'Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen' Earns Rave Reviews In U.K.

British critics praise sequel's special effects and thrills.

The Autobots, the Decepticons, Shia LaBeouf's reluctant hero, [movieperson id="333331"]Megan Fox's[/movieperson] sultry partner in saving the world, the explosions, the explosions and the explosions — yes, [movieperson id="171297"]Michael Bay's[/movieperson] shape-shifting robot extravaganza, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," is almost here.

Almost. The sequel to 2007's $700 million blockbuster won't rumble into theaters until Wednesday, June 24. But fans in the United Kingdom will get a chance to take in the spectacle five days early, and as such, reviews of the movie have been popping up across the pond. What do they tell us about the story, the characters, the Transformers and, of course, the explosions? Check out our breakdown below. While we've keep the spoilers to a minimum, if you don't want to know anything about the film, proceed with caution.

The Story

With all these reviews out there, you could certainly learn the entire plot before getting a chance to see the movie, but where's the fun in that? So, we'll just relay the setup:

"Autobots and the U.S. military have united to form NEST, an elite unit dedicated to wiping out Decepticons," according to Empire's review. "But when they catch a rogue 'bot in Shanghai, it warns that something very bad is heading for Earth: a diabolical entity known as 'The Fallen.' "

What about LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky, who's now a new college student? He finds "a sliver of the all-powerful All-Spark in his hoodie," SciFiNow writes. "The alien device then uploads secret coordinates into his brain, which subsequently puts him and the Autobots at the centre of another race against time to stop the Decepticons having their way with the world."

And IGN notes a non-spoilery scene that is too delicious not to mention: "One hilarious set-piece that sees his mother accidently eat a chunk of marijuana on Sam's first day at college had the audience in stitches, and confirms Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky as the two most likable characters in the franchise."

The Spectacle

All the reviews couldn't fail to mention the immense size and scope of the sequel. IGN notes that "Revenge" delivers "more lingering tracking shots, cleaner environments and establishing framing. [Bay is] undoubtedly helped by what we're sure is a truly astronomical special effects budget, which sees the denizens of [robot home planet] Cybertron — at the request of fans — given far more screen time than before. He can simply afford to show more 'bots this time around."

"The extended metal-on-metal punch-ups are cartoonish but, thanks to the game-raising CGI, utterly convincing," Total Film writes.

But how does the film compare to other summer blockbusters? "In terms of explosions, firepower and sheer shrill, all-action, popcorn entertainment, it is hard to see how this big'n'bold sequel can be topped this year," The Mirror writes.

Might it outflank the original? That's an affirmative, according to the reviewer for News of the World, who goes so far as to say, "It's bigger. Badder. Boobier. And many other words beginning with B, including boneheadedly brilliant."

The Robots

As the reviewer for TheShiznit.co.uk declares, the real stars of the film are the 'bots. "Optimus Prime is just as cool here as you'd always hoped — his twin-sword showdown with three Decepticons is the kind of kick-ass fight scene that'll make even the hairs on the back of non-fans' necks stand on end," says the Web site. "Bumblebee gets a few chances to shine and is perhaps the best example of having a CG alien robot 'emote' — tellingly, of course, he speaks no actual words.

"Devastator — the 120-foot-high beast made from seven separate Constructicons — though technically astounding, is criminally underused: You can see the money burning every second he's on screen," adds the site.

Bay on Bay

Total Film picks up on an interesting bit of cross-promotional work going on throughout the film: " 'Pearl Harbor' ship sinking, 'Armageddon' metropolis destruction and a 'Bad Boys II' promo on Sam's dorm room wall. But fans of The Bayhem will have their eyes on another poster in Sam's room — the 'Cloverfield' one-sheet, which betrays the glory at the heart of the flick. It's a thrill-ride, plain and simple. And it delivers."

Check out everything we've got on "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

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