Now that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is here, the knives are out, and the kid gloves are off. (I'm sure we could rustle up a few more cliches if you'd like.) Reviewers have been calling the film "ugly," "tin-eared" and "bereft of wit," and even those who sort of like the film seem to be (here's that other cliche) damning it with faint praise.
Here are a dozen of the best and worst mainstream review comments we could find:
"Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a visually ugly film with an incoherent plot, wooden characters and inane dialog. It provided me with one of the more unpleasant experiences I've had at the movies."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The screenwriter for this latest rehash is listed as Ehren Kruger, but Transformers 3 might as well have been written by a machine, given its tin-eared comedy and noisy soullessness. ... Blockbusters don't have to be brainless and soulless, but apparently director Michael Bay thinks otherwise."—Claudia Puig, USA Today
"I can't decide if this movie is so spectacularly, breathtakingly dumb as to induce stupidity in anyone who watches, or so brutally brilliant that it disarms all reason. What's the difference?"—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon—high on any list of the worst blockbusters ever (move over Green Lantern, you've been bitch-slapped)—is a movie bereft of wit, wonder, imagination, and any genuine reason for being. Watching it makes you die a little inside."—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Director Michael Bay, Hollywood's answer to the Antichrist, isn't primarily interested in your soul, though his movie does a pretty effective job of sucking that away (and sucking, in general)."—Lou Lumenick, The New York Post
"Frances McDormand, playing a government bigwig, can now rest content knowing she has given the worst performance of her career."—Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor
"With a story that's not as messy and muddled as the last film, Bay manages to bring a darker and more dangerous tone to the plot. ... Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a fantastic feast of all-action entertainment... the first big summer blockbuster is one worth catching."—Mark Adams, The Daily Mirror
" ... here Bay makes his best, most flexible use yet of all the flamboyant bigness at his command: Computer-drawn characters and human actors seem to occupy the same narrative for once."— Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon is 2 1/2-hours loud, with more clanging metal than a road tour of Stomp. Trucks and cars still turn into intergalactic warriors but the remarkable conversion is the way Bay turns two movies of cinematic scrap metal into a halfway decent third. Not rocket science by a moonshot but sporadically dumb fun."—Steve Persall, St. Petersburg Times
"The funniest, best-executed film in the Earth-protecting robots-that-look-like-cars-and-trucks series, Moon delivers the popcorn in gigantic fist-fulls of fun."—Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinal
" ... Dark of the Moon is almost an object lesson in lucidity next to the incoherent muddles of parts one and two. The signature noise and bombast remains, but this time it's possible to understand what's happening—not just in character dynamics, but also in the spatial relationships between people, machines, cataclysm and the endless one-upsmanship of physical destruction."—Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"In food terms, Dark of the Moon is like going to TGI Friday's and ordering everything on the menu and then going to Krispy Kreme and doing it again. It's not worth doing, it'll definitely make you sick and a lot of it will taste bad, but as a performance-art act of juvenile Id-fulfillment, it's magnificent. ... it's a momentous achievement and it will make untold amounts of money and you should see it even though it's hateful and empty and preaches the worst kind of reactionary violence without even really meaning it."—Andrew O'Hehir, Salon
See what we meant about that damning-with-faint-praise thing?
But what's important is—what did YOU think of Transformers: Dark of the Moon?