I finally watched Transformers 2, on IMAX. ^_^ Well, it's not really a real IMAX, it's kinda like a fake IMAX/IMAX lite. The screen was bigger than a regular theater screen, but far from the real IMAX screen. Anyway, here are my impression of the movie.
***WARNING*** Spoilers ahead.
The good stuff:
-Optimus' fighting scenes are simply awesome. In the first movie, Optimus looked pretty weak for an Autobot leader, but on this movie, he kicks ass. One battle had him fighting 3 Decepticons all at once, including Megatron. He ripped some Decepticon heads/faces, literally, quite a few times.
-Soundwave is in the movie, complete with his familiar voice. Sure, he's just a satellite and didn't participate in any of the battles, but it's still cool to hear his signature voice again.
-Optimus and Jetfire "super-linking" is also awesome, albeit only temporary. I didn't expect this at all. Basically Jetfire sacrificed himself to combine with Optimus Prime, becoming a jet-pack/armor/big cannons. Powering up like this sounded more like something the Japanese would do, so I was completely surprised. Really awesome. Alas, the armors fell off at the end of the final battle, thus this is not a permanent feature.
-The first combiner appeared, Devastator. I always love the combiners in Transformers. Devastator is the first Decepticon combiner, and was featured in the movie. Sure, it's nothing like the cartoon version at all, but at least they did it. The downside is they didn't really show the individual smaller robots. It would've been more awesome if they have all the individual robots fighting first, and then combined mid-fight. Due to the more organic style the movie took, I thought they wouldn't be able to do combiners. Glad they did it.
-Most movies use fictional characters. In Transformers 2, they actually use Obama as the US president.
Things along the way that I guessed wrong:
-When I was shopping at Target, they have Superion, an Autobot combiner, as a Transfomers 2 movie toy lineup. It's a re-color of Superion from TF: Superlink, and did not match the organic style of the movie at all, but I was hoping he would show up. Alas, not the case. Only Devastator appeared.
-Although I did guess that Optimus is going to die, I thought he would be dead for good just like in the Transformers cartoon, thinking that they would bring Rodimus Prime in. But no, Optimus was revived.
-When Sam died, he met the ancient Primes. I thought Sam is going to be the actual Matrix of leadership himself, thus becoming a Transformers and combining with Optimus Prime, reviving him. Kinda like the Godmasters in TF: Masterforce where the Transformers have human partners. But no, he was revived and simply stab Optimus with the Matrix. Kinda wished he's dead for good though (more of that on my rant).
Now, the bad, the annoyances, the ugly, the sucky parts, aka my rant about the movie:
-Humans, humans everywhere. I mean God, even Megatron only had very minimal screen time. Forget about Ironhide, Ratchet, etc. Even Bumblebee didn't get that much screen time. Most of the scenes are about the humans. The amount of screen time spent on the humans are a lot more than the first movie. I mean come on, this is supposed to be a Transformers movie, a movie about robots. None of main human characters are even dead (only the cannon fodders were).
-Too much un-needed scenes. The scenes about Sam going to college are a complete waste of screen time. Too much unnecessary scenes (he's getting ready to go to college, leaving the house, the parents, going to college, his mom got high, going to college party, etc). Yeah, there are few funny scenes, but all of them are hardly related to the actual plot. Instead of this, they should show more scenes about the Autobots hunting down Decepticons, or put more background about Starscream building up his army. Something more about the Transformers, not about a teenager getting anxiety attacks.
-Too many un-needed characters. First, Leo Spitz, a conspiracy theorist geek. His character is pretty much a comic relief, who is hardly even funny. His character is completely unnecessary. In fact, I could imagine the movie without his character at all, and it's still going to be the same. Then there are the 2 stupid Autobots, Mudflap and Skids, that are supposed to be another comic-relief, but served nothing other than 2 un-needed annoyances. Next, Sam's parents. It's not like they are not needed, but they have too many un-needed screen time. They have more screen time than any of the the Autobots. Again, without them, the movie would've not changed that much. Next, Alice, a Decepticon Pretender. She's basically a Decepticon transforming into a human. Wait, what? Another un-needed character, which are shown mostly in those un-needed college scenes, and also a plot hole. If the Transformers can transform into a human, then why don't they all do that? Why bother with vehicles if they can simply blend in looking like humans? I thought I was watching Terminator 3. (Note that the Pretenders are actually featured in Transformers: Masterforce, but that's a Japanese only series)
-Too-many un-funny stereotype jokes. There are so many of these that sometimes the movie felt really unbearable. Sam's over-protective mom, Sam's "anxiety" attacks, the college weed, Sam's sexual awkwardness with Alice, Mudflap and Skid's banters, Jetfire's "old-man" behaviors and farting, all scenes about Leo, the soldier encounter at the border (New York? I don't get it), etc.
-When Jazz died in the first movie, the Autobots are clearly saddened by it. When Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots died, it's like nobody really cared except Sam. None of the Autobots (Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe) seemed to be bothered. I mean I would expect Ratchet to at least tried his hardest to revive/fix Optimus, but no, nothing.
-Sam Witwicky didn't die. Yeah, I really wish they killed this character. When Sam died, I was rejoicing. Finally! I was so happy that I can finally watch a Transformers movie without a story about some teenage angst issues. But no, suddenly he revived. What a waste. Hopefully they killed him in the 3rd movie.
-Too many obvious scenes selling Megan Fox. Yeah, Megan Fox is hot, but come on, please be a little bit more discreet about it. First scene, she was painting a small logo on her bike, wearing a super short shorts, and bending down. Yeah, right. the last quarter of the movie were the worst. They have a frantic battle scene between the military, Autobots, and Decepticons firing at each other, but then when Megan Fox was running, it's in slow mo. Not only once, but a few times. Megan Fox fell on the sand, slow-mo. Megan Fox doing something, slow-mo. I mean WTF? It's like Michael Bay gave up on the movie and simply using Megan Fox and bouncing tits to sell the movie.
-Simply not enough bots. Sure, Optimus did some superb fighting scenes, but other than those, none of the other Autobots do much. Ironhide, Ratchet, and Sideswipe have only a brief of screen time, and they're supposed to be the main Autobots. I barely saw Arcee. The Decepticons had better share, but still hardly enough screen time compared to the humans. I saw the annoying Leo a lot more than Megatron.
Transformers 2 is an eye popping CGI/explosion action fest. Although it's an okay movie, as a Trasformers movie, it's still disappointing. They could've done a lot more about the Transformers. Hopefully they would do better for the 3rd movie. I can't see any more reason to have Sam Witwicky character, other than to keep Megan Fox and use her as the movie's sex symbol.
What I want to see on the next movie: More combiners, Omega Supreme, Unicron, Fortress Maximus, more super-linking/power-up modes, and less/no humans. Oh well, they probably could've just had Megan Fox taking off her clothes as the 3rd movie and call it a day, and it will still sell.