Regarding Lousy Movies & ‘Snob’ Critics

Published 6 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am,

transformers revenge fallen reviews Regarding Lousy Movies & Snob Critics

Well. I’ve taken some heat for reviews in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such… interesting reactions to one of my reviews as I have for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Of course I don’t really care – back in the day it used to bother me when someone flamed me for a movie review, but now I actually get a kick out of it. simple smile Regarding Lousy Movies & Snob Critics

Of course I’m not alone – go to any site that gathers up an aggregate of movie critics’ opinions and you’ll see similar numbers when it comes to Transformer 2. The number of positive reviews for the sequel to the highly successful first film is abysmally low: 20% 35% 1.7 out of 4

Even over at, where it’s mainly “regular people” voting for films, it’s only getting 6.7/10 – not bad, but not an overwhelming vote of quality from “Joe Average.”

On the other hand, two days shy of being in theaters for even a full week, the film has already earned over $200 million in the U.S. and close to $400 million worldwide, and our very unscientific poll here on Screen Rant shows that 74% of visitors here rate the film either a 4 or 5 out 5 stars.

[poll id=”9″]

The result? A backlash against movie critics the likes of which I’ve never seen before. There are accusations of impartiality (“you hated the first one so of course you hate this one!”), being too old to “appreciate” the film, being generally unclear on the concept of a “fun, summer popcorn movie,” and my favorite: Not liking it because I (and other reviewers) are snobby, elitist critics.

Generally speaking, action films that do well at the box office tend to get at least half way decent reviews (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Spider-Man 1 & 2, etc.), but this has to be the best-performing, worst-reviewed film in recent memory.

It seems that Michael Bay (who, for the record, I do not “hate” – his film The Rock is one of my favorite movies to pop in the DVD player from time to time) has tapped into the formula for entertaining the teen moviegoer who is easily amused by cool visual effects, big explosions and titillating shots of hot babes.

What’s ironic is that many of the same “elite” critics that skewered the sequel actually LIKED the first Transformers film, so those accusations are pretty ridiculous. Fine, I’m not one of those who liked the first one, but over at Rotten Tomatoes the first film had almost triple the positive score of the sequel (57% vs 20%), MetaCritics had almost double (61% vs 34%) and at IMDB where non-critics vote it was 7.4 vs 6.7.

The other funny thing is that here at Screen Rant I actually try to write reviews to help the average person decide whether or not to drop their hard earned bucks at the local multiplex. I also generally rate movies within the context and genre of where they fit and what they set out to accomplish. In other words I don’t judge Oscar-contender dramas on the same scale as a great comedy or an awesome Sci-Fi film. That’s why I can give Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, the amazing documentary Enemies of Happiness and Serenity all 5 out of 5 stars. Each of those films has a different goal, and each of them meets or exceeds it within the context of its genre.

Some may call that inconsistent, but I never claimed to be objective in my reviews – I have a certain taste and regular readers come to know that point of view and can judge whether or not they’ll like a film based on that particular point of view.

So as to the accusation of being an “elite snob,” here are a few movies that I consider “popcorn flicks” and which have received good reviews from me – and in some cases I’ve taken heat for being too easy on them:

So if a string of explosions, big CGI effects sequences, bad jokes and sight gags, no plot, lousy acting (HELLO Megan Fox) and foul language in a movie based on a toy line that will attract under-10-year-olds doesn’t strike me as a “fun” movie, that’s not my problem.

If you want GOOD action movies, keep supporting movies like Star Trek, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hellboy, etc.

However, if you want more empty action movies, by all means, go see Tranformers 2 three or four times. But when you get a bit older and appreciate movies that have a good story and characters you can care about, don’t complain that there’s nothing but crap at the megaplex – because it’ll be your own fault.

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  1. If you didn’t like the movie, then you didn’t like the movie; there’s nothing elitist or snobbish about that, and you shouldn’t be attacked for holding a valid opinion. (“Valid” meaning that you have viewed the movie, and taken time and care with your review, which you do.)

    At the same time, don’t sneer at people who did like the movie. Saying things like “But when you get a bit older and actually acquire a bit of taste when it comes to film” is what gets you an elitist label. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the kind of material RoF gives. Not all movies can be The Dark Knight or Star Trek.

    You didn’t enjoy Transformers 2, and that’s perfectly fine. It simply didn’t hold anything enjoyable for you. But you are on the same level as everyone else, i.e. the people that have enjoyed the movie. Your review of the movie wasn’t elitist or snobbish, but pouting about getting reamed won’t change anyone’s opinion.

