Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Poster Image
Violent, crude, pointless sequel just isn't kids' stuff.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 147 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 173 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 228 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Any positive messages about friendship and fellowship are negated by the film's objectification of women and frequent use of phrases like "bitch" and "p---y" in a film ostensibly aimed at kids. There's also some racial and ethnic stereotyping; while a giant robot with a wacky "Scottish" accent seems harmless, two robots with protruding ears, grotesque features, and a propensity for thuggish rap slang like "pop a cap in his ass" and "get up in that ass" are less easy to write off as wacky fun.

Positive role models & representations

While Optimus Prime is a stalwart defender of the innocent, the other characters are so thinly crafted that it's virtually impossible to find anything to admire. Sam is loyal to his robot friends, but, again, the film is so suffused and soaked in bullets, bombs, and bombast that it's hard to hear the positivity over the explosions.

Violence

Nonstop explosions, gunfire, bombardments, and barrages affecting human beings, as well as tons of combat to the death between robotic (but intelligent and self-aware) aliens. Bodies are hurled by explosions and battle, and there's some scary torture/medical imagery. Extensive robotic carnage and destruction, as well as pushing, shoving, and scuffling. There's a threat to the sun, which, if carried out, will wipe out all human life.

Sex

Plenty of cleavage, shots of panty-clad bottoms, kissing. Dogs hump each other, and a robot proceeds to do the same to a woman's leg. A husband and wife engage in a little saucy talk and bottom-grabbing. Some suggestive talk about young men at a college party being "on the hunt."

Language

Above-average level of strong language for a PG-13, including one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "p---y," "piss," "damn," "balls," "ball sack," "punk ass," "crap," "oh my God," "bitch," and "ass."

Consumerism

Considering that the movie is based on a toy line by Hasbro -- and co-produced by Hasbro -- you could argue that the entire thing is an exercise in product placement. Other brands shown on screen or mentioned include car makes, manufacturers, and models (including General Motors, Volvo, Camaro, etc.), Mountain Dew, Budweiser, State Farm, OnStar, CNN, and more.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

It's implied that characters drink liquor and beer in social settings. A parent also mistakenly eats some marijuana brownies and babbles incoherently, runs about, and tackles strangers.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the sequel to 2007's Transformers. It's edgier and less kid-friendly than the first. Kids will want to see it because they're the ones who play with the toys the movie was inspired by, but it's packed with metal-on-metal mayhem and brutally violent action scenes that are too much for them. While most of the combatants are giant robots, the film's human characters are in constant peril, and the explosions never seem to stop. There are also eyebrow-raising amounts of sexualized and even racially insensitive material, as well as strong language (including one use of "f--k" and frequent uses of words like "bitch" and "p---y"). Plus, it's essentially a long commercial for both cars and toys.

User Reviews

Adult Written byannbbach June 26, 2009
DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE! The first Transformer movie is my daughter's all tiem favorite movie. This second one is totally different and AWFUL! So unlike the...
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion August 13, 2010

Wow. (And Not in a Good Way.)

Look up top. Every single category of innapropriate content is highlighted. There are no positives. Not only is this movie endlessly crude, vulgar, and oftentim...
Kid, 12 years old June 25, 2009

Wow. Just Wow.

Wow. Just wow. I knew it was going to be bad (Michael Bay has never been one for such silly things as "plot" or "subtlety") but this movie r...
Teen, 14 years old Written bytoysorama. July 21, 2015

Really stupid

What's the point. Think of every stereotype ever...thought of them? Okay good...they're all in this movie. Oh and the movie sucks.

What's the story?

In TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky is off to college. But the long-simmering war between the noble Autobots and the villainous Decepticons is about to boil over again as Sam learns he's the receptacle for eons-old information that everyone wants -- information that includes the location of a weapon that could be used to destroy the sun, along with all life on Earth.

Is it any good?

The faults of the first Transformers movie are even worse here. Director Michael Bay brings in robot after robot after robot, making it impossible to tell the metal mega-warriors apart and resulting in action scenes where who's doing what to who is conveyed more by screaming bystanders than clear, comprehensible filmmaking. Whether you loved or hated the original Transformers, it made so much money that a sequel was inevitable. It was not, however, necessarily inevitable that said sequel would be good.

The human characters aren't much better -- the film bogs down in scenes where Sam's parents are concerned about him heading off to school, only to jettison all that in the name of globe-trotting action. The relationship between Sam and girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox) is laughably thin, and the film's need to overdo everything results in either misshapen comic relief scenes or action scenes so loud and large and quickly cut that they're simply empty blurs. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is, at heart, the worst of everything that modern big-money moviemaking has to offer -- spectacle, sex, special effects, and sanitized violence -- without a single redeeming feature.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's robot-on-robot violence. Are brutal dismemberments, stabbings, and shootings easier to take when they involve large metal robots instead of flesh-and-blood humans? Even when the robots talk, think, and "die" like people?

  • Families can also talk about the consumerism side of things. What do kids make of the fact that this is a movie based on a line of toys? Is the movie's goal to sell more toys? If not, what is it?

  • You can also bring up the movie's stereotyping -- including the robot "Twins," one of whom has a gold tooth and later explains that he can't decipher hieroglyphics because "We don't do much readin'." Are those kinds of caricatures funny or offensive? Why?

  • And you can discuss whether the movie objectifies women. Why is more screen time devoted to the leading actresses' bodies than their characters? Why do male characters not get the same treatment?

Movie details

For kids who love sci-fi action

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