Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Optimus Prime recalls the final days of the war on Cybertron, where an Autobot ship, the Ark
, was shot down by Decepticons while carrying a certain secret cargo that would have changed their planet’s fate. The damaged Ark
flew aimlessly through space, before crashing on Earth’s moon in 1961. Noticed by the humans on Earth, this led to the Space Race of the 60’s, leading to the Americans landing on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. The two astronauts make use of several minutes of engineered radio silence to investigate the crashed spaceship, finding the dormant Transformers within.
Present day, 2011: the Autobots continue to operate as part of NEST, with NEST installing energon detectors to help the Autobots hunt down Decepticons, while a group of Autobots led by Bumblebee shut down an illegal nuclear facility in Iran.
Lennox leads a team to investigate a tip from a Russian official and go to Chernobyl with Optimus Prime, Ratchet and a group of human soldiers, finding a Cybertronian fuel cell. However, Driller, a gigantic worm-like Decepticon, attacks them and manages to drive off Optimus Prime, but not before Optimus Prime re-acquires the fuel cell. The Russian official that told Lennox about Chernobyl is cornered and quickly killed by the bird-like Decepticon Laserbeak, who had been observing the NEST team unseen since they arrived in Chernobyl.
Returning to their base in Washington D.C., Optimus Prime is furious, demanding answers from Charlotte Mearing, Director of National Intelligence, for the humans keeping information about Cybertronian technology on Earth from them. Mearing, who has only obtained the previously-classified information herself, tells Optimus Prime about the circumstances behind the space race, while Optimus informs them about the nature of the cargo of the ship and its pilot – Sentinel Prime, his former master. Optimus and Ratchet travel to the moon on their spaceship, retrieving Sentinel Prime’s unconscious body and five ‘pillars’.
In Africa, Decepticon leader Megatron is in a sorry state, still suffering from the head wound he received during the climactic battle two years ago in Egypt, wrapped in rags and his army reduced to a mere shadow of their previous might. His lieutenants – Starscream, Soundwave and Laserbeak – arrive to report in, and upon being informed that the Autobots have recovered Sentinel and the pillars, Laserbeak is dispatch to terminate loose ends – which are all humans who were apparently members of various space programs.
Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is living with his new girlfriend Carly Spencer (having broken up with Mikaela prior to the events of this movie) as well as two ‘political refugees’, the tiny Autobots Wheelie and Brains. Despite being recognized by the President, Sam has trouble finding a job, no small part due to him showing up on FBI hit-lists during the events of the previous movie. To make things worse for Sam, his girlfriend actually has a very well-paying job, a very handsome boss (Dylan Gould) with lots of expensive cars that very clearly adores Carly, Bumblebee has left him to become a full-time NEST operative, his current car sucks, and his parents randomly show up to see him jobless. A string of job interviews end up in failure, though he eventually finds a position as a mail room worker in Accuretta systems. While he adjusts to working in Accurretta Systems, dealing with his oddball of a boss, Bruce Brazos, he is confronted by a very eccentric colleague, Jerry Wang. Wang tells Sam, who is a friend of the Autobots, to look into a conspiracy about disappearing astronauts and something about the ‘dark side of the moon’. However, shortly after his bathroom meeting with Sam, Wang is confronted by Laserbeak in his office, who quickly kills him. Laserbeak briefly assaults Sam in the office, but he manages to escape.
A flustered Sam drives to the NEST base and demands to speak to Optimus Prime, only to be detained by NEST soldiers due to carrying Wheelie and Brains with him. Bumblebee’s intervention stops Sam from being arrested, but Director Mearing takes the information from him and quickly shuts down any help, considering Sam nothing but a messenger. Sam sticks around to witness Optimus Prime using the Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime. Sentinel who informs Optimus and the rest of NEST that the pillars are used as a component to create a Space Bridge, which would allow instantaneous transport of resources through space… or weapons, as Mearing points out. Sentinel points out that only he can control the pillars, which, under human orders, have been sealed within the NEST base.