  2. I agree 100% Vic, excellent post.

  3. I’m not “pouting” as you put it – I’m simply fascinated by the huge difference of opinion between those who review movies (and have given favorable reviews to summer blockbusters like Iron Man and Star Trek but hated Transformers 2) and the general public.

    I guess since the disappointments of Terminator Salvation and the Wolverine movie, people were really desperate for a knock-down drag-out action movie.


  4. I for one was very cautious after reading all of the reviews here and everywhere else. I am very into cg and such, I wasn’t expecting The Dark Knight, I wasn’t expecting the second coming of Christ, I just went to be entertained. Could it have been better yes, could it have been shorter, yes, did Michael Bay make a movie about giant robots beating up each other and the military blowing up everything they could, yes. It was everything that was advertised. I honestly loved it, I tuned out the stupid humor but thought some of it was funny. People actually cheered during the movie, I’ve never seen that before. As Vic and many other reviewers stated, it wasn’t the gospel, it was eye candy on every level. I think the reviews were pretty spot on. And to be honest, this was much more original than most of the movies that are coming out these days, I think that’s why people are flocking to it.

  5. I was a big defender of the first film as any regular SR reader should know but I did not enjoy this sequel much at all.

    Very messy and incomplete with two-thirds of the plot threads completely unnecessary and the important ones not handled right :(

    Why is that robot chick or Devastator even in this film? It makes no sense and they aren’t even used or important. In fact, 90% of the robots never talk or are ever introduced by name… I don’t get it

  6. @Vic

    forget about all of the critics reviews. people listen to who they like and maybe who they trust. the critics as a group is a bogus thing to look at. I’m not saying you do this Vic but most critics just bash a movie because they are afraid if they say they actually liked or enjoyed it that others will say they are not viable options as critics. It’s total crap. Most blog site writers bash the movies that certain directors or producers make because the reaction will be “your site is amateur if you rate a movie this high” or to that affect. I go by what I like and don’t care about what some idiot “critic” thinks.

  7. Jeez, that many people on here really think it was perfect robot awesomeness? I just saw it tonight and I was expecting it to be a little better than the first and I guess it was a slight tad better. I voted for three star because it did seem like it ran on too long and there was a little bit of bad humor mixed in but I thought the humor was much better than the first, also there was more action but the overall plot was very meh.

  8. @Rob

    you didn’t notice that the decepticons were after Sam? how hard is that to realize?

  9. I completely agree. Of course, these summer blockbusters are designed to entertain, but that doesn’t mean that they must be stripped of all plot and character development. Every good movie goes below just pure action and Revenge of the Fallen doesn’t try at all. The entire movie is just transformers beating the snot out of each other, but there is absolutely nothing other than that. I don’t expect it to be some pretentious “art film”, but there is nothing wrong with trying to explore some kind of deeper issue within a movie.

    (Just for the record, I loved the first Transformers and I definitely need to watch it to remind myself of how much better it truly was.)

  10. @Soundwave

    And there you go. It’s OK for you to hate on movies I thought were fun, but not OK for me to bag on the POS Tranformers.


  11. Where do I begin? Vic, I’m a 30 year old professional who can’t stand movies like Milk, Rachel Getting Married, etc. They do nothing for me. I can appreciate movies where life imitates art, like Vertigo, Singing in the Rain, Bicycle Thieves, etc, but those are the best of the best.

    You are labeled a “snob” and an “elitist” by people like me because you lump ALL OF US into a crowd where we don’t belong. First you insult us by claiming only teenagers like movies like this. I’m sorry Vic, but was it a crowd of only teenagers who plunked down $400 million worldwide to see this film? Then you lower the bar for your insults by saying the qualities of this film are only enjoyed by 10 year olds.

    This is my problem with you. Enjoy the movie, or don’t, that’s fine. You have a job, but don’t bash people who like this, and don’t write any more reaction pieces like this; it just sounds a lot like whining.

    We go to the movies to be entertained. If I want to watch something that stimulates my mind and is thought provoking, I’ll turn on the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, the History Channel, whatever…something that is real. I go to the movies to escape, and I thank God for people like Michael Bay who allow me and my millions of friends to do the same.

    Thank you.

  12. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I will, mostly because I was a Transformers fan when I was a kid.

    That being said Bay’s take on the first one was . . . underwelming. I actually like the characterizations of the robots in the cartoon, comics, and of course the original Transformers The Movie. (for the record anyone who likes these two movies has got to go get a copy of the 1986 movie. The Optimus Prime vs. Megatron fight is still inspiring to this day.) I want to be engaged by the plot. I want to care about the robots, their motivations, their personalities. And it seems Bay thinks of them a simply CGI fodder.

    Now I’ve read that the plot is just as sparse in this sequel as in the first one so I think that’s unfortunate.

