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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Sentinel Prime: Was he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who only wanted his people to have their home restored, or was he an old bastard who simply wanted to return to an era where he was revered as a god?
    • Dylan Gould: Is he a Jerkass Woobie who was unfortunate enough to inherit his dad's allegiance with the Decepticons, or simply a Dirty Coward who wanted to be on the "winning" side?
      • One is also reminded of Saren Arterius, another organic who made a desperate deal with Humongous Mecha From Space in the hopes of saving some remnant of civilization. This is a bit of a stretch, though, as Gould does not express any such sentiment.
    • Megatron: Was he earnest when he wanted a truce, or did he just want to reclaim his role as Decepticon leader? Keep in mind, how you interpret this will also say something about Optimus's following actions.
  • Badass Decay: Megatron suffers hard from this, although this is at least partly justified by his injuries in the previous film (the novelization even implies that he has a third of his brain missing). Throughout the movie, he behaves in a somewhat tired manner and tends to stay away from the battlefield, all while getting kicked around by both Sentinel and Optimus (getting killed by the latter in a Curb Stomp Battle when he starts actually trying to fight).
  • Contested Sequel: It's better than the wretched and reviled predecessor or just as bad?
  • Crazy Awesome: Jerry Wang.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Jerry Wang, due to his status. Dino/Mirage may also count for some, and as always, Sideswipe, carrying over from this status in the previous film.
  • Hate Dumb: Suffers incredibly from this, partly due to the Hype Backlash against the previous movie and Michael Bay in general, though it may also be because, like many things, the films are primarily for teenaged boys and adults who act like teenaged boys so anyone outside the demographic will likely dislike it. Although some negative reviews and complaints about the movie are completely valid[1], a good few of the movie's negative reviews suffer from Cowboy Bebop at His Computer / Did Not Do the Research[2], shallow criticism without justification, and plain old inattention[3]. Similar to the previous movie, it was nominated for "Worst Picture" at the Razzies; arguably, the Hype Backlash in this case is more blatant. The entirety of Movie Juice's review (of which many believe they didn't bother to watch the film) of this film consists of this: Rating the film 'rancid', making a comment about how any film produced by a toy company is stupid, make joke about funny names, make joke about transforming robots, make joke about the fanservice, repeat step three to 5 over and over. When called out on this, the reviewer replied by just trolling the comment. Not a good day for movie reviewers, or reviewers in general.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the novelization, Wheelie suggests that the USS Enterprise, as depicted in Star Trek: The Original Series, could be revealed as a Decepticon, with the nacelles becoming gigantic cannons, in one episode. Fast forward to Star Trek vs. Transformers and guess what Fortress Maximus took on as his alternate mode.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The writers might be prepared to kill off Wheeljack and even Ironhide, but Bumblebee? Get real!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Sentinel Prime crosses this when he reveals himself as a traitor willing to enslave humaity in order to ensure Cybertron is rebuilt, killing Ironhide in the midst of revealing it.
    • Any sympathy for Dylan pretty much leaves when one sees the lengths he's willing to go to ensure that he isn't harmed by the coming Alien Invasion. Of particular note is when he reassures himself that he's safe... while watching hundreds of innocent civilians be slaughtered by the Decepticons.
  • Padding: It's 2:30 hours long, so a few people find many scenes unnecessary.
  • Replacement Scrappy: This was anticipated with Megan Fox / Mikaela's departure and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley brought in as a new character, as a lot of fans appreciated that Mikaela wasn't a useless screaming love interest and disliked that Rosie was a Victoria's Secret model with no prior acting experience. The potential anger was ebbed slightly when Rosie's character was named Carly after the G1 character and Rosie herself commented on being proud of being a part of the franchise. But to a lot of people's surprise both Rosie's acting and Carly herself turned out better than expected, as Rosie wasn't a rehash of Mikaela as a blonde and she was consistently cheerful and friendly even through Sam's moody moments in the movie.
    • On the other hand, one hilariously vicious review said that Dark of the Moon is the only movie that could possibly make you miss the acting talents of Megan Fox.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap: Wheelie was better received than in the second movie because A) no leg humping and B) he actually helps in the climactic battle. Along with his partner, the even more quirky Brains, they manage to liven up the mood without being too obnoxious.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Wheeljack (aka "Que" as named in the movie): Aside from being a far cry from his Generation 1 cartoon counterpart, his uncanny appearance is also decried as "the worst thing created by man."
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Of course it is up for debate, but the movie does aim to fix the problems that happened in the second film and fans were generally impressed with some of the plot twists like Sentinel's betrayal and Ironhide's death, Gould's reveal as a bad guy and Carly convincing Megatron to retake his leadership of the Decepticons.
  • Uncanny Valley: Wheeljack/Que's face might seem a little too human-like for some viewers.
    • Most of the time they show their CG JFK's face out of focus. They focus on it one time briefly. And boy is it creepy.
    • There's also the CGI version of Sam as he swings around after stabbing Starscream in the eye. The CGI becomes noticeable when they show the close up of his face.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It's shown in the third film that humans are aware of the Transformers, and that the Autobots are not well liked by the US population (being referred to as "alien mercenaries"). There are clear reasons for this dislike; the Autobots cause countless property damage in their battles, and there's the fact that the average US citizen has to worry about whether or not the car or machine near them is not a dangerous alien warrior. Sadly, the movie only touches lightly on this, and never really explores how the Transformers' known presence has affected the world at large.

Notes

  1. such as Shia's over acting in some scenes or repeating certain clichés like Optimus' Big Damn Heroes moments over and over
  2. such as Megan Fox's acting being criticized
  3. one critic admitted to playing a video game during the movie's entire runtime
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