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Transformers DOTM
by yo go re

For Transformers 2, the producers undertook a disinformation campaign, to keep the plot and characters secret. They haven't really done that this time, but they don't really need to: you look at the trailers, and every single robot looks exactly like every other robot, so there's no way to know who's in it even after they tell us.

Megatron has lost battles, but he has never been truly defeated. Even after his near total destruction by the AllSpark, he returned. This latest loss is nothing to him. He has plans thousands of years in the making that are finally coming to fruition. This time, nothing will stop him from annihilating the Autobots completely.

No, he'll probably be stopped. Maybe Starscream will betray him at a key moment. Actually, I'd admire the balls it took to actually have the Decepticons triumph over the Autobots. A big summer movie with more explosions than plot, and the bad guys win? That would be unheard of. I can think of a few movies where the villains come out on top, but they were mostly part of a series, and early parts at that. There was a chance for redemption. But to end a trilogy with the forces of good crumbling before evil's onslaught? That would be something to see.

Megatron is looking much the worse for wear after the severe reaming he took at the hands of a slightly psychotic Optimus Prime at the end of Transformers 2. He's not nearly the bulky behemoth he's been before, opting instead for a thinner, leaner robot mode. He's hiding his face and one arm beneath thick canvas tarps, like a robotic hobo. A "robo." His arms are long and skinny, while the legs are thick and blocky. The torso is fairly slender, by Megatron standards, but he has a bit of bulk in the upper chest.

If you don't like the tarp, it's removable. It plugs into the right shoulder, and pulls out easily. Once you do, you'll see why he's been hiding - remember, he was shot in the face by his own cannon in the last movie, so while the left side of his head is fine, the right side is a mess. Lots of battle damage. The eyes are light-piped red, and it works fairly well.

This is a Voyager Class figure, so it stands about 6⅝" tall. Articulation is very good, with a balljointed head, hinged and swivel shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, hinged wrists, swivel waist, swivel and hinge hips, and swivel/hinge knees. That's what we like to see! He has a Mech Tech fusion cannon that can mount on either arm (but let's be honest, you're going to put it on his right arm). Unlike Crankcase's weapon, Megatron's can actually stay open: just press the trigger all the way in and turn it slightly to the right, and it locks open. Yay!

Hasbro has revamped the numerical ratings they assign to the figures - probably because they realized they were never going to use the far ends of the spectrum, so now rather than a 5-point scale, it's just 3 points. Megs' conversion rates a Level 2 (Intermediate).

Megatron's altmode is a truck, which I find just a little bit funny. Imagine his train of thought: "First I was a plane, and I got my ass kicked by a truck. Then I was a tank, and I got my ass kicked by the same truck. This time, I'm going to be a truck too! That'll show him!" The vehicle is 8" long, 2¼" tall and 2" wide.

The truck is a fully licensed Mack, but between the armored grill and the tarp on the back, it looks like something out of Mad Max. It's a tanker truck, and is highly detailed. Look at the sculpt of the realistic technology on the truck - nozzles, valves, access hatches - and a fine, grainy texture of rust all along the lower edges. It's not the first time we've seen such a thing, but it still looks good and gives the vehicle some character. Impressively, while the tractor and trailer are permanently attached, Hasbro's managed to engineer a joint that allows the back end to turn just like a real truck would. Brilliant! One of the truck's windshields sticks out oddly, but it's not an accident.

A little piece of plastic from the truck's hood broke off soon after I bought Megatron. It's not the bulldog hood ornament, as a lot of people are reporting having trouble with (the shoulder armor can bump it when you change him, snapping it off), but one of the tabs that help hold the grill in place. It doesn't impact the toy negatively at all, but I'll tell you, if it had been the bulldog that broke off, this Megatron would have been taken back for a new one.

It's a bit weird that Megatron changes form in every movie - everybody else got designed right the first time, but the main baddie is still a work in progress four years later. Still, it's nice to finally see him get an Earth mode, especially one that's so cool. This is a really top-notch Dark of the Moon release, and a good Transformer overall.

-- 06/21/11

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