Megatron IS Transformers

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As far as pointless articles go, you could put this at the top. But after scouring so much of the vastness that is the internet, pointless is it’s middle name so this should fit right in.

At some point during the third Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, it hit me that certain movies can be summed up by the characters in them but few as accurately as it can be said for Megatron in all three live-action Transformers films. You’ll see what I mean.

You could look at just about any movie and say “Zach Braff is so quirky in this! This movie is quirky too! It fits!” But that’s not really what I’m talking about and you’re not that excited about this topic- yet. I’m preparing to dig deeper into any Michael Bay movie than even Bay himself has ever attempted.

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In the first Transformers movie, Megatron is talked about through much of the story, with only brief flashbacks of exposition to give us an idea that he’s around somewhere. You don’t know what he’s doing or when he’s actually going to appear, but it’s got to happen at some point and everyone is pretty eager to see what this monstrous alien is going to be like.

Then, toward the last thirty to forty minutes of film, he shows up. As massive, intimidating, and destructive as you’d expect him to be, his presence overtakes anyone watching the film because now you’re really going to see what he can do. But like all great villains, they’ve got to be put in their place at one time or another and Shia the Beef shoves the block into Megatron’s chest, seemingly killing him for the time being.

Megadeath

Megadeath

So here’s the parallel I’m drawing.

Transformers was a major success with all of it’s merchandise, comics and shows in the 80s when it first broke out. It kept much of it’s appeal to fans throughout the 90s but anything that explodes initially has to fade a little because hey, science. It wasn’t that Transformers was dead as a franchise, it was just one of those things that was around, much like comics were at the time. In a certain level of decline, though not gone.

Megatron’s appearance in the film was delayed as mentioned, only showing up toward the end. His actual frame is disputed among fans, with many making complaints that he hardly resembles his source material counterpart but his character is intense all the same; much like the film’s mixed reviews and reactions among viewers.

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While there are major complaints about the story, dialogue, pacing, etc., it’s tough to deny that the film still showcases some amazing effects that you’re not going to be able to see in any other movie.

Megatron’s transformation into a jet and his hands changing into a cannon was also a change not seen in the original but fit in the movie well, mirroring the types of changes made to the story, characters, and overall translation of an 80s cartoon into a 2000s live action movie.

But for as much destruction as he caused in the first film, notice that the action was still contained to several city blocks, much like the movie itself- a huge hit (Over 700 million dollars worldwide) but still seemed to know its place; they’d done what people didn’t think they could do and created a successful adaption for whatever flaws it had.

But at least it didn’t go the way many adaptions do where the end of the film is screaming “Please give us a sequel! PLEASE.

Ugh.

Ugh.

In the type of movie described above, the villain often escapes, giving us the set up for a sequel where he’ll inevitably return. This is done so as not to do anything major to the characters, and usually will end with the protagonist starting off on a bigger journey by the end of the film.

But Megatron is killed by the end of this movie, thus giving us what any good film needs- closure. We have a full movie with the first Transformers and if it didn’t make it’s money back, it would have still been a complete film, problems and all.

“That’s it Taylor? That’s all you got for us?” you may be asking. I need you to be patient, I’m getting to the rest. Where are your manners? It’s like you were raised in a barn or something where doors are left open, swinging whichever way they want. GAH.

So here comes the sequel. Uh-oh.

"OoOh look at my giant crab arm. I'm so impressed with myself."

“OoOh look at my giant crab arm. I’m so impressed with myself.”

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was plagued with problems, most of them stemming from the writers strike that more or less forced the writers of the film to (Ta-daa) go on strike- leaving the cast and crew with half a script. Did you ever wonder why it was all so disjointed and random?

That’s because for a good portion of shooting, there wasn’t a writer. Or should we say, Michael Bay wrote a script based on an outline he was given by the writers. Suffice it to say, the film was a mess.

At least now we know what Michael Bay thinks is funny.

At least now we know what Michael Bay thinks is funny.

So how does that correlate to Megatron? Or Galvatron? Huh? What do I mean? If you’re not familiar with the Transformers-verse, once Megatron is killed (It happens to the best of ’em), he’s resurrected as Galvatron- basically a more powerful version of himself. But Bay and co. thought this would confuse audiences, so they kept the name the same. While there may be truth to this, it doesn’t change the fact that they dumbed it down so more people would like it.

That’s just the start. As Galvatron (Or Megatron), he’s bigger, shinier, gaudier…and nearly pointless. Once he goes back to get his master, the Fallen, he doesn’t really serve a purpose. In fact, Starscream had already been in the same crashed ship with the Fallen, so Megatron (or Galvatron) going back to his master to tell him about what was going on didn’t mean much.

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“What’s my motivation again? Hate and death? Okay, I’ve got it now.”

Sure, he was back, and he was bigger and more powerful and come on, everybody loves Megatron- but what was he doing in the movie? You’ve got a hundred Decepticons, Starscream and the movie’s main villain (The Fallen), so what’s Megatron’s point? He doesn’t have one. He’s just there because people like him. He was overtaken by a bigger older villain that nobody even liked- pointless action and disconnected story telling- I mean the Fallen. He was overtaken by “The Fallen.”

This is paralleled by the big, loud sequel that had no direction. Yeah, things looked cool and exploded, but it didn’t actually have anything to say. Neither did the first one, you say? Well, writing team Orci and Kurtzman really liked producer Steven Spielberg’s pitch of telling a story of a “boy and his car” which resonated with the team with themes of maturity, responsibility, and adulthood. You can see it throughout the movie if you care to look.

But the sequel? Nah. None of that.

These guys are in it though! Hello?

These guys are in it though! …Hello?

Megatron gains a false victory by killing Optimus Prime halfway through Revenge but we all knew Prime was coming back and it was tough to care by that point anyway. This is much like the film’s financial win with it’s critical fail. 800 million dollars on a 200 million dollar budget is a sweet thing, but when everybody hates it, you risk losing your audience and future investments.

And what does Megatron do by the end of the film? Just like we mentioned for movies that beg for a sequel, he flies off- some damage done, but he’s still alive and you know he’s coming back while his death in the first movie made you wonder if another would be made. As crappy as Revenge of the Fallen was, you knew they’d all be back.

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And they were. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron shows back up for one more fight. He’s damaged, he’s weaker, rustier and seems as tired as the movies did when we last saw them.

But he’s still got some tricks up his sleeve- like Sentinel Prime. If you haven’t seen the movie, (I don’t know why you’re reading this) but Sentinel Prime is thought to be a good guy until halfway through, you find out he made a deal with Megatron a while back and he shook things up pretty good; killing some good guys and almost ruining things for the heroes.

"So what are you thinking after this? Chinese? Mexican? Caucasian?"

“So what are you thinking after this? Chinese? Mexican? Caucasian?”

To sum it up, you weren’t entirely sure how it was all going to come together but eventually, it did. Cheese and explosions abound, yeah- but it came together.

And while it looked like Megatron was just going to sit around for the remainder of the movie after get knocked around by his own student, he eventually comes back for the climax, killing Sentinel Prime in the most rousing scene of the movie…right before Optimus Prime rips his head off, ending Megatron, thus ending the trilogy.

It remains to be seen if Megatron is going to be in Age of Extinction, with the only argument being that he can’t show up because he died in the third one. As if story ever stopped Michael Bay.

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