Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 13+
Violent, crude, pointless sequel just isn't kids' stuff.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sequel to 2007's Transformers is edgier and less kid-friendly than the first. Kids will want to see it because they're the ones who play with the toys the movie was inspired by, but it's packed with metal-on-metal mayhem and brutally violent action scenes that are too much for them. While most of the combatants are giant robots, the film's human characters are in constant peril, and the explosions never seem to stop. There are also eyebrow-raising amounts of sexualized and even racially insensitive material, as well as strong language (including one use of "f--k" and frequent uses of words like "bitch" and "p---y"). Plus, it's essentially a long commercial for both cars and toys.
- Families can talk about the movie's robot-on-robot violence. Are brutal dismemberments, stabbings, and shootings easier to take when they involve large metal robots instead of flesh-and-blood humans? Even when the robots talk, think, and "die" like people?
- Families can also talk about the consumerism side of things. What do kids make of the fact that this is a movie based on a line of toys? Is the movie's goal to sell more toys? If not, what is it?
- You can also bring up the movie's stereotyping -- including the robot "Twins," one of whom has a gold tooth and later explains that he can't decipher hieroglyphics because "We don't do much readin'." Are those kinds of caricatures funny or offensive? Why?
- And you can discuss whether the movie objectifies women. Why is more screen time devoted to the leading actresses' bodies than their characters? Why do male characters not get the same treatment?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Any positive messages about friendship and fellowship are negated by the film's objectification of women and frequent use of phrases like "bitch" and "p---y" in a film ostensibly aimed at kids. There's also some racial and ethnic stereotyping; while a giant robot with a wacky "Scottish" accent seems harmless, two robots with protruding ears, grotesque features, and a propensity for thuggish rap slang like "pop a cap in his ass" and "get up in that ass" are less easy to write off as wacky fun.
Positive role models: While Optimus Prime is a stalwart defender of the innocent, the other characters are so thinly crafted that it's virtually impossible to find anything to admire. Sam is loyal to his robot friends, but, again, the film is so suffused and soaked in bullets, bombs, and bombast that it's hard to hear the positivity over the explosions.
What to watch for
Violence: Nonstop explosions, gunfire, bombardments, and barrages affecting human beings, as well as tons of combat to the death between robotic (but intelligent and self-aware) aliens. Bodies are hurled by explosions and battle, and there's some scary torture/medical imagery. Extensive robotic carnage and destruction, as well as pushing, shoving, and scuffling. There's a threat to the sun, which, if carried out, will wipe out all human life.
Sexy stuff: Plenty of cleavage, shots of panty-clad bottoms, kissing. Dogs hump each other, and a robot proceeds to do the same to a woman's leg. A husband and wife engage in a little saucy talk and bottom-grabbing. Some suggestive talk about young men at a college party being "on the hunt."
Language: Above-average level of strong language for a PG-13, including one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "p---y," "piss," "damn," "balls," "ball sack," "punk ass," "crap," "oh my God," "bitch," and "ass."
Consumerism: Considering that the movie is based on a toy line by Hasbro -- and co-produced by Hasbro -- you could argue that the entire thing is an exercise in product placement. Other brands shown on screen or mentioned include car makes, manufacturers, and models (including General Motors, Volvo, Camaro, etc.), Mountain Dew, Budweiser, State Farm, OnStar, CNN, and more.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: It's implied that characters drink liquor and beer in social settings. A parent also mistakenly eats some marijuana brownies and babbles incoherently, runs about, and tackles strangers.