    So I have to agree with Vic a little here. To say that there should be some sort of basic standard of plot and execution for a movie is not being elitist. And to accept a lot of great, exciting, robot action as all it takes to make a great movie – is shortsighted.

  13. So, to summarize this brilliant piece of retort:

    “Don’t tell me off because my opinion is different than yours. Now read the rest of this, because I’m going to rub in your face that I’m telling you off because your opinions are different than mine.”

    Key lines that lead to this:

    “But when you get a bit older and actually acquire a bit of taste when it comes to film, don’t complain that there’s nothing but crap at the megaplex – because it’ll be your own damned fault.”

    Couple that with the smaller, more random and poorly placed snips at those who have offended this “great” critic and it’s a case of a wounded little boy calling out over his shoulder “you’ll see” as he runs home and impatiently tries to get everyone’s attention as he hunts for sympathy.

    Let me be clear: this was not a fantastic movie. It was good, it was entertaining, and I do not feel like I wasted two and a half hours of my life seeing it. There were subtle incongruities to the storyline that shied away from the overall rewrite of the subject lore embodied in the first movie, but it does leave those of us (read: paying customers) with at the very least a hint of curiosity towards what will come next.

    Finally… if everyone made the perfect film, there would be no point in seeing them. We’re all glad your nine-to-five lets you abuse those you write to instead of accepting that perhaps your initial review was poorly worded, but while you remain an internet hero to a few you have managed to steer many a browser towards other sources of review. This isn’t because you wrote a review we didn’t like… it’s because you tried to chastise your readers like schoolchildren that don’t know what we are and aren’t supposed to enjoy.

  14. i really liked the numbers and research (not to mention the effort) put into making this article. just wanted to say to vic that you shouldn’t feel obligated to apologize or even necessarily defend some of your reviews, especially when they are obviously backed up by so many others. at the end of the day the reviews you write are your opinion, and i usually am on the same page with you (as i am with your review of transformers 2). but thank you for putting in the research regardless, and i hope you continue to gauge your reviews with the same methods as before, because what does it really matter if someone disagrees?

  15. @ Soundwave.

    I hope you are not saying that the Decepticons chasing after Sam is the plot.

    That’s not a plot – that’s barely an idea.

  16. LMAO, if you think I’m looking for sympathy you’re sadly mistaken. I’m actually more annoyed than anything else that this is doing as well as it is and I think that’s abundantly clear above.

    BTW, if anyone bothers to read this comment, my closing statement had a large amount of snark included and was meant to fire up the conversation, but I detect quite a bit of defensiveness – no doubt due to knowing the movie isn’t very good. Guilt is a terrible thing. 8)


  17. u said it cowboy
    i recon this movie was terrble in the sense that it only excelled the plot a bit for a number 3 that bay will obviosly do judging by the money he’s made so far, apart from decent camera angles the movie on the whole was crap
    bad jokes that only got 1 or 2 laughs from half minded “kids” and pathetic human acknowledgement and by that i mean the humans in the movie were a waste of time and money.
    to me it seemed as if the movie was rushed towards the end, devastators “epic” kill as some call it, the fallens battle with optimus that massive wheel robot returning from the dead to help make devi, the 2 other parts of devi that wre stand alones(actaully fighting on their own.

    some of the fights however wre good or at least ok, the jungle one wasnt bad, and the end fight between optimus, megatron and fallen wasnt bad.

    all in all it was basically that its just trannieformers (my personal nickname for the movie/franchise not the cartoon etc)one but with more robots, screen time and more boom ohh not to mention excessive and loud noises

    vic ur a funny one hehehe i just hate it when people are so passionate about something that they forget to actually pay attention to the F***ing movie, i quote from my annoying friend after his first viewing “ohh that was suck a kick ass movie hehehe it was totally worth the time ”
    and after his second and more payed attention viewing ” it wasnt that good, except for some of the action”
    and this guy just watches movies because of the ratings; trailers/previews etc, and the hype created by producers

    i personally think michael bay should just try writing a movie rather than directing and producing as his skills arent that good he’s just made to look good cause he’s connected to spielberg, the alien loving retard

    well i’ve had enough for now, cant wait to see the stupid replies for this post hehehe :-)

  18. I knew you were full of it when you listed the popcorn movies you liked. ALL of them were bad. I loved ROTF. No guilt, no excuses, 139 IQ, job in public safety, retired cop and military, healthy relationship with a woman, 42 year old Sci-Fi geek and proud of it.

  19. I don’t see the big deal, the movie stunk up the joint for me. That has nothing to do with how much money it makes. Many people bemoan reality TV yet its getting more and more of the available slots on most networks.

