I won't lie - this is the first TF film I've been excited about. The first two I've been anxious about more than anything. But this one I had the opportunity to see a preview of this in California earlier in the month where I was blown away with the spectacle of it (for one made more enjoyable through the use of 3D) and that the tone seemed darker after the silly hijinks of Revenge of the Fallen.
I hate getting excited for a film, because I always get let down.
But I loved the hell out of this installment. From the start the tone takes a shift toward more real, though the film does indulge the more improvisational and anarchic comedy used in the second film particularly during Sam's hunt for a job, but its fair to say that the light stuff only makes way for the dark as the plot unfolds. The plot and many of the characters introduced are scattergunned across the screen a bit carelessly but most get a few good moments to shine, and even a couple of the robots actually get a bit of time to display some personality (about frickin' time) though still none are totally fleshed out. But when some of them die you will feel it this time. You either like or hate Shia Le Bouf, and this film won't shift you one way or the other. I like him. His bit of stuff in this film is actually better than I thought she'd be, hardly ward winning, but she feels real despite that mouth. Their relationship works well and a bit more grown up.
SPOILERS (ish) COMING!
Part of the problem I had with the previous 2 films was that the plot was "don't let bad robot get bad thing or bad things will happen". Then the end battle with the impossible to kill baddy would take about 5 seconds to resolve. In this film not only do the bad guys have the thing from early on but the shit hits the fan by half way and victory is hard fought. The tone of the film gets darker, and the stakes get higher throughout. Again, about time.
Now, the 3D. I've watched quite a few 3D films and I'm firmly of the opinion that it's all a gimmick that adds little to anything. Avatar's day glow 3D did nothing for me, nor anything I've seen before or since. Until this film. The set pieces and action scenes are incredible and the 3D actually adds to the experience because those kibbly robots have perspective which makes following the action in Bay's busy movies that much easier and much more fun. He's staged the scenes to make the most of the effect with only a couple drawing way too much attention to themselves. Indeed looking back at his previous films a lot of the action is staged in planes, the camera always in motion which translated to 3D works pretty well too.
So there it is, the review I never expected to make. Michael Bay seems to have acknowledged his mistakes from the second film and delivered something a bit more meaty. He's still the king of explosions but somehow you care a bit more about the stuff blowing up.