It must be summer! Because the multiplexes are showing popcorn-munching, belief-suspending movies and one of the best deliverers of that is Michael Bay...
Transformers: the franchise has been subject to that all too common slope of diminishing returns, with the 2nd venture being universally panned. Word was that the team had taken on board the comments and purposefully set out to make a more satisfying outing this time round. And they nearly pull it off... nearly.
Everything is accounted for upon the screen - humour, guns, machines, sex, combat, transformations, double-crosses... so much so that it can feel like its an elaborate "colour-by-numbers" production when the final act comes clunking around.
The, ahem, plot and absence's from Revenge Of the Fallen, are quickly put aside in less than 2 lines of dialogue - Megan Fox dumped Shia's everyday hero so lets move on shall we? - and the much less convoluted plot rattles out at break-neck speed. Previous characters are shoe-horned into the proceedings (the parents are pointless, the army guys are superfluous, and Turturro, although fun, neither helps nor drives the story) whereas new additions - Malkovich and especially Tudyk - lighten up the screen with their presence.
The main problem with Dark Of The Moon is the feeling that it's 30 minutes too long. By the time the grand finale battle through the war-torn streets of Chicago (bloody impressive though it may be) arrives, you've got the seriousness of the predicament an hour ago but wonder why it can't it be solved that much quicker? After all the homages/rip-offs - Return Of The Jedi; Revenge Of The Sith; Secret Of My Success; War Of The Worlds; True Lies; MI:III; tv's The Event - you kinda wish for more Tudyk ("It's in Russian! It's like all the buttons you never push on a calculator!") and less of whiny Shia and Fox-wannabe Huntington-Whiteley.
The kids will love it, others may not.
UK release date: 29.06.11