June 27, 2009

Revenge of the Fallen (or the Trouble with Sequels and Saving the Third Movie)

Filed under: Transformers — fairplaythings @ 2:51 pm

Three is just a bad idea

The typical pattern for franchise based films drawn from science fiction and the world of comics is as follows. The first one is generally good but, because the backstory needs to be established and the actors are getting use to the material, it always feels like it could be more. Lose of the origin story, the second one hits the ground running, knocking over all expectations and really tearing up the screen. The third film tends to suffer under the weight of expectations and time, as a director may leave or the studio puts on pressure or the freshness of ideas just aren’t there anymore. At best it fails to live up to expectations; at worse, it collapses under its own weight and kills the series.

And if the franchise survives to the fourth film, then all bets are off.

Examples are out there. The Star Wars trilogy, the four Star Trek: Next Generation films, Superman, Batman, Blade, X-Men, Spider-Man… The list goes on and on. Yes, in some cases (Jedi, Insurrection, X3), the film remains watchable, even enjoyable, but it never hits the peak established by their predecessor (in these cases, Empire, First Contact, X2). Add in the other cases (Superman III, Batman Forever, Blade Trinity, Spider-Man III, to say nothing of Superman IV: Quest for Peace or Batman and Robin) and it’s clear that they are nowhere near where their predecessors had been.

The Fallen digs in

A common problem (but by no means the only problem) in this last set of four films is the introduction of too many characters, which take screen time away from the central protagonist(s), while requiring new backstories of their own. I often wonder what would have been if the stories had attempted to jettison some of these characters, if the film would have turned out better. Take Spider-Man for instance. I’m not a fan of the series but there was something good about Spider-Man II, which featured a well-acted villain while not relying on as much of the sentimental garbage that took up too much time in the first film. But we went from Peter, MJ, Harry, Aunt May and Doctor Octopus, to Peter, MJ, Gwen Stacey, Aunt May, Harry/New Goblin, Sandman and Venom - too many villains and not enough focus on the key parts of the story.

Which brings us to the Fallen.

Revenge of the Fallen breaks the mold established above by simply jumping the excellent second movie and crashing ahead into the abyss of the third. And directoral queue, story editing and other glitches aside, one of the most substantive issues is simply the realization that it had too many characters whose individual narratives and stories were too small to have any impact and yet too numerous to allow the story to continue.

The forgotten

The forgotten

The first movie already had characters in droves. The introduction of Sam, Mikaela, Lennox, Epps, Madsen, Whitmann, Keller, and Simmons, as well as Sam’s parents, meant competing storylines that, at times, drew attention away from the focus of the story. Add in the Transformers, spotlighting on Bumblebee and Optimus and Megatron, with the others as supporting role, and you have a big cast to wield. But at least the storylines intermingled well, so that, at the end, our heroes were all together.

Barely keeping up

Who's the star here anyway?

Revenge of the Fallen loses Madsen, Whitmann and Keller, and gains Spitz, Alice and Morshadow, while picking up Mudflap, Skids, Wheelie, Jetfire, Starscream, Soundwave, Devastator, Ravage and the Fallen to add to the cast (to say nothing of the expanded armies on each side). So what happened? The Fallen relegated Megatron to second banana, while the twins ate into the time alloted to Bumblebee (already played for comic effect). I was actually left wondering why either Megatron or Bumblebee needed to be in the film in the first place, with Megatron’s fight scene aided by other Decepticons (thereby diminishing the character) and Bumblebee getting limited face time. And then Jetfire basically became a cranky Optimus Prime, in the hour and a half when he was out of the fight.

It’s no wonder that the movie never felt like it got going. The movie had to keep intersecting from one location to another to ensure a bit of time for this character and a little effort for that plot point. Sometimes there is something to be said for streamlined scripts.

