Born in the late 70’s, I am firmly a child of the 80’s. My diet consisted of G.I. Joe, Thundercats, Smurfs, a little Jem, and most certainly the Transformers. Watched the show. Had the toys. Ate the cereal. Those days and that delicious, sweet nostalgia are precious to me. Needless to say, when the pillars of my youth are shaken to get current day, big screen treatments, it riles little Tommy Rowe. He gets excited. Big Tommy Rowe (I’ve never been able to shake Tommy) says, “Hold your horses kiddo. Don’t get too excited. Who knows what the hell Michael Bay is going to do.”

The first movie was fine. I’m not so rigid that I can’t bend to some changes. You put flames on Optimus Prime. That’s alright. Mouths and fake facial hair. I guess they need that for personality and emotion. Bumble is a Camaro. Eh… I understand you need to cool it up a little. I’m not sure why they jumped around the buildings and bridges like spider monkeys, but I’ll concede. Michael Bay, I’ll give you a B+. No, let’s make it a B. I know you have to feed the dragon, but the transforming Mountain Dew machine was absurd.

The second movie… that’s where you lost me. Ridiculous story. Absent acting. The visuals just went further over the top. I couldn’t ever tell what was going on. It was just whirling chunks of metal, attempts at humor that were both inexcusable and terrible, and the Michael Bay-ness got in the way of everything. It was a Michael Bay movie, not a Tranformers movie. D+!

Eying up Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I started to get knots in my stomach. Both Tommys didn’t really want to sit through that again. It was too painful.

Still, I see movies. That’s what I do. So, I cowboy’d up and dove in, once more.

I watched the beginnings of the movie, the scenes from the Apollo missions to the Moon, as if I were bracing for a punch. I flinched a bit as Sam (Shia Labeouf) skittered about with his new lady friend (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). It seemed like we were in for much of the same. The same Sam. A super, improbably hot girlfriend. Though, Rosie was actually far more talented in the acting arena than Megan Fox, but it was never Megan that ruined the last movie for me.

I continued to wait and brace for the smack in the teeth. The movie had run for 20 minutes or so when I noticed that the punch did not come and I was actually enjoying what I was watching.

During the great war of Cybertron, the Transformers’ home planet, an Autobot ship escaped with a technology that would have turned the tides of the war. Damaged, it crash landed on our moon. Which made me think, how close are we to Cybertron? They show up here a lot. It must be right around the corner.

The entire space race between the U.S. and Russia in the 1960s was initiated by the discovery of the ship. Both countries wanted to get to it first. We won! Yay!

People paying attention might suggest that someone probably should have pointed it out in the first movie. “Oh, yeah… these guys are just like that guy we have on ice with the cube… and the giant-ass ship we found on the moon.” But, pish-posh.

So, the parts and pieces of this caper: In that ship was Sentinel Prime, the keeper of the tide-turning technology. Optimus and crew go to the moon, grab him, bring him back to Earth and resurrect him.

On the side, the Decepticons are still plotting and planning in the wilds of Africa. They have recruited a network of human spies that they use to carry out a nefarious plot to gain control of the technology… The Technology. I guess I can just say what it does. It’s not necessarily spoiler-ish.

Basically, it’s a teleportation device. Obviously, from a military perspective, having the ability to transport troops anywhere at any time can help with the element of surprise. Thus, the Autobots want to lock it down and the Decepticon want it so they can trash Earth and restore Cybertron to its former glory.

There were honest-to-god surprises along the way. I guess they lowered the bar so much, you weren’t looking for surprises. But, oh… really? That’s cool. I’m surprised. Look at you go Michael Bay.

They stripped away a lot of the goofy, B.S. that I despised from the second (Read: Devistator’s balls). It was there, but in glimpses and far from intrusive. I actually like this thing. This is the Transformers movie I wanted all along. YOU FINALLY DID IT! Michael Bay managed to not overly Michael Bay this one. I walked out stunned.

Plus, they added some fan favorites, like Shockwave and Laserbeak. There were some no-names or new, just-for-the-movie characters added. I guess Hasbro only lets them have so many. But, Michael Bay will be damned if he can’t trash a butt-ton of Transformers and wedge in just one tiny stereotype (the Ferrari has an Italian accent).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon was fun, engaging, exciting, cool and fun. I’m going to say it’s even better than the first. Holy shit. Once upon a time Bay made solid movies: Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, he played a frat boy in Mystery Men. This leans back in that direction. Solid movie. Not completely overdone. Enjoyable.

This time around, Michael Bay, I’m giving you the B+. Well done. Feel free to print this review out and give it to your mom to hang on the refrigerator.