Nobody went to the first Transformers for Shia LaBeouf. Nobody went for Megan Fox either (well, maybe some of us did). Everybody who saw that summer blockbuster two years ago went for the robots — the shape-shifting, ass-kicking, totally awesome robots. In this overblown sequel, director Michael Bay wisely keeps the camera on the Autobots and Decepticons for most of the movie, shoving aside what little plot there is to make room for big, explosive set pieces where tons of shit blows up. This time around, the “story” has something to do with a reborn and revenge-minded Megatron returning to Earth to kidnap LaBeouf’s Sam and then take over the planet. But who really cares? It’s all about bigger and badder battles that span Sam’s front yard to the Egyptian desert. At two and a half hours, there’s plenty of time to get to know Revenge of the Fallen’s bots, but Bay is more focused on big bangs, cheap laughs and having his metal heroes call opponents “punk-ass Decepticons.” LaBeouf and Fox are back (our first glimpse of her is a slow-mo shot of her cut-offs-clad ass); so are Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and a bunch of little Gremlin-like Transformers. Sam is in college now, giving Bay the opportunity to cause some major property damage on campus. He also introduces a horny coed who’s a literal man-eater. It all spills over into one of the movie’s best scenes. But too much of Revenge of the Fallen is loud, plodding (does it really need to be two and a half hours?) and totally obnoxious. There’s also an ages-old alien conspiracy thrown into the mix, just in case all the other noisy stuff happening onscreen isn’t enough to wear you out. ** 1/2
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