Table of contents

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

This Fourth of July

Fighting for freedom is the motto of the good robots. Their every victory hitherto has led to greater disaster. Every new movie is a thereafter, suggesting that this is no accident. In science, the good inevitably lose. So far as we are shown, that’s mostly caused by the explosions.

Power deludes us: We come to ignore the difference between our sense of power & the universe as such, which may be unimpressed. The robot leader defeated by the evil robots in the robot wars in the beginning – some wit calls him the Einstein of his race. Indeed. He now turns tyrant…

The American army is almost absent, though the most powerful army known to man, said to wield the power to annihilate mankind. – Just a couple of soldiers appear: Battle is like a computer game for adolescent boys. Only when we get to the middle of things do we see that the robots are the American army. The poet suggests – hiding his meaning in plain sight – that we misunderstand our army. We conceal men behind technology: To us, they seem like machines.

A battle aircraft carrier is like these robots. Its awesome power of destruction only terrifies those who grew up in the countryside. Men used to technology forget that it takes men of war to wield this technology: They cannot ask why some men know how to kill & whom to kill. This is the serious truth behind the ridiculous metaphor of robots: Technology fighting with swords & shields, like medieval knights on a holy crusade. Every car & appliance is said to be also a weapon of war waiting to wreak havoc: Science is power. Being hides non-being.

The poet, in the end, draws attention to the continuous story of good & evil. What led some of these characters to tragedy is an excessive seriousness combined with a lack of perspective. Our hero, however, seems undeceived: He keeps dispensing moral advice – which he does not always heed – & is simply called optimus: The best. He shows that political freedom is never safe. More men will always come who must be killed ruthlessly.

In this story, he shows Americans: They will fight to the death: Or live & die as slaves, at the tender mercies of their tyrant masters. Science does not necessarily doom men, but to avoid the fate that power spells for its votaries – men must learn they are always in danger. This moral robot shows people how easily & how often the men are killed who did not know how to kill & were unwilling to kill. He offers neither excuses nor reprieve: They fight for themselves; or die. So the ship of state moves on-

The third movie. If you’ve seen the previous, see this one, too.