So where do we go from here? Well, my prediction at this point is a massive opening week for Revenge of the Fallen, followed by a fall off of ticket sales rivalling Watchman and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. My gut feeling tells me this film doesn’t have the drawing power for repeating viewings by fans, and the combination of new movies and bad reviews will kill off all but the most curious. All this doesn’t limit the possibility of a third installment but it may well handcuff the length and the budget.

Ditching the hangers on

To come out with a third film, without rebooting altogether, we need to streamline this cast. Jettison all but a few key robots (Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, one or two others) and rely on the numbers for big epic battles. Focus on Mikaela and Sam’s story and use Lennox, Epps and Simmons with care and respect. And find one main storyline with maybe one or two sublines. Nothing elaborate. Perhaps a beacon from space calls the Autobots home to find their world further devastated by Decepticons, leaving our human friends and Bumblebee on Earth to find the key to final victory. Perhaps a sub-plot could be Sam deciding between duty and family with a pregnant Mikaela, with Bumblebee torn between his human alliances and the needs of his brothers-at-arms.

Anyway, something without so many stories. And perhaps with some more care given to backstory terminology like Energon, space bridges, matrixes and the like. That would be nice too.


  1. [...] already spoken extensive on Transformers: Revenge of the Bay here, here, here and here. I’m so done with that movie. The only redeeming thing about it is that [...]

    Pingback by fairplaythings.com » Killing in the name of Optimus Prime — August 18, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  2. [...] I know what I said about the movie and the toy line. So why on earth am I spotlighting Revenge of the Fallen toys in my TF of the Day, [...]

    Pingback by fairplaythings.com » Jolt (11-16-09) — November 16, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  3. the visual effects of the Revenge Of the Fallen is awesome, the fight scene is even more impressive _

    Comment by Dumbbell Set Weights · — November 4, 2010 @ 3:20 am

  4. [...] on the first two live action films. Readers of fairplaythings.com are well familiar with my initial reactions to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and multitude of issues with the film. My reaction was [...]

    Pingback by fairplaythings.com » Dark of the Soul - a fan laments Transformers 3 — June 28, 2011 @ 1:31 am

  5. [...] regular readers of this blog know, I was (putting it mildly) not enamored with its sequels, Revenge of the Suck or Suck of the Moon. And despite these viewing, Transformers does not have a place on my 10 [...]

    Pingback by fairplaythings.com » League Assignment #1 - It takes an assignment to bring out the writing muse — February 19, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  6. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It
    positively helpful and it has helped me out loads.
    I’m hoping to give a contribution & assist
    different customers like its aided me. Great job.

    Comment by du an can ho chung cu — June 1, 2016 @ 7:45 am

  7. If you wish for to take a good deal from this paragraph then you have to apply these methods to your won web site.

    Comment by d? án c?n h? Vinhomes Khánh H?i — June 8, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

  8. May I simply say what a comfort to discover somebody that
    actually understands what they are discussing on the net.
    You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make
    it important. More and more people should read this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised that you aren’t more popular given that you surely have the gift.

    Comment by tinh b?t ngh? vàng — June 9, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

  9. I just wanted to write a simple comment to appreciate you for some of the marvelous advice you are giving out on this site. My extensive internet research has now been recognized with reasonable know-how to talk about with my relatives. I would admit that we readers are definitely endowed to dwell in a magnificent network with very many awesome professionals with beneficial ideas. I feel quite grateful to have come across your webpages and look forward to plenty of more fabulous moments reading here. Thank you once again for everything.

    Comment by kyrie 8 — November 23, 2023 @ 2:14 am

  10. I simply wished to say thanks once again. I am not sure what I would have followed without the type of secrets documented by you regarding such a question. It absolutely was a real distressing condition in my view, but taking a look at your specialised avenue you treated the issue made me to leap for joy. I am just thankful for your service and then expect you find out what a great job you happen to be providing teaching some other people by way of your blog. I am sure you have never got to know all of us.

