It’s just there for a split-second, and then fades to black before things get really revealing. But anyone who grew up with Transformers toys, especially during the ’80s, could watch yesterday’s Super Bowl spot and hazard a guess about which vintage character makes a return in Transformers: Dark of the Moon — Laserbeak. After the jump, we dissect what we think we learned from the movie’s cool Super Bowl spot:

Okay, anything named Laserbeak immediately plunges the conversation into the hopeless void of nerdlingers, but indulge this speculation for a moment. For all its faults, one of the cool updates in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the prickly, battle-ready design of the mechanical panther Ravage.

What do Ravage and Laserbeak (pictured right, circa 1982) have in common? In the original series, both were Decepticons who shared a common disguise — that of a cassette tape. They were spies, dispatched to monitor Optimus Prime and the Autobots and return to share what they recorded in the warm, tape-deck bosom of the villain Soundwave (a Walkman in original form, a satellite in the new movies.)

Whatever this winged creature turns out to be, its Ginsu-knife wingspan is already one of the more sinister reveals of the new film.

At the end of the second film, Optimus Prime fused with the dying SR-71 Blackbird Transformer known as Jetfire to multiply his strength, acquiring wings and jet engines that fell away after the final battle. But above, those upgrades seem to have been made permanent, as Prime swoops through the streets of Chicago in jet-form, then transforms to swing his sword Babe Ruth-style through some mechanical troublemakers.

Some bad news: See those orange and green robots in the lower left-hand corner of the screengrab? Bumblebee or Ratchet, as some commenters have suggested? Or the goofy twins? (Insert Marge Simpson groan here.)

Chicago is getting a new subway line. At least, that’s what it looks like with this multi-armed destruction machine burrowing through the city center (above). What is this thing? I know Transformers pretty well, and even I couldn’t guess. It looks like the unholy offspring of Spider-Man‘s Doctor Octopus and The Underminer from The Incredibles (“I am beneath you! But NOTHING is beneath ME!”) The wanton disregard for public or private property suggests an allegiance to the Decepticons (or maybe Banksy.)

Ironhide lives up to his name. That’s the tough-guy Autobot to the left, crashing head-on into two unknown villains. The force of the collision launches all three into the air, where they pirouette, transform in mid-air, and land on their feet Mary Lou Retton-style, ready to brawl. It’s an elegant slow-motion move from director Michael Bay, who tends to like his action up-close and dirty. But, man, be careful with that pimped-out GMC TopKick body of yours, Ironhide. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Literally.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon opens on July 1.

Follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter @Breznican.

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