Sam, now with Bumblebee in tow, decides to continue pursuing this investigation and ropes in former-agent-turned-successful-writer Seymour Simmons to help out. With the help of Seymour, his bodyguard Dutch, and information searching by Brains, the group manages to find out more about the conspiracy, and that the space race was meant to hide something from the public. However, Carly, upon seeing that Sam has relapsed into trying to be a hero, having lost a brother to war, decides to leave Sam if he continues on this path.
Optimus and Sentinel, meanwhile, drive into the wilderness of Earth for a brief conversation, where both reflect on the beauty of the planet. Optimus briefly attempts to secede command and the Matrix of Leadership back to Sentinel, but the older Autobot leader refuses it, noting that Optimus knows the world better than he does.
Sam, Simmons and Dutch, accompanied by Bumblebee, Sideswipe and Dino, track down a couple of Russian cosmonauts, who reveal that the Russian manned missions took photographs of the dark side of the moon before the Apollo 11 mission happened, showing that someone took the several hundred space bridge pillars that once lay on the side of the moon. Sam and Simmons conclude that the Decepticons left Sentinel Prime behind on the purpose, knowing that Sentinel was the only one who could activate the Space Bridge, and only the Autobots with the Matrix can revive him in turn. Sam warns NEST about how Sentinel is the Decepticons’ target, and the group rendezvous with Sentinel Prime, escorting him to NEST headquarters. However, on a highway, three Decepticon soldiers attack the group, leaving Simmons injured and causing a large amount of collateral damage. Bumblebee and Dino manage to take out one of the Decepticons, Hatchet, and Sideswipe manage to hold his own against the two remaining Decpticons (Crankcase and Crowbar) long enough for reinforcements in the form of Ironhide to intercept the other two. After a brief standoff, Ironhide and Sideswipe take down their opponents.
However, as they reach NEST headquarters, Sentinel reveals his true allegiance – that he was the true mastermind and had been in league with Megatron all along to ensure Cybertron’s survival. Sentinel shoots Ironhide fatally and kills him, and rampages through the NEST base before escaping with the remaining pillars. Sentinel travels to Washington D.C. where he meets up with Megatron and Starscream, and uses the pillars to open a portal to the Moon. A large amount of Decepticon troopers and ships have been hidden under the Moon’s surface, which rise and enter the portal and pour out onto the streets of Washington, unleashing chaos. Optimus arrives too late, and manages to confront Sentinel, who claims that all of this is for their homeworld of Cybertron. Sentinel spares Optimus’s life, and Optimus is forced to retreat.
While all this is going on, Sam gatecrashes Dylan Gould’s party to find Carly, and tries to get him out of the party. Dylan, however, quickly sheds his disguise and reveals that he is actually a collaborator with the Decepticons, with his father being part of the group that helped them uphold the NASA conspiracy. Soundwave reveals himself to have been hiding as the Mercedes SLS-AMG that Dylan gave Carly several days prior, holding Carly hostage. Dylan tells Sam to ask Optimus Prime about the Autobots’ strategy, otherwise Carly will die. As additional insurance, a watch Decepticon is slapped onto Sam’s wrist.
Sentinel Prime, meanwhile, gives mankind a choice – exile the Autobot ‘rebels’ that are getting in his way to save Cybertron. The US government obliges with this plan, and all the Autobot personnel on Earth drive up to their starship, the Xantium. Sam tries to worm his way out of betraying his Autobot friends, but Mearing recognizes his resourcefulness earlier on when he uncovers the space conspiracy, recruiting him immediately and bringing him in front of the Autobots. Forced by the watch Decepticon constantly sending signals of pain, Sam asks Optimus Prime about the Autobots’ plan… to which Optimus replies that “there is no plan”, and mankind had to fight on its own. As the Autobots take off, Starscream, waiting in Earth’s orbit, swoops down and opens fire on the Xantium, apparently killing all onboard. Dylan and the other Decepticons let a distraught Sam off with this information.