    People like what they like, the problem is some folks just can’t help but feel marginalized when a comment or critic doesn’t agree with their taste. The “I have to be right syndrome” and “my opinions matter as much as yours” is just a part of this internet/catch my blog/tweek my twitter/kiss my facebook society.

    The masses always want art judged by popularity and feel quality is subjective. Those trained in the appreciation of a art medium either by self study or professional tutoring bemoan the masses for the lack of knowledge they posses and without knowledge how can they know?

    Both of these camps need to get over themselves in my opinion.

  20. Well i’m not sure if i should just be extremely happy that vic’s annoyed by how well its doing and knowing that further along in the future there will be more movies like this where vic will cringe for whatever the runtime of the movie whilst he’s watching it because its “My Damn Fault”…lol(your welcome vic) or feel a lil “iffy” thinking that this thread might just be a ploy to bring in more traffic to the site. Either way i’m just happy its doing very well…

    I think it was ken j that was talking about why should we care how much a movie does in the box office? My answer would be… well if you liked the movie and you wanted to see sequels… i’d rather root for it to do good at the box office so they could get working on the sequel quicker. Sequels may not have to do anything with whatever the previous movie did at the box office( just in case somebody wants to say that) but a lil extra funding or pocket change is always a plus on my behalf.

    so since your saying that we don’t have taste… are we allowed to insult you from now on shiny? zing-zing!!!lol

  21. Although Screen Rant is not primarily a review site .
    I think they have the best reviews on the net .
    Because Vic and his colleagues are not afraid to say what they think.
    Good to hear your thoughts as well Rob ,
    I was curious about what you thought as well.
    Keep up the good work guys
    and thanks for the honesty.

  22. I just saw Transformers 2 last night, and 15 minutes into it I was already quite bored. It was better than the first one (which was a huge disappointment 2 years ago), but man o man what a load of nonsense. Horrible dialogues (especially between Shia and Megan), John Turturro reprises his worst filmrole ever, and the transformers can suddenly transform into humans now? Give me an optimus break. The transformers are still (which bugged me a lot the last time) pretty stupid, they look ugly, and there are not one but two characters that should deliver the funny lines – the mother and the roommate. Both are annoying and totally irrelevant to the story.

    The fact that there are more bad reviews than good ones, it’s no surprise.
    The fact that it will probably be the biggest movie of the summer/this year neither, because everyone’s curious about it, as was I. Transformers still spark the imagination of people that grew up with the cartoon. I do think, if Michael Bay does a third, people won’t run to the nearest cinema to see it. Revenge of the Fallen is better than the first, but still a long way away from good.

  23. bows down i totally agree with what you said.
    it really wasnt popcorn fun for me…
    the last movie i ate popcorn and laughed and had a great time in was drag me to hell and star trek before it.

    im really surprised that on g4 they hosts openly said they didnt enjoy the movie i guess sometimes their not pawns.

  24. Come on Vic, wtf was up with that last sentence? Your saying that you were being attacked, but then you go and insult everyone who liked the film. What happend to “insult the film not the fans”? Not all of us called you out or said you were a snob. Just cuz i liked this film doesnt mean i dont have a good taste in movies. Dont stoop down to the level of those people calling you out, just sit back and laugh cuz your review is up on your website, theirs isnt :)

  25. That last statement was a bit much, Vic.

    Remember, we’ve had movies in the past that earned a following after the first incarnation – like Pirates of the Caribbean or the Matrix – that spawned sequels with a lot of hype surrounding them which then failed to live up to their fans’ expectations.

    This is the case with Transformers, as well. Iron Man 2 might suck too (not likely with Rourke and RD Jr. still on board, I’ll grant), but it’s still going to make a lot of money the first weekend. Why? Because people liked the first movie.

    That’s interesting, though, that readers are so vehemently disagreeing with the critics. I guess there’s a kind of dog and cat fight going on… 😀

  26. I am sick to death of these types of movies! They lower the IQ of the general population of male hormonal adolescent Peter Pans aged between 25 and 40. This movie was not aimed at ‘kids’.

    Action without plot, a lot of noisy explosions, puerile fart jokes, doggie sex and gratuitous sexploitation of women sums up Transformers 2. This film definitely aimed low. ‘Snakes on a Plane’, low.

    It is in the same league of poor taste as ‘Scary Movie’ and ‘Porkys’. !

    If I could get my money back, I would!

  27. Well although I liked T2, I don’t feel the need for an article such as this. Your opinion is your opinion.

    However true the last statement is, I felt it was unnecessary because it was inflammatory.

    Honestly, I’ve gotten to where I don’t read any reviews of the films I want to see. I read the premise and see the trailers (only) at the movies and make my decision from there.