Monday evening, I sat through Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon. I didn't like it. I didn't think I would like it. The first was mildly entertaining, but the second was pretty horrible (and as has been widely written, racist.) So I went into Transformers 3 thinking I'd feel similarly. I had heard it was a little better, and it was a little better, so there's that. However, it's one of those movies that just happens to you, as opposed to a movie you experience.
I didn't think...I didn't feel engaged (in fact I was dozing off)...basically: I didn't care. So when the super-mega-actiony-jam-packed-with-robotness went down, my mind turned off and the movie just...well... happened.
However, now with a few days for it to simmer in my mind, I've been thinking more clearly about it. At first, I thought to myself, "You should write a blog about the gender of the Transformer franchise." Then I realized that's like saying, "You should write a blog about the sexism of Playboy" or something similarly obvious. The truth is that you can summarize the gender portrayal of most of the Transformer franchise in one sentence. Women are either hot (Megan Fox) or stupid (the mom).
But then a new identity for women emerged through Transformers 3. Guess what guys!?! Now women can be hot, stupid, and/or BITCHES! YAY OPTIONS!
I'm sure anyone who has kept up on this film series knows why Megan Fox is no longer involved. But just in case you're not familiar, I'll catch you up. Megan Fox played the female lead in the first two movies of the series, the main dude's girlfriend, Mikaela. But then Fox had a very public falling out with the director, Michael Bay (widely regarded by most movie buffs as the fourth horseman of the good film apocalypse.) She says she quit, Michael Bay says he fired her...all around bad blood, name calling, that kind of stuff.
Well this real life falling out makes an awkward appearance in the most recent installment of the Transformers series. We learn that the main character Sam Whitwicky (Shia LeBeouf) has a new girlfriend and she's equally super hot, but she's dressed all in white to convey angelness. She's a smart, career oriented, good girl (not at all like Mikaela, the tom boy rebel.) The audience has no idea why Mikaela and Sam aren't together anymore, but we do know that she dumped him and there are at least 2-3 references to Mikaela being a bitch and "Man, aren't you glad she's not around anymore."
Um, excuse me? What?
The thing is, if you watch movies 1 and 2 (which I don't actually recommend for the record) we're definitely supposed to like Mikaela. Here, I could go off on a tangent about how her main purpose is to be eye candy, her character is woefully underdeveloped, and Megan Fox is an underwhelming actress, but I'll refrain and stick with the surface depiction of her. She's designed to be the supportive female character who we want to end up with Sam in the first movie and we want to stay with Sam in the second. Their story is designed to be the human element to an other wise rock 'em sock 'em robots heavy action plot.
So Sam gets the girl (Mikaela) and we are all happy. Never once is it hinted that she's a bitch or that she's anything other than too good for him, really.
But then comes Transformers 3 and Mikaela's just gone.
So let's review. Megan Fox and Michael Bay have a real life falling out. So Michael Bay has to come up with some reason that the new movie is Mikaela-free, despite attempting to convince us for two other movies that she's awesome and they will live happily ever after. But wait! His core audience doesn't see his films for the human story. They don't really care what happens to Sam between rock 'em sock 'em robot fights. So Michael Bay has an obvious option: gloss over the Sam Mikaela break up. Brilliant!
And he does this. And that's fine. But what he didn't need to do was throw in random jabs at Mikaela being a bitch. And make no mistake...those were not merely innocent jokes at Mikaela being a bitch, they had a clear purpose of saying the same thing to audience about Megan Fox (you know, the real life person who had a falling out with the director.) And this message was not subtle. I saw this movie at an advanced screening which was composed of at least 55% fan boys and trust me...those lines didn't go over their heads. They were quite well received with hearty laughter. It was like sitting in a theater with a bunch of dudebros listening to their head dudebro talk smack about his ex. "Haha! She is a bitch!"
It was gross and unnecessary.
Listen, Michael Bay, I get it. Megan Fox called you a Nazi and that's not cool. But from where I'm sitting, insulting her in Transformers 3 makes you look like a petty cry baby. Of course, as I mentioned, Michael Bay isn't exactly known for being classy, so none of this comes as a surprise. But it certainly feels like a big powerful man sitting up on his throne reminding everyone that if they cross him, they'll never work in this town again!!!1!!1
And for the record, if a girl dumps you, it doesn't automatically make her a bitch. Maybe she was just tired of your constant involvement with giant battling robots and wanted a simpler, slower paced life. Or maybe you make really shitty movies and she got tired of straddling motorcycles in booty shorts. Who knows?