Meanwhile, without Autobot interference, the Decepticon army returns and attack Chicago in full force, massacring a large amount of humans to set up the city as their stronghold. The control pillars for the Space Bridge is placed in a tower supervised by Sentinel Prime and Megatron, while other Decepticon agents around the world unleash pillars of their own. Dylan informs a captive Carly of the Decepticons’ plan – that they don’t want to return home, but rather bring Cybertron into Earth’s orbit… and they also plan to use humans as slave labour to rebuild their dead world.
Meanwhile, Sam decides to go to Chicago to get Carly, at the very least. Robert Epps, who has retired from NEST to work as support, accompanies Sam and recruits a group of former NEST soldiers to help them out. Meanwhile, a now wheelchair-bound Simmons tries to provide some technical support of his own as he and Dutch arrive at Mearing’s command center. As Sam’s group approach Chicago, they see that the city has been devastated and the survivors clamouring to escape the now Decepticon-controlled city, and their group is attacked by a Decepticon ship… which is immediately destroyed by the arrival of Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. Optimus reveals that they never intended to leave Earth in the first place, knowing that the Decepticons will betray them, but they needed to fool their adversaries.
Sam and Bumblebee commandeer the Decepticon ship to infiltrate Dylan’s skyscraper, while Optimus Prime leads the rest of the Autobots and Epps’ team to enter Chicago by ground. Sam manages to rescue Carly from Dylan, getting on board their commandeered Decepticon gunship, but not before getting attacked by Laserbeak. A combined effort between Sam and Bumblebee kills Laserbeak, and the three of them manage to escape and regroup with Epps’ team. Dylan warns his Decepticon overlords of the Autobots’ survival, causing the Decepticon forces to cut off bridges to the tower where the pillars are held. Sam, Epps and Carly find a damaged UAV sent by the US military early on in the invasion, and manage to contact Mearing and Lennox, alerting them to the specifics of the Decepticons’ plans. As Seymour and Mearing coordinate support efforts, Lennox prepares any remaining soldiers to move in and retake Chicago. Epps’ team plans to launch a rocket from the top of a high-rise building to take down the control pillar. However, as they move out, the Autobot forces are attacked and scattered by the arrival of Shockwave and his massive partner Driller. The humans, equipped with gadgets from Que, continue their plan to sabotage the control pillar, the Wreckers distract Shockwave, while Optimus leads the remaining Autobots in battling the many enroaching Decepticons.
As Lennox and a large amount of soldiers fly in on ships, many are shot down by Starscream, while Lennox and the remaining survivors jump out and use wingsuits to enter the city, avoiding groups of Decepticon ships in the way. Sam, Carly, Epps and the other humans with them arrive at a skyscraper and are about to fire on the control pillar, but a group of Decepticon ships attack them and force them to escape once more. Falling debris from their battle against the Decepticon soldiers attract the attention of Shockwave, who sends Driller to attack the building and crush it. Sam’s group barely hangs on to life as the building is torn apart, but Optimus Prime, equipped with the flight tech from his trailer, arrives, engages the Drilled in battle and beheads the massive Decepticon. However, Shockwave returns fire, causing Optimus to crash-land and be trapped in construction crane cables, though the Wreckers quickly see their leader’s plight and head on to rescue him.
Sentinel Prime orders the Decepticons around the world to activate the pillars, summoning Cybertron into Earth’s orbit. Meanwhile, Sam and Carly are separated from Epps and the other soldiers. The two of them are attacked by Starscream, and Sam manages to make use of the gadgets from Que first to rip into one of Starscream’s eyes, and as the Decepticon trashes around, Sam manages to drop one of the bombs into Starscream’s person. Lennox and his team arrive in time to help in attacking the rampaging Starscream, and Lennox cuts Sam loose from the grapple line that sticks him to Starscream just in time before the bomb explodes and kills Starscream.
Wheelie and Brains, meanwhile, having left to their own devices by the Wreckers earlier in the battle, hijack a Decepticon dropship and gets sucked into a larger Decepticon warship. Simmons and Dutch hack into Chicago’s cameras to help recon the city, and help Lennox’s and Epps’ team, the two teams having regrouped, move around the city. Soundwave and a group of Decepticons have captured a group of Autobots, and Dylan urges the Decepticons to kill them. Barricade executes Que, and as Soundwave drags Bumblebee as the next one in line, witnessed by a desperate Sam, multiple Decepticon dropships rain down and crash all over them. Brains and Wheelie has succeeded in sabotaging the warship they snuck in, and this distraction allows Bumblebee to get the drop on Soundwave, and after a brief scuffle, Bumblebee kills Soundwave.
Lennox and Epps’ team join up with all the other soldiers that have been making their way into the city, and begin to systematically take out the Decepticon army. A combination of snipers, ground-bound demolition teams, parachuters and the arrival of a large group of Autobots and NEST mortars cause the deaths of a large amount of Decepticon soldiers, and severely wounding Shockwave.
Optimus Prime flies in, and opens fire, and as he lands, he single-handedly wipes out two streets’ worth of Decepticons, before reaching Shockwave, killing him by ripping out the Decepticon’s eye and using his cannon to open fire on the control pillar for the Space Bridge, deactivating it mid-transport.
Sentinel Prime comes down to confront his former pupil, and the two of them engage in a violent melee. The NEST soldiers and Autobots rush to help Optimus, but the remaining Decepticon forces – including a relatively large amount of ships, manage to pin Optimus down. While the military’s guided missiles take out a large amount of Decepticon ships, Sentinel Prime himself holds his own against the massed forces of the Autobot soldiers. Meanwhile, Carly stumbles upon Megatron, sitting in an alleyway. Carly has previously witnessed Sentinel putting Megatron in his place, clearly disrespecting the Decepticon leader, and Carly succeeds in appealing to Megatron’s pride, that he’ll never truly be the ruler he wants to be if he’s being ‘Sentinel’s bitch’.
Meanwhile, Dylan, realizing that he has to activate the fallen pillar, rush to do it while all the Transformers are fighting. He is confronted by Sam, and the two fight, though not before Dylan manages to reactivate the toppled pillar. The fight between Sam and Dylan ends with Sam pushing Dylan into the control pillar, electrocuting him to death, while Bumblebee destroys the pillar itself. The deactivation of the space bridge causes the remaining Decepticon warships to be pulled back to Cybertron, which apparently causes a chain reaction that ends with Cybertron itself imploding.
As this goes on, Sentinel retreats from the massed attack by Autobots and NEST soldiers, only for Optimus to catch up near a bridge and continue their one-on-one battle. The battle culminates in Sentinel slicing off one of Optimus’s arm, and having his former pupil at his mercy… before Sentinel is brutally shot and mauled by the unexpected arrival of Megatron. Upon witnessing Cybertron’s destruction, Megatron offers Optimus Prime a truce, because all he wanted is to be in charge – and asks mockingly what Prime would be without him. Optimus replies: “time to find out”, rushing Megatron, slamming his axe onto Megatron’s head and ripping his head clean off his body, ending Megatron’s long-suffering life. The fallen Sentinel tries to plead with Optimus, using the future of their race as an excuse for his treachery. Optimus picks up Megatron’s weapon, and declares that Sentinel betrayed himself, and executes his former mentor with a shot to the head.
With Sentinel Prime, Megatron and nearly all the Decepticon army dead, Optimus tosses away the gun in disgust. The Autobots and their human allies gather around Optimus, with Sam and Carly reuniting. Optimus Prime looks to the sky and notes that Earth is their home now, and the Autobots will always be here to protect the Earth and the humans.
The end… or is it?