And even though this line was spoken as a tribute to the 1986 animated “Transformers: The Movie”, it was very, very true. The film would indeed stand, while the sequel would fall.
Giving us an introduction to the film universe of the Autobots and Decepticons, Spielberg (a long-time fan) and Bay (who initially rejected the idea as a “stupid toy movie”) deliver a fairly good movie based upon a 1980’s toy. Sure a lot of the canon from both the popular ‘Generation 1’ cartoon and Marvel comic is jumbled and sacrificed a bit for updating on film, but the fact Optimus Prime walks the Earth is just plain cool. Perhaps due to Spielberg’s hand, the film has an almost 1950’s B sci-fi flick retro feel.
The story that is presented is for the most part coherent, smart and well paced and definitely takes you on the journey. Some plot points seem slightly useless and over the top as special-effects fodder (fantastic special FX all the same) but seeing a race of giant robots so easily interact with humanity on film makes it worth it. The film boasts of an impressive cast of some very good actors who appeared to relish their chance to go slightly campy and over the top while taking the serious plot points seriously and integrating with the CGI beautifully.
Sure, it took a hit from critics, but as they do with comic book movies, the professionals (and those not in the know) may have looked for too much from a toy/cartoon flick.