are bigger, better and more brutal than any in the first two films, even though it's still tough at times to tell the robots apart in battle. That said, the 'bots have far more distinct personalities than in the past movies…Shia remains the reason why the viewer is even interested in whatever human element this VFX-driven franchise offers,..Rosie Huntington-Whiteley makes you forget all about Megan Fox within moments of seeing her onscreen,..The robots remain the real reason why people go to see these movies (sorry, Shia) and, thankfully, they're better served here than they were last time around."