    Comment by fear of god hoodie — December 8, 2023 @ 11:07 pm

  11. Hi there Dear, are you in fact visiting this web page
    on a regular basis, if so after that you will definitely get fastidious

    Comment by daily positive affirmations — December 10, 2023 @ 10:24 pm

  12. I simply desired to appreciate you once more. I do not know what I would’ve undertaken without these thoughts discussed by you about my question. It truly was a very distressing scenario in my position, however , taking a look at your professional avenue you processed the issue took me to cry with happiness. I’m happy for the help and as well , have high hopes you comprehend what a powerful job your are doing training many people by way of your webpage. More than likely you’ve never met any of us.

    Comment by supreme new york — December 27, 2023 @ 11:47 am

  13. I and my friends have been analyzing the nice strategies from the blog then instantly I had an awful suspicion I had not expressed respect to the site owner for those strategies. These boys came for that reason stimulated to study all of them and now have really been tapping into those things. Thanks for actually being indeed helpful and then for picking out some magnificent ideas most people are really desperate to be aware of. Our own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

    Comment by off white t shirt — December 29, 2023 @ 5:50 pm

  14. I am just commenting to make you be aware of what a fantastic encounter my wife’s daughter experienced reading through the blog. She picked up many things, which include what it’s like to possess a great teaching character to get men and women with ease know certain grueling subject matter. You actually did more than people’s expectations. Thank you for supplying the helpful, healthy, informative and even cool thoughts on this topic to Gloria.

    Comment by kd shoes — December 31, 2023 @ 1:28 am

  15. My wife and i were now joyful that Chris managed to conclude his web research because of the precious recommendations he was given from your own web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply find yourself offering hints which often others have been trying to sell. We really do know we need the website owner to give thanks to for that. The type of illustrations you have made, the easy blog menu, the friendships you can make it possible to create - it’s many fabulous, and it is assisting our son and the family imagine that that content is enjoyable, which is certainly extremely essential. Thank you for the whole thing!

    Comment by a bathing ape — January 2, 2024 @ 2:01 am

  16. I want to show my passion for your kindness giving support to those individuals that need help with this important idea. Your real dedication to getting the message all through appears to be surprisingly useful and has continuously encouraged regular people like me to arrive at their goals. Your amazing helpful guide means a whole lot to me and much more to my office colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

    Comment by off white shoes — January 3, 2024 @ 12:46 pm

  17. I must express my appreciation to this writer just for bailing me out of this difficulty. Right after exploring through the the net and meeting techniques that were not powerful, I figured my life was over. Existing minus the approaches to the difficulties you’ve solved by means of your main guideline is a critical case, as well as ones which may have adversely affected my career if I had not encountered your web blog. That expertise and kindness in taking care of a lot of things was important. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a point like this. It’s possible to now look forward to my future. Thank you so much for this skilled and amazing help. I will not be reluctant to refer your blog to anybody who requires guide on this situation.

    Comment by curry shoes — January 4, 2024 @ 6:38 pm

  18. I just wanted to type a small note to express gratitude to you for these awesome suggestions you are giving at this site. My time-consuming internet investigation has at the end been rewarded with professional strategies to go over with my close friends. I would assume that we readers are very endowed to dwell in a decent network with many lovely people with beneficial opinions. I feel quite grateful to have used the web pages and look forward to so many more enjoyable times reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

    Comment by jordan shoes — January 6, 2024 @ 12:57 am

  19. Can I simply say what a reduction to find somebody who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know easy methods to deliver a problem to mild and make it important. Extra individuals have to learn this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre not more common because you undoubtedly have the gift.

    Comment by golden goose hi star — January 6, 2024 @ 2:19 am

  20. Thank you for all your valuable efforts on this website. Gloria really loves carrying out research and it’s easy to see why. All of us hear all regarding the lively way you produce sensible items on the blog and in addition increase contribution from visitors on the situation while our favorite simple princess is in fact studying so much. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You’re the one doing a first class job.

    Comment by pg shoes — January 7, 2024 @ 8:12 am

  21. Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily spectacular possiblity to read critical reviews from this web site. It is always so brilliant plus packed with a lot of fun for me and my office co-workers to search your website at minimum thrice in one week to read the newest guidance you have. And of course, I’m also always pleased with the gorgeous strategies served by you. Selected two tips on this page are indeed the very best I have ever had.

    Comment by jordan travis scott — January 8, 2024 @ 5:16 pm

  22. Needed to put you one very little note so as to say thanks as before regarding the stunning solutions you have contributed above. It was certainly open-handed of you to deliver easily exactly what a number of us could have offered for sale as an ebook to earn some profit for themselves, particularly since you might have tried it in case you desired. Those principles additionally acted to be a great way to fully grasp the rest have the same fervor much like my personal own to figure out a good deal more on the topic of this matter. I know there are some more pleasant opportunities in the future for folks who read carefully your blog post.

    Comment by fear of god — January 11, 2024 @ 3:15 am

  23. I’m also writing to make you understand of the really good discovery my wife’s girl had using the blog. She mastered many pieces, which included what it is like to have an incredible giving heart to have many people quite simply fully understand various hard to do matters. You really did more than her desires. I appreciate you for delivering those good, trustworthy, explanatory and unique thoughts on that topic to Ethel.

    Comment by air jordan — January 12, 2024 @ 9:32 am

  24. I’m also writing to let you know what a impressive experience my wife’s child found browsing your web page. She learned so many pieces, not to mention what it’s like to possess a very effective giving nature to let many people quite simply understand various complicated things. You undoubtedly did more than my expected results. Thank you for supplying the warm and friendly, healthy, informative and also easy guidance on your topic to Julie.

    Comment by kd 15 — January 13, 2024 @ 3:46 pm

  25. I intended to create you that little observation in order to say thank you the moment again for those pleasant guidelines you’ve documented on this website. It is simply incredibly open-handed with people like you to give extensively what exactly some people would have advertised as an ebook in making some bucks for themselves, most importantly now that you could possibly have done it in the event you wanted. Those tips likewise acted to become a great way to realize that most people have a similar eagerness much like mine to see lots more when it comes to this problem. I am sure there are numerous more fun situations in the future for individuals who discover your website.

    Comment by golden goose sneakers — January 14, 2024 @ 8:50 pm

  26. I must express my affection for your kind-heartedness supporting men who must have help with in this subject. Your very own dedication to passing the message throughout came to be amazingly good and have usually encouraged girls much like me to get to their aims. The valuable help and advice signifies a lot a person like me and substantially more to my peers. With thanks; from each one of us.

    Comment by hermes — January 15, 2024 @ 11:06 pm

  27. Thank you for your entire efforts on this blog. Ellie takes pleasure in going through internet research and it’s obvious why. My spouse and i know all of the dynamic ways you produce priceless guidance on this web site and in addition attract contribution from others on the concern then our girl is in fact discovering so much. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one carrying out a first class job.

    Comment by off white hoodie outlet — January 16, 2024 @ 11:01 pm

  28. I and also my friends ended up reading the best tricks found on the blog while all of a sudden I got an awful feeling I never expressed respect to the site owner for those techniques. My young boys ended up absolutely very interested to read them and already have quite simply been using those things. We appreciate you being considerably kind as well as for deciding on variety of brilliant topics millions of individuals are really desperate to understand about. My honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

    Comment by off white — January 17, 2024 @ 11:36 pm

  29. I actually wanted to post a word to be able to say thanks to you for those pleasant strategies you are placing on this site. My time intensive internet search has at the end been recognized with awesome concept to talk about with my relatives. I ‘d state that that we site visitors are extremely fortunate to dwell in a wonderful network with very many lovely people with good tips and hints. I feel quite blessed to have come across your webpages and look forward to really more fabulous minutes reading here. Thanks again for everything.

    Comment by curry shoes — January 20, 2024 @ 2:34 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress