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The critics have spoken about “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” And what they seem to be saying is: We surrender.

As I noted in a post yesterday, reviewing a Michael Bay-driven juggernaut is almost pointless: a “Transformers” movie is exactly what you expect. To some people, that sounds like the best news ever. To others, it’s an invitation to hit the nearest chapel and begin praying, softly but urgently, that the minds of the American public don’t melt into a puddle of goo.

Nevertheless, critics have a duty to assess what will undoubtedly be the No. 1 movie of the July 4th weekend. And some of their assessments suggest that many of then secretly love this latest Bay blow-up-a-thon but can’t quite come out and say that.

Related links:

The Post’s review of “Dark of the Moon”

Fun facts about “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

More retro-toy movies are real and which ones are fake?

Video: D.C. fans take a Transformers quiz

Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir artfully implies that he enjoyed this film for all the wrong reasons:

“In food terms, ‘Dark of the Moon’ is like going to TGI Friday’s and ordering everything on the menu and then going to Krispy Kreme and doing it again. It’s not worth doing, it’ll definitely make you sick and a lot of it will taste bad, but as a performance-art act of juvenile Id-fulfillment, it’s magnificent.”

A.O. Scott of the New York Times also absolves himself of the sin of liking “Dark of the Moon” by simultaneously pointing out its awfulness:

“I can’t decide if this movie is so spectacularly, breathtakingly dumb as to induce stupidity in anyone who watches, or so brutally brilliant that it disarms all reason. What’s the difference?”

Mike Ryan of Vanity Fair, via his 25 Questions blog post, calls “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” a “cluster[bleep] of nonsense.” But he also notes :

“Q: Should I see ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’?

A: Probably not, but you will anyway. And you will leave the theater a less intelligent human being, but you will also leave slightly happier.”

The Post’s Mark Jenkins gives the movie two stars despite misgivings about the incoherent final battle, as well as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley:

“While the CGI and (mostly unobtrusive) 3-D are up-to-date, whenever Autobot philosopher-king Optimus Prime offers Sam some wisdom, the advice sounds like something from a Depression-era Boy Scout handbook.

Meanwhile, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times is not conflicted at all. He clearly didn’t enjoy the film, calling “Dark of the Moon” “one of the more unpleasant experiences I’ve had at the movies”:

“I have a quaint notion that one of the purposes of editing is to make it clear why one shot follows another, or why several shots occur in the order that they do. ‘Transformers 3’ has long stretches involving careless and illogical assemblies of inelegant shots. One special effect happens, and then another special effect happens, and we are expected to be grateful that we have seen two special effects.”

But again, no matter. Because this movie is going to make big bucks. Will it top the weekend box office? You can weigh in via the poll below, but really, is there any chance Optimus Prime won’